Traditional recipes

Millennials Prefer Following Recipes on Their Smartphones and Tablets Over Printing Them Out

Millennials Prefer Following Recipes on Their Smartphones and Tablets Over Printing Them Out

Research from Google found that this is the age of the ‘Digital Kitchen’

Millennials would rather use smartphones and tablets than printed recipes while cooking.

Millennials may use their mobile devices to text, video chat, and flood social media, but they also use them while cooking.

A study from Google found that 59 percent of adults ages 25 to 34 said that they use their phones and tablets to help them cook, while people over 35 years old are more inclined to print out a recipe.

The research was undertaken by Google along with advertising agency McGarryBowen and Kraft Foods, who found that millennials are cooking more and experimenting with recipes and new skills. Using a tablet or smartphone allows them to look up anything they need help with. YouTube videos provide a visual step-by-step guide to, for instance, cutting a pineapple. Playlists like this one of “Food Life Hacks are also popular.

Research also showed that millennials turn to Google to search what to cook for dinner, using search terms such as “dinner ideas,” “healthy recipes,” and “slow-cooker recipes.” The term “best recipes” is up 48 percent this year on YouTube.


Social Media Update 2016

Over the past decade, Pew Research Center has documented the wide variety of ways in which Americans use social media to seek out information and interact with others. A majority of Americans now say they get news via social media, and half of the public has turned to these sites to learn about the 2016 presidential election. Americans are using social media in the context of work (whether to take a mental break on the job or to seek out employment), while also engaging in an ongoing effort to navigate the complex privacy issues that these sites bring to the forefront.

In addition to measuring the broad impact and meaning of social media, since 2012 the Center has also tracked the specific sites and platforms that users turn to in the course of living their social lives online.

In that context, a national survey of 1,520 adults conducted March 7-April 4, 2016, finds that Facebook continues to be America’s most popular social networking platform by a substantial margin: Nearly eight-in-ten online Americans 1 (79%) now use Facebook, more than double the share that uses Twitter (24%), Pinterest (31%), Instagram (32%) or LinkedIn (29%). On a total population basis (accounting for Americans who do not use the internet at all), that means that 68% of all U.S. adults are Facebook users, while 28% use Instagram, 26% use Pinterest, 25% use LinkedIn and 21% use Twitter.

Thanks in part to the growing number of older adults who are joining the site, Facebook use appears to be on the rise: The share of online adults who report using Facebook has increased by 7 percentage points compared with a Pew Research Center survey conducted at a similar point in 2015. In addition, the share of Facebook users who check in daily has increased slightly in the past year: 76% of Americans who use Facebook now report that they visit the site on a daily basis, up from 70% in 2015.

What follows is a deeper examination of the current state of the social media landscape in America.

Usage and demographics of social media platforms

79% of internet users (68% of all U.S. adults) use Facebook

Roughly eight-in-ten online Americans (79%) now use Facebook, a 7-percentage-point increase from a survey conducted at a similar point in 2015.

Young adults continue to report using Facebook at high rates, but older adults are joining in increasing numbers. Some 62% of online adults ages 65 and older now use Facebook, a 14-point increase from the 48% who reported doing so in 2015. In addition, women continue to use Facebook at somewhat higher rates than men: 83% of female internet users and 75% of male internet users are Facebook adopters.

32% of internet users (28% of all U.S. adults) use Instagram

Around one-third of online adults (32%) report using Instagram – roughly the same share as in 2015, when 27% of online adults did so.

To a greater extent than the other social platforms measured in this survey, Instagram use is especially high among younger adults. Roughly six-in-ten online adults ages 18-29 (59%) use Instagram, nearly double the share among 30- to 49-year-olds (33%) and more than seven times the share among those 65 and older (8%). And as was the case in previous Pew Research Center surveys of social media use, female internet users are more likely to use Instagram than men (38% vs. 26%).

24% of internet users (21% of all U.S. adults) use Twitter

Roughly one-quarter of online adults (24%) use Twitter, a proportion that is statistically unchanged from a survey conducted in 2015 (23%).

Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to be on Twitter. Some 36% of online adults ages 18-29 are on the social network, more than triple the share among online adults ages 65 and older (just 10% of whom are Twitter users).

Twitter is also somewhat more popular among the highly educated: 29% of internet users with college degrees use Twitter, compared with 20% of those with high school degrees or less.

29% of internet users (25% of all U.S. adults) use LinkedIn

The share of online adults who use LinkedIn has remained steady over the past year: 29% report using the site, similar to the 25% who said this in 2015.

