Mobile Millennials: The Need to be Social

Have you ever sat down at a restaurant by yourself? Maybe you were meeting a friend, or maybe you missed your train home from work and decided to kill time sitting at the bar. Whatever the reason for the few minutes you may spend solo in public every now and then, the outcome is almost always the same- you pull out your phone.

And what do you do once you have your phone in hand? Play words with friends, update your Facebook status, or like your friend’s photo on Instagram. You’re not alone! Humans are social creatures. If you are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to be connected to others basically fits into each of the top three slots on the pyramid. We are programmed with the inherent need to connect, whether it is in person, or through our technical devices.

If you are not familiar with the hierarchy, here is a brief summary (if you are familiar, you can skip ahead!) There are five slots in the pyramid. The base of the pyramid is physiological needs such as food, water, and shelter. The second from the bottom is safety, both economic and physical. The final three spots on the pyramid stem from the human need for connectedness with others – they are belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Each level of the pyramid is interconnected, which means that without a sense of belonging, humans do not highly esteem themselves, which leads to lack of self-acceptance.

The difference between these needs in the past versus today is how they are met. In the past the need to belong was met through physical time spent with friends whether it was grabbing coffee or going to the movies, etc. Now, the need to belong can be met through social networking. That’s not to say that people today spend all their time in front of Facebook and never step foot into the local watering hole. The key here is that there is another, more accessible, avenue to social acceptance.

The mobile-first millennial generation places a high value on social interactions. According to a study conducted by Nielson, 40% of millennials admit to having used social media in the bathroom and 83% admit to sleeping with their smartphones. That’s a high commitment to social networking! With millennials, the inherent need for acceptance by others has clearly taken a mobile turn.

More than other generations, millennials value the opinions of their peers, even more than that of professionals. Before trying out a new restaurant, barber, or dog groomer, we will consult Yelp, and maybe Google reviews too just for good measure. A recent article on Mashable referenced a survey conducted by Ipsos, a global research company. The study concluded that millennials trust user generated content 50% more than other more traditional types of media. The study also showed that user generated content is 20% more trusted when making purchasing decisions, such as electronics, vacations, and mobile phones.

Let’s recap what we have learned so far. Humans have an inherent need for social connectedness. Millennials utilize social networking as a way to achieve social interaction and fulfill the need to belong. Millennials also trust their social networks more than other media when making purchasing decisions.

Millennials are wary of traditional media that their parents relied on. This suspicion of tradition extends beyond social media versus print to how we manage our money. We want to control our finances, not leave our money management to an advisor as our parents might have done. Since millennials trust their peers to help them make purchasing decisions, they might appreciate the opportunity to confer with their peers on social media when making decisions on what to do with their money. We can help make this possible.

You can fulfill your need for social interaction in our app by utilizing the Global Investing Community to gain perspectives on companies you are interested in investing in and make more informed investment decisions. For the first time, social interaction and money management can work together. You can access our platform from your smartphone and track all your trades, positions, and favorite stocks in the app. This means you can flip back and forth between your portfolio and Facebook! Download our app and invest socially.

By Nicole Dugan

Invest with a purpose. You. Invest in your goals while getting help every step of the way ->


UweMobile Millennials: The Need to be Social