Compared to the obsession with transcendence in the 1950’s Beatnik movement and the importance of communal love in the 1960’s and 1970’s, YAYA consumers seem to lack a distinct social cause. Today, young adults are trying to adhere to mainstream standards more than ever. What draws millennials to embrace the mainstream is the success and money that it can provide. New York Times author William Deresiewicz labels YAYA consumers as “Generation Sell,” focusing on the way they have embraced mainstream culture, unlike the numerous generations before them.
YAYAs are focused on the importance of making something new and exciting while sharing it with the rest of the world. Kickstarter, founded in 2009, rallies people together to fund the entrepreneurial dreams of bright minds everywhere. So far, Kickstarter has brought 82,000 creative projects to life. Being born in the age where the endless possibilities of the Internet are still being discovered has instilled the importance of creativity in today’s youth culture. These ideas are essential to understanding why millennials hail the entrepreneur; YAYA consumers crave the autonomy, imagination and adventure that entrepreneurs embody.
Even if YAYA consumers aren’t spending their time creating new products, music or art, they are still selling something. Most 18- to 24-year-olds have adopted a personal business model that requires them to “sell” a branded version of them selves. For millennials, important interactions are treated like commercial transactions, where being polite and making others (customers) happy is king. This branded version of the self is not only maintained through physical interaction, but it is also obsessively monitored and promoted using social media.
What each YAYA consumer posts on their personal social media accounts has become increasingly censored. This is because the end goal for most YAYAs is to get noticed by the right people. In the mind of the average YAYA, you have a better shot of being successful if the right people notice you. Ironically, this blog post could get me noticed, and I’m well aware of that (but totally ok with it).