LinkedIn has long been especially popular with college graduates and high income earners, and this trend continues to hold true. Half (50%) of online adults with college degrees are on LinkedIn, compared with 27% of those who have attended but not graduated from college and just 12% of those with high school degrees or less.

Similarly, 45% of online adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more use LinkedIn, compared with just 21% of those living in households with an annual income of less than $30,000. And 35% of online adults who are employed use LinkedIn, compared with 17% of those who are not employed for pay.

31% of internet users (26% of all U.S. adults) use Pinterest

Roughly three-in-ten online Americans (31%) use Pinterest, identical to the 31% who used the platform in 2015.

Continuing a long-standing trend, women use Pinterest at much higher rates than men. Nearly half of online women use the virtual pinboard (45%), more than double the share of online men (17%) who do so.

Frequency of use on social media sites

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, with its users visiting the site more regularly than users of other social media sites. Roughly three-quarters (76%) of Facebook users report that they visit the site daily (55% visit several times a day, and 22% visit about once per day). This represents a modest but statistically significant increase from the 70% of Facebook users who indicated that they visited the site daily in 2015.

Other than this slight uptick among Facebook users, daily engagement for each of the other major social media platforms is generally similar to Pew Research Center findings from 2015.

Instagram and Twitter occupy the middle tier of social media sites in terms of the share of users who log in daily. Roughly half (51%) of Instagram users access the platform on a daily basis, with 35% saying they do so several times a day. And 42% of Twitter users indicate that they are daily visitors, with 23% saying they visit more than once a day.

A slightly larger share of Americans use Pinterest and LinkedIn than use Twitter, but users of these sites are less likely than Twitter users to check in every day: 25% of Pinterest users and 18% of LinkedIn users are daily visitors.

Using multiple sites: The social media matrix

Social media users continue to use a relatively diverse array of platforms. More than half of online adults (56%) use more than one of the five social media platforms measured in this survey, a share that is statistically unchanged from the 52% who did so in 2014.

As the most-used social media site, Facebook continues to be the starting platform for most social media users. Among those who only use one social media platform, 88% indicate that Facebook is the one site that they use. Moreover, the vast majority of those who use other social media sites also use Facebook. For instance, 93% of Twitter users also use Facebook – as do 95% of Instagram users and 92% of Pinterest users.

Outside of Facebook, other sites’ users show high levels of reciprocity. For instance, 65% of those with a Twitter account also use Instagram, while 49% of Instagram users also have Twitter. Similarly, 54% of those who use Instagram also use Pinterest and 57% of Pinterest users are also on Instagram.

Messaging apps

Social media sites are not the only venue where people can connect with others online. Today smartphone owners (at the time of this survey, 72% of American adults) can choose from a variety of messaging apps that fill many of the same functions. Some of these apps look and function like a traditional chat or messaging service, while others offer unique features – such as the ability to post anonymously, or to have one’s posts expire or delete themselves after they are viewed.

This survey asked about three different types of messaging apps that people might have on their smartphones and found that:

  • 29% of smartphone owners use general-purpose messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Kik. Due to a change in how this question was asked, this figure is not directly comparable to a previous measure collected in 2015. 2
  • 24% use messaging apps that automatically delete sent messages, such as Snapchat or Wickr. This represents a 7-point increase from a survey conducted in 2015 (at that point 17% of smartphone owners used these apps).
  • 5% use apps that allow people to anonymously chat or post comments, such as YikYak or Whisper. This is the first time Pew Research Center has asked about these types of apps.

In general, messaging apps are especially popular among younger smartphone owners. Some 56% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use auto-delete apps, more than four times the share among those 30-49 (13%) and six times the share among those 50 or older (9%). Similarly, 42% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use more general messaging apps like WhatsApp or Kik, compared with 19% of smartphone owners ages 50 or older.


We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through hundreds of apps to find the very best. Our team here at The Sweet Setup put together a short list of our must-have, most-used apps in 2021.

  • The current list of The Sweet Setup’s top 8, must-have apps.
  • A special, pro tip for each app to help you save time and become more of a power user.
  • A hidden feature of each app that you may not have known about.

The Sweet Setup Staff Picks for 2021

These apps work on iPad, iPhone, and Mac. And they range across several different categories but are mostly focused on productivity. They will help you get the most out of your devices and your day.


Main findings: Teens, technology, and human potential in 2020

Hyperconnected. Always on. These terms have been invented to describe the environment created when people are linked continuously through tech devices to other humans and to global intelligence. Teens and young adults have been at the forefront of the rapid adoption of the mobile internet and the always-on lifestyle it has made possible.

