As technology advances, the way we live and work continues to change.  Nowhere has this evolution been more pronounced than in the area of communications. We can text, call, email, direct message and chat through various social platforms, and of course, do a video call.

The area of video conferencing is very interesting for millennials. Contrary to the opinion of the older generation we don’t live on video but we do use it when necessary.  It’s not the norm or a even a de facto communications tool but it’s certainly part of our toolkit. One of the things I hear over and over is that millennials don’t like to engage each other face to face. Millennials actually love face-to-face communications.  When we use electronic communications, we prefer short tools such as pictures or texts with short videos that disappear like Snapchat has perfected.

These types of messaging tools offer the “best of both worlds”.  It’s like having a face-to-face interaction broken up into sessions of 10 seconds or less.  I know the older generation has trouble understanding the value of this but we find it ideal for both leisure and flexibility. Our preferred method of communicating is texting because we feel comfortable responding when we have the time to respond. With instant messaging platforms like Facebook or Skype, the need to be present for the conversation is more of a commitment and is not ideal as it requires constant attention.

Even though we don’t use video calls as a normal form of day-to-day communication, we do have use cases for it. Here are a few:

We have the need for collaboration on a project but it’s impractical to meet in person

In the case of working on a project with multiple people, a video call with your group members makes the most sense. There is no delay in making points, we can read each other better by predicting how others are perceiving our ideas, and we can easily show each other what we are talking about, whether we want to show them a physical object to describe or do some file sharing via the video conferencing platform and explain it from there. I love Google Hangouts for this situation because I can share anything stored on my Gmail and other connected applications easily, I can add another 9 people on the call for free, and the feature of whoever is talking being displayed as the big picture is pretty cool and easy to follow the conversation.

We are distant from a friend we care about

Whether it is a friend studying abroad that you miss or a significant other in a long distance relationship, video conferencing fills the gap of what we miss the most; the person’s personality. We can only gain very little in emotion and feelings from words presented in plain text. Voice helps create more emotion and feeling of language, but the personality of the person as a whole which includes both the way they talk as well as the way they act is missing. Video helps us remember our friend’s personality and the way they carry themselves. I enjoy using Skype for this use case because of the compatibility with all devices, the easy to use layout and functions, and it seems to hold through the whole call pretty well.

We just want to be funny and annoy our friends

I can’t even put a number on the amount of times a friend of mine has noticed I was on a certain platform that has video capabilities and called me unexpectedly and in a very inconvenient time to talk. Whether it is to be funny or to annoy your friends, video calling has created a great opportunity to gain attention when you want it. Great ones to annoy people on would be Snapchat and Facebook.  If you are in the messaging part of Snapchat and so are they, they can decide to call you and pop up on your screen unannounced. With Facebook, this is through Messenger which if you keep your Messenger active to get notifications of messages, like I do, your friend can give you a call like they would if they were Skype calling you and have to be accepted. They aren’t just popping up and being seen in real time like Snapchat, but they are still an incoming call and still fairly annoying.

Yes, millenials love video, but for specific use cases.  If you want to communicate with us, you should too.


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Alex White

Alex White is a blogger for ZK Research, bringing a millennial's point of view on technology. He is a junior at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, studying Global Business and Marketing with a passion for new technology. While in school, he interns for TechTarget, a leading technology media company that provides content for the technology industry.
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