Technology and Millennials

Within the context of a finance/banking and technology perspective, a new friend cites industry authorities.  With good statistical reasons, he believes that Millennials

  • prefer phone apps over traditional banking with “tellers”
  • trust “FinTech” companies over banks for most consumer-oriented financial purposes

I’m sure my friend is right, yet I question the wisdom, scope, and longevity of some of the enterprises in which Millennials are apparently placing their trust.  My ruminations have continued about generational technology preferences and general inclinations.  I don’t keep in mind the year-boundaries that are used to delineate between the “Baby Boom” and “GenX” and “GenY”/Millennial generational groupings, so I get foggy, but of this I am sure:  there will always be exceptions within the groups.

Based on age, my friend would be classed as a Millennial, but he is thoughtful and intelligent, a unique set of experiences in the world, so I imagine that he would be somewhat an exception himself, defying any label “Millennial” at points.

As for myself, sometimes, I am kind of an “old soul” who harks back to the values of minds and spirits of the long-ago past.  In some respects, I share the opinions and worldviews of those 5-10 years older than I, or even of my parents’ generation.  In other spheres, I am an impatient whippersnapper who wants desperately to move past silly traditions and pointless machinations.  In all, I long for substance and actual value over form.  Perhaps I am a quasi-postmodernist-1/3-Boomer-1/3-GenXer with a few GenY traits (who experiences deep angst about being labeled at all).

It’s no surprise that Millennials will gravitate to phone apps.  As for me, I see the apps’ shortcomings and inefficiencies, as compared to desktop computers and even in-person banking.  Are all Millennials so oriented?  I must admit that I wonder about those individuals who don’t own printed Bibles and who never see more than a tiny screen’s worth of scripture text at a time.  Yes, I use a Bible phone app, and I greatly appreciate its capabilities.  I like running Bible software on my computer even more, because it allows me to see more and to use it in other dimensions and formats.  It simply must be admitted that seeing only 3-4 verses at a time on a tiny phone screen will have ramifications, including limiting one’s contextual awareness.

I also wonder frequently about the interpersonal connectedness of anyone—Millennial or otherwise—

  • whose neck and hand are permanently locked into the look-at-my phone position
  • whose quick first impulse is to go to the mobile device for answers

Could it be that non-high-tech sources are better for some things in life?

I remember two very fine students who were the only two (that I knew) without their own cell phones.  I remember each of the students as very having very strong character, and as being spiritually sensitive, service-oriented people.  One was particularly focused and engaged as a student, and they were both dedicated to their studies and to people.  I can see each of their faces as if it were yesterday, and it has been five years since I last saw them.

Now, I would strongly suspect each of those students has one or more mobile devices at this point, but my point is that those Millennials were really okay without devices then.  I’d say their whole selves were at the time wonderfully unfettered by phonedom, and they were none the worse for it.  Quite possibly, they were better off, not having all the technologies their peers had.

In the next post I’ll deal with technology in instruction, touching on “distance learning.”

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4 thoughts on “Technology and Millennials

  1. Bill McGee 01/11/2018 / 1:24 pm

    Well, I am no Millennial, as you are well aware, but I do lots of financial transactions on my phone and would do all my banking if one of the tellers were not a member of my congregation. I would gladly snap a pic of my check for deposit rather than going to the bank. It is a convenience thing for me. The phone has freed up the schedule in my case. However, it does force me to keep it pretty handy and tempts me to interfere in face to face meetings. But, a big part of life is self-discipline. I can put it away when talking with you! I hope the banking industry is ready for what is coming. Those brick and mortar things on the corner are doomed unless they come up with some other appeal. Look what Amazon has done! It is taking away our shopping malls! They too will be dinosaurs sooner than you think. This is a good discussion though. Where will the new “market” be? Where will we go to have human contact? What will we talk about…I mean…we can just Google answers to questions. Most arguments are answered in moments and discussions are squashed. The same with my job…why preach information? It is at their fingertips! Maybe…less info and more motivation? Maybe a good interaction of pulpit and tech? Things to think about!

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    • Brian Casey 01/15/2018 / 7:31 am

      I like mobile deposit convenience, too, and I imagine your daytime is typically more pressed than mine, so the time-saving factor is even more important for you. In the back of my mind is what I think is a blind trust in technology over the face that uses technology. It has seemed to me that most younger people have less idea what is behind a program/application than I do, so I guess I feel the need to press younger people on these points. I guess I’ve seen too many glitches in software applications to trust blindly that technology will do things well or correctly. Human errors will always be there, of course, and we see those daily, too.

      I’m at once horrified at what giants do to other players (Walmart, Amazon, and more) and likely to take advantage of same giants. And I’d have to say that Amazon is better for John or Jeannette Q. Public than a shopping mall, because with Amazon, shopping is typically more purposeful rather than encouraging buying based on glitz and impulse. Or is it? Maybe I’m wrong about how the public uses Amazon. I’ve pretty much never gone browse-shopping online. I’m surprised that you’re prophesying the demise of banks, but you might be right. Not in our lifetimes, I’d say. I do think a friend of mine is correct that it’s a good idea not to feature the pics of bank buildings on bank websites. That’s the wrong focus if you’re trying to be mobile or even global. Ah, well, onward … yep, things to think about. I have another couple of posts brewing on technology in education, which includes preaching, so maybe something there will pique you, too.

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  2. Steve Kell 01/11/2018 / 4:49 pm

    As our local church focuses more and more on appealing to millennials and the use of apps/Bible texts on IT lighted screens, it does a dis-service to those of us who do prefer our “old friend” of many years containing scribbled in notes and highlighted verses–but whose print is quite hard to read because the lights in the auditorium are dimmed so as to focus on the stage when preaching is done. It is a Baby Boomer first world country irk…but since you asked… 🙂

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    • Brian Casey 01/15/2018 / 6:53 am

      I get that. I’d much prefer to read, refer to, or study a printed Bible, as well, but my margin notes from the past are not as interesting anymore. You’ve probably been making much better notes through the years….

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