The most recent nationally representative surveys of the Pew Internet Project show how immersed teens and young adults are in the tech environment and how tied they are to the mobile and social sides of it. Some 95% of teens ages 12-17 are online, 76% use social networking sites, and 77% have cell phones. Moreover, 96% of those ages 18-29 are internet users, 84% use social networking sites, and 97% have cell phones. Well over half of those in that age cohort have smartphones and 23% own tablet computers like iPads.

People are tuning in to communications technologies at an ever-expanding level. Some recent indicators:

  • Nearly 20 million of the 225 million Twitter users follow 60 or more Twitter accounts and nearly 2 million follow more than 500 accounts.
  • There are more than 800 million people now signed up for the social network Facebook they spend 700 billion minutes using Facebook each month, and they install more than 20 million apps every day. Facebook users had uploaded more than 100 billion photos by mid-2011.
  • YouTube users upload 60 hours of video per minute and they triggered more than 1 trillion playbacks in 2011 – roughly 140 video views per person on earth.

When asked to choose one of the two 2020 scenarios presented in this survey question, respondents were asked to, “Explain your choice about the impact of technology on children and youth and share your view of any implications for the future. What are the positives, negatives and shades of grey in the likely future you anticipate? What intellectual and personal skills will be most highly valued in 2020?”

Following is a selection from the hundreds of written responses survey participants shared when answering this question. The selected statements are grouped under headings that indicate the major themes emerging from these responses. The headings reflect the varied and wide range of opinions found in respondents’ replies.

This is the next positive step in human evolution: We become “persistent paleontologists of our external memories”

Most of the survey respondents with the largest amount of expertise in this subject area said changes in learning behavior and cognition will generally produce positive outcomes.

One of the world’s best-known researchers of teens and young adults—danah boyd of Microsoft Research—said there is no doubt that most people who are using the new communications technologies are experiencing the first scenario as they extend themselves into cyberspace. “Brains are being rewired—any shift in stimuli results in a rewiring,” she wrote. “The techniques and mechanisms to engage in rapid-fire attention shifting will be extremely useful for the creative class whose job it is to integrate ideas they relish opportunities to have stimuli that allow them to see things differently.”

Amber Case, cyberanthropologist and CEO of Geoloqi, agreed: “The human brain is wired to adapt to what the environment around it requires for survival. Today and in the future it will not be as important to internalize information but to elastically be able to take multiple sources of information in, synthesize them, and make rapid decisions.”

She added, “Memories are becoming hyperlinks to information triggered by keywords and URLs. We are becoming ‘persistent paleontologists’ of our own external memories, as our brains are storing the keywords to get back to those memories and not the full memories themselves.”

Morley Winograd, author of Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America, echoed the keyword-tagging idea. “Millennials are using packet-switching technology rather than hard-wired circuit switching to absorb information,” he responded. “They take a quick glance at it and sort it and/or tag it for future reference if it might be of interest.”

Cathy Cavanaugh, an associate professor of educational technology at the University of Florida, noted, “Throughout human history, human brains have elastically responded to changes in environments, society, and technology by ‘rewiring’ themselves. This is an evolutionary advantage and a way that human brains are suited to function.”

Susan Price, CEO and chief Web strategist at Firecat Studio and an organizer of TEDx in San Antonio, Texas, is optimistic. “The amazing plasticity of the brain is nowhere as evident in the rapid adaptations humans are making in response to our unprecedented access to electronic information,” she wrote. “Those who bemoan the perceived decline in deep thinking or engagement, face-to-face social skills and dependency on technology fail to appreciate the need to evolve our processes and behaviors to suit the new reality and opportunities. Young people and those who embrace the new connectedness are developing and evolving new standards and skills at a rate unprecedented in our history. Overall, our ability to connect, share and exchange information with other human beings is a strong net positive for humanity.”

Teens expert boyd says adults have to recognize the need for young people to explore the world widely and build future skills. “If we keep restricting the mobility of young people, online and offline, we will be curbing their ability to develop social skills writ large,” she warned. “This has nothing to do with technology but with the fears we have about young people engaging with strangers or otherwise interacting with people outside of adult purview.”

William Schrader, a consultant who founded PSINet in the 1980s, expressed unbridled hope. “A new page is being turned in human history, and while we sometimes worry and most of the time stand amazed at how fast (or how slowly) things have changed, the future is bright for our youth worldwide,” he wrote. “The youth of 2020 will enjoy cognitive ability far beyond our estimates today based not only on their ability to embrace ADHD as a tool but also by their ability to share immediately any information with colleagues/friends and/or family, selectively and rapidly. Technology by 2020 will enable the youth to ignore political limitations, including country borders, and especially ignore time and distance as an inhibitor to communications. There will be heads-up displays in automobiles, electronic executive assistants, and cloud-based services they can access worldwide simply by walking near a portal and engaging with the required method such as an encrypted proximity reader (surely it will not be a keyboard). With or without devices on them, they will communicate with ease, waxing philosophic and joking in the same sentence. I have already seen youths of today between 20 and 35 who show all of these abilities, all driven by and/or enabled by the internet and the services/technologies that are collectively tied to and by it.”

Perry Hewitt, Chief Digital Officer of Harvard Public Affairs & Communications and Alumni Affairs & Development, says this evolution is positive. “It seems easy to decry the attention span of the young and to mourn the attendant loss of long form content—who will watch Citizen Kane with rapt attention when your Android tells you Rosebud was a sled? On consideration, though, the internet has brought forward not only education, but thinking. While we still want to cultivate in youth the intellectual rigor to solve problems both quantitatively and qualitatively, we have gotten them out of the business of memorizing facts and rules, and into the business of applying those facts and rules to complex problems. In particular, I have hope for improved collaboration from these new differently ‘wired’ brains, for these teens and young adults are learning in online environments where working together and developing team skills allows them to advance.”

David Weinberger, senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, says values will evolve alongside the evolution in ways of thinking and knowing. “Whatever happens,” he wrote, “we won’t be able to come up with an impartial value judgment because the change in intellect will bring about a change in values as well.” Alex Halavais, an associate professor and internet researcher at Quinnipiac University, agreed. “We will think differently, and a large part of that will be as a result of being capable of exploiting a new communicative environment,” he noted.

Anonymous respondents added:

“People of all ages are adjusting to a world where ‘facts’ are immediately discoverable, and judgment between competing facts becomes a primary skill.”

“They will be more nimble and enjoy the access that is available to them to interact with their peers, to see, hear, learn, observe, and be entertained—not necessarily in that order. They will have greater flexibility in the world of employment as well.”

“They are used to using the complex interfaces from childhood. It results in a brain better able to assimilate software structure, to organize and resolve complex problems more quickly and almost appear to be ‘wired’ differently than my generation. Positively, they will operate at a much quicker rate in terms of decision-making, analysis, and methodology than my generation. Negatively, they might be missing the sheer joy of play, of conversation, or quiet contemplative moments due to the interruptions of their lives by electronic communication.”

Negative effects include a need for instant gratification, loss of patience

A number of the survey respondents who are young people in the under-35 age group—the central focus of this research question—shared concerns about changes in human attention and depth of discourse among those who spend most or all of their waking hours under the influence of hyperconnectivity.

Alvaro Retana, a distinguished technologist with Hewlett-Packard, expressed concerns about humans’ future ability to tackle complex challenges. “The short attention spans resulting from the quick interactions will be detrimental to focusing on the harder problems, and we will probably see a stagnation in many areas: technology, even social venues such as literature,” he predicted. “The people who will strive and lead the charge will be the ones able to disconnect themselves to focus on specific problems.”

Stephen Masiclat, a communications professor at Syracuse University, said, “When the emphasis of our social exchanges shifts from the now to the next, and the social currency of being able to say ‘I was there first’ rises, we will naturally devalue retrospective reflection and the wisdom it imparts.”

Masiclat said social systems will evolve to offer even more support to those who can implement deep-thinking skills. “The impact of a future ‘re-wiring’ due to the multitasking and short-term mindset will be mostly negative not because it will reflect changes in the physical nature of thinking, but because the social incentives for deep engagement will erode,” he noted. “We will likely retain deep-thinking capability if we just reward it sufficiently in many of our social institutions.”

Marjory S. Blumenthal, associate provost at Georgetown University and former director of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies, agreed. “Perhaps the issue is, how will deep thinking get done—including by whom—rather than will everyone be able to do deep thinking. In other words, division of labor may change.”

However, students who participated in the survey tended to express concerns about their peers’ ability to get beyond short-burst connections to information. Melissa Ashner, a student at the College of William and Mary, observed, “People report having more difficulty with sustained attention (i.e., becoming immersed in a book). Today, we have very young, impressionable minds depending on technology for many things. It is hard to predict the ways in which this starves young brains of cognitive ability earned through early hands-on experiences. It is likely to continue to contribute to the rise in childhood obesity as well, which further hinders cognitive function.”

Dana Levin, a student at Drexel University College of Medicine, wrote, “The biggest consequence I foresee is an expectation of immediacy and decreased patience among people. Those who grow up with immediate access to media, quick response to email and rapid answers to all questions may be less likely to take longer routes to find information, seeking ‘quick fixes’ rather than taking the time to come to a conclusion or investigate an answer.”

Richard Forno, a long-time cybersecurity expert, agreed with these younger respondents, saying he fears “where technology is taking our collective consciousness and ability to conduct critical analysis and thinking, and, in effect, individual determinism in modern society.”

He added, “My sense is that society is becoming conditioned into dependence on technology in ways that, if that technology suddenly disappears or breaks down, will render people functionally useless. What does that mean for individual and social resiliency?”

Many anonymous respondents focused their responses on what one referred to as “fast-twitch” wiring. Here’s a collection of comments along those lines:

“I wonder if we will even be able to sustain attention on one thing for a few hours—going to a classical concert or film, for instance. Will concerts be reduced to 30 minutes? Will feature-length films become anachronistic?”

“Communication in all forms will be more direct fewer of the niceties and supercilious greetings will exist. Idle conversation skills will be mostly lost.”

“Discussions based around internet content will tend to be pithy, opinion-based, and often only shared using social media with those who will buttress—rather than challenge—political, ideological, or artistic beliefs.”

“Increasingly, teens and young adults rely on the first bit of information they find on a topic, assuming that they have found the ‘right’ answer, rather than using context and vetting/questioning the sources of information to gain a holistic view of a topic.”

“Constant broadcasts don’t make it easy for the individual to step away and work through an issue or concern without interruption.”

“My friends are less interested in genuine human interaction than they are at looking at things on Facebook. People will always use a crutch when they can, and the distraction will only grow in the future.”

“Parents and kids will spend less time developing meaningful and bonded relationships in deference to the pursuit and processing of more and more segmented information competing for space in their heads, slowly changing their connection to humanity.”

“How/why should we expect the next generation to be ‘different’ (implication = more evolved/better) when they’re raised in a culture increasingly focused on instant gratification with as little effort as possible?”

“It’s simply not possible to discuss, let alone form societal consensus around, major problems without lengthy, messy conversations about those problems. A generation that expects to spend 140 or fewer characters on a topic and rejects nuance is incapable of tackling these problems.”

“Why are we creating a multitasking world for ADD kids? The effects will be more telling than just the Twitterfication of that generation. There have been articles written about how they’re losing their sense of direction (who needs bearings when you have Google Maps or a GPS?). Who needs original research when you have Wikipedia?”

“Human society has always required communication. Innovation and value creation come from deeper interaction than tweets and social media postings. Deeper engagement has allowed creative men and women to solve problems. If Thomas Edison focused on short bursts of energy, I doubt he would have worked toward the creation of the light bulb.”

“‘Fast-twitch’ wiring among today’s youth generally leads to more harm than good. Much of the communication and media consumed in an ‘always-on’ environment is mind-numbing chatter. While we may see increases in productivity, I question the value of what is produced.”

“There is less time for problems to be worked out, whether they are of a personal, political, economic, or environmental nature. When you (individual or collective) screw up (pollute, start a war, act in a selfish way, or commit a sexual indiscretion as a public person) everyone either knows very quickly or your actions affect many people in ways that are irreversible.”

“They should all be forced to whittle a whistle while sitting on a porch with nothing but the trees and birds for company.”

“Long-form cognition and offline contemplative time will start to be viewed as valuable and will be re-integrated into social and work life in interesting and surprising ways.”

Annette Liska, an emerging-technologies design expert, observed, “The idea that rapidity is a panacea for improved cognitive, behavioral, and social function is in direct conflict with topical movements that believe time serves as a critical ingredient in the ability to adapt, collaborate, create, gain perspective, and many other necessary (and desirable) qualities of life. Areas focusing on ‘sustainability’ make a strong case in point: slow food, traditional gardening, hands-on mechanical and artistic pursuits, environmental politics, those who eschew Facebook in favor of rich, active social networks in the ‘real’ world.”

Enrique Piraces, senior online strategist for Human Rights Watch, said communication and knowledge acquisition are increasingly mediated by technology, noting that by 2020, “a significant part of the knowledge that anyone can discover will be processed by ‘third-party brains.’ Machines will learn from that processing, but I’m afraid the subjects won’t develop deep thinking based on this.”

Robert F. Lutes, director of Valley Housing and Economic Authority, says technology is taking humanity down a harmful path. “We have, by-and-large, created a ‘feed-me/fix-me’ generation of sound-bite learners. They are not given the skills to retain anything more than short bits of information. Hence the new generation of computer skills found on social network sites such as Twitter, Facebook, et al., are quite easy to grasp hold of and only serve to widen their realms of friends…HP and IBM both dropped their sales of laptop computers for the 2020 generation. Most of the other mainstream companies will continue to do so. CD’s and DVD’s will be totally absent from the scene by that time. Nanotechnology, cloud computing, flash drives, and so forth will be the order of the day. Over the course of the past three years, touchpad technology has exploded exponentially in usage and available applications. These will become the books, communications media, and everything. Face-to-face time will be calculated in terms of touchscreen camera time and not in face-to-face human contact. Much of this is true in the decade of the 2010’s. The ‘hardwiring’ of the basic core or fabric of the individual will not change it is technology applications and their outcomes that should be of concern…Stagnation of the whole population will come as a result of lack of the skills of innovation, deep thinking, and a lack of desire or urgent need to fulfill basic human drives in proper human interactions.”

A number of respondents to the survey expressed concerns over the health and well-being of young people by 2020. Keith Davis, a team leader for a US Defense Department knowledge-management initiative, noted, “Technology is taking more and more of our children’s time, and not much of the internet time is spent learning. Time once spent outside (as a child) is now spent on computers. Our children are becoming sedentary and overweight at an alarming rate. Weight gain and that type of lifestyle causes apathy in our children. Social skills will be lost, and a general understanding of common sense will be a thing of the past—common sense = Web search. Here is my 2020 prediction: 60% of children over the age of 15 are overweight in the US, and the Web traffic to non-learning sites has grown threefold.”

Bruce Nordman, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and active leader in the Internet Engineering Task Force, expressed concerns over people’s information diets, writing: “The overall effect will be negative, based on my own experience with technology, attention, and deep thinking (I am 49), and observing my children and others. I see the effect of television as a primary example, in which people voluntarily spend large amounts of time in mentally unhealthy activity. I also see our crisis of obesity as informative, as the wide availability of both healthy and unhealthy food ends up with many people eating large amounts of unhealthy food and abandoning healthy habits like exercise. While I am quite willing to believe that some ‘wiring’ differences are occurring and will occur, they will be a modest effect compared to others.”

Eugene Spafford, a professor of computer science and engineering at Purdue University, responded that many young adults are unable to function in a confident and direct manner without immediate access to online sources and social affirmation. He observed: “The ability to express opinion and emotion is replaced with flaming and emoticons, which are much less nuanced. The level of knowledge of the world around many young adults—cultural, political, historical, scientific—seems reduced in favor of greater knowledge of pop culture. There is also a blurring in their minds between facts and opinions because both are presented in quantity with similar polish and forcefulness, and verification and reasoning have been replaced by search engine results. The resulting acceptance of bombast for fact is damaging in nearly all fields of formal inquiry.”

Megan Ellinger, a user experience analyst for a research organization based in Washington, DC, noted that it is becoming more difficult to find truth. “The negative learning behavior and cognition I see occurring by 2020 is rooted in our society’s ability to assess information at a deeper level and to determine what is fact and what is fiction,” she wrote. “It’s an issue that is not unique to future generations, but one I imagine will become more challenging as we generate more collective ‘intelligence.’”

The result is likely to be a wide-ranging mix of positives and negatives – and not just for young people

Many survey participants said always-on connectivity to global information is a double-edged sword. Dave Rogers, managing editor of Yahoo Kids, observed that there will be winners and losers as this technology evolves. “Certainly,” he noted, “there will be some teens and young adults who will suffer cognitive difficulties from unhealthy use of the internet, Web, social media, games, and mobile technology. These problems will arise not because of the technology but because of wholly inadequate adult guidance, training, and discipline over young people’s use of the technology. But most teens and young adults will prosper as described in the first option.”

He said one plus is that mobile connectivity is rapidly transforming the lives of children. “The learning and cognitive development made possible by tablets is much more ‘natural,’ more in keeping with the evolutionary-driven development of young minds because it is so much less dependent upon cognitive skills that the youngest children have not yet developed (e.g., advanced verbal abilities),” he wrote. “It’s still early, but I believe we will see significant, positive and even astounding improvements in the cognitive abilities of young people within the next five years.”

Youth expert Winograd said the Millennial generation will drive positive change in the next decade. “When Millennials remake our educational institutions so that they reflect this internet-based architecture, rather than the broadcast, ‘expert in the center’ framework of today’s K-doctorate educational systems,” he wrote, “then their ability to process, if not actually absorb, a greater amount of information will be used to produce positive outcomes for society. But that will take longer then eight years to accomplish.”

“I made the optimistic choice, but in reality, I think that both outcomes will happen,” noted Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. “This has been the case for every communications advance: writing, photography, movies, radio, TV, etc. There’s no reason to believe that the internet is any different. It will provide ways to save time, and ways to waste time, and people will take advantage of both opportunities. In balance, however, I lean toward the more optimistic view since a larger fraction of the world’s population will now be able to access human knowledge. This has got to be a good thing.”

Alexandra Samuel, director of the Social + Media Centre in Vancouver, Canada, said it is important to recognize that cultural and generational biases have always influenced the way older people perceive how young people think and spend their time. “If we can stop fretting about what we’re losing we can make room to get excited about what we’re gaining: the ability to multitask, to feel connected to ‘strangers’ as well as neighbours, to create media unselfconsciously, to live in a society of producers rather than consumers,” she said. “The question we face as individuals, organizations, educators and perhaps especially as parents is how we can help today’s kids to prepare for that world—the world they will actually live in and help to create—instead of the world we are already nostalgic for.”

Computing pioneer and ACM Fellow Bob Frankston predicted that people will generally take all of this in stride. “We will renorm to the new tools,” he said. “We have always had mall rats and we’ve had explorers. Ideally, people will improve their critical thinking skills to use the available raw information. More likely, fads will continue.”

Jerry Michalski, founder and president of Sociate, asked, “What if we’re seeing a temporary blip in behavior because an Aleph has suddenly opened in the middle of civilization, a Borges-like hole through which anyone can talk to anyone, and anyone can see everything that ever happened and is happening now? Because this has never existed, all the way back through prehistory, of course we’re seeing addictive and compulsive behaviors. Naturally. The big question seems to me to be whether we’ll regain our agency in the middle of all this, or surrender to consumerism and infotainment and live out a WALL-E world that’s either Orwell’s or Huxley’s misanthropic fantasies in full bloom. I think we’re figuring out how to be human again amid all this, and that we’ll all learn how to use the new technologies to multitask as well as to dive deep into materials, weaving contexts of meaning that we haven’t seen before. Call me an optimist.”

Tiffany Shlain, director of the film Connected and founder of the Webby Awards, quoted Sophocles. “We are evolving and we are going to be able to access so much knowledge and different perspectives that we will come up with new ideas and new solutions to our world’s problems,” she responded. “The key will be valuing when to be present and when to unplug. The core of what makes us human is to connect deeply, so this always will be valued. Just as we lost oral tradition with the written word, we will lose something big, but we will gain a new way of thinking. As Sophocles once said, ‘Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.’”

Martin D. Owens, an attorney and author of Internet Gaming Law, also pointed out the dual effects of humans’ uses of technologies, writing, “Good people do good things with their access to the internet and social media—witness the profusion of volunteer and good cause apps and programs which are continually appearing, the investigative journalism, the rallying of pro-democracy forces across the world. Bad people do bad things with their internet access. Porno access is all over the place—if you want it. Even Al Qaeda has a webpage, complete with interactive social games with a terrorist bent like Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom. Just as with J.R.R. Tolkien’s ring of power, the internet grants power to the individual according to that individual’s wisdom and moral stature. Idiots are free to do idiotic things with it the wise are free to acquire more wisdom. It was ever thus. Each new advance in knowledge and technology represents an increase in power, and the corresponding moral choices that go with that power.”

Jessica Clark, a media strategist and senior fellow for two U.S. communications technology research centers, was among many who observed that there’s nothing new about concerns over teens and evolving ways they create content and share it. “History is a progression of older people tut-tutting over the media production and consumption habits of those younger than them and holding tightly to the belief that the technologies of communication they grew up with are intellectually or culturally superior,” she wrote. “Every new generation finds creative and groundbreaking ways to use the new technologies to explore and illuminate human truths and to make dumb, sexist, horrifying schlock. Multitasking young adults and teens will be fine they’ll be better at certain types of tasks and worse at others. Their handwriting will be horrendous. Their thumbs will ache. Life will go on.”

Still, argued Oscar Gandy, emeritus professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania, there is reason to worry that everyone’s attention could be overwhelmed in the always-on environment. “I tend to be pessimistic about such things,” he wrote. “That said—without focusing on the supposed differences in the brains of the younger set, and giving greater consideration to the demands on attention that are likely to increase manifold without being productively filtered—I doubt that deep engagement with anything or anyone will be the result of the expansion in opportunities for distraction. Of course, we can be hopeful that at least some of the aids [noted futurist] Ray Kurzweil has promised us will be socially productive.”

This could have a significant impact on politics, power and control

Respected communications scholar Sandra Braman of the University of Wisconsin shared a perception similar to the type of world Neal Postman warned of in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. She wrote: “What is being lost are the skills associated with print literacy, including the ability to organize complex processes in a sustained way over time, engage in detailed and nuanced argumentation, analytically compare and contrast information from diverse sources, etc. What is being gained are hand-eye coordination skills, certain types of visual literacy, etc.”

She continued: “Which literacies are dominant is of serious consequence for society at large. The practice of democracy is one among the fundamental elements of high modern society that relies upon print literacy, as are scientific thought and experimental science. There are two more issues. One is transferability. Are the deep skills acquired by those with a lot of gaming experience transferable to the meat flesh world? That is, do those who can track multiple narratives simultaneously practice that same skill in environments that aren’t animations and have buttons to push? The second is will. Do those who can, to stick with the same example, track and engage with multiple narratives simultaneously choose to do the same with the meat-flesh political environment? The incredibly important research stream that we have not seen yet would look at the relationship between gaming and actual political activity in the meat-flesh world. My hypothesis is that high activity in online environments, particularly games, expends any political will or desire to effectively shape the environment so that there is none of that will left for engaging in our actual political environment.”

Jesse Drew, an associate professor of technocultural studies at the University of California-Davis, echoed Braman. “My fear is that though their cognitive ability will not be impaired, their ability to think critically will be, and they will be far more susceptible to manipulation,” he wrote.

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, observed: “The world is becoming more complex, and yet both old media (e.g., cable TV news) and new media (e.g., Twitter) are becoming increasingly simplistic. What passes for politics is increasingly a charade detached from actual governance.”

Paul Gardner-Stephen, a telecommunications fellow at Flinders University, said the underlying issue is that people will become dependent upon accessing the internet in order to solve problems and conduct their personal, professional, and civic lives. “Thus centralised powers that can control access to the internet will be able to significantly control future generations,” he pointed out. “It will be much as in Orwell’s 1984, where control was achieved by using language to shape and limit thought so future regimes may use control of access to the internet to shape and limit thought.”

A number of anonymous respondents brought up control and attention issues when they responded to this research question. Among them:

“With deregulation, consolidation of media ownership and control, and the acceptance of capitalism as natural and inevitable, learning styles and attention spans are headed toward the inability to think critically. Trends in education, social activities, and entertainment all make more likely a future of passive consumers of information.”

“Popular tools allow us to move at a pace that reinforces rapid cognition rather than more reflective and long-term analysis. I fear that market forces and draconian policies will drive the technology/media interface.”

“Among my own peer group today (the young adults), much more attention is given to the topic-of-the-day than to deep, philosophical/moral issues, and I don’t see this trend reversing. There’s a decent chance something could come around in the next five years to create radical social and cultural change the world over, but it’s hard to predict what and even harder to expect it on a short timeframe when the competition has trillions of dollars at their disposal to prevent such radical change from happening.”

“The ease at which authorities can be bypassed erodes our civil society. Cheating and corruption is rampant. Productivity continues to fall and not grow as each new wave of technologies fails to live up to its potential. People are obsessed with mundane things. Consumerism becomes the main fuel for our emotions.”

“We need to be more worried about how search engines and other tools are being increasingly controlled by corporations and filtering the information we all access.”

“We have landed in an electronics age where communications technologies are evolving much more quickly than the minds that are producing them and the social structures that must support them. We are not taking the time to evaluate or understand these technologies, and we aren’t having serious conversations about what effects these new tools have on us.”

“We are evolving tools and habits to select what is valuable from what is not, but we clearly can go either way, and some—perhaps many—will go the route of gossip and distraction. The good news is that it doesn’t take very many highly creative people to transform a society those who figure out how to bring new creations out of internet chaos will surely lead the rest in new and good directions, even as others lead us elsewhere.”

Fernando Botelho, an international consultant on technology and development, expressed concerns about humans’ tendencies to sort themselves in ways that may cause friction. “Humanity needs no additional help in dividing itself into groups that exclude more than include,” he wrote. “The best way to unite millions and divide billions is nationalism, but the reality is that religion, politics, and so many other mental frameworks can do it just as effectively, and the internet enables much more narrowly targeted divisions so that we are not divided anymore into less than 200 national territories or three or four major religions, but into thousands or even millions of subgroups that challenge us to avoid the tragedy of the commons at a global level.”

And Sam Punnett, president of FAD Research, drew out the second scenario in a multilayered, doleful future:

“The seemingly compulsive nature of modern media use and the distracted nature of users themselves have other serious interpersonal effects akin to substance addictions. We need to know much more about these phenomena. So to go wide and long on this, let’s say in 2020 that the entire wired population has largely restricted its information flow through filtering and aggregators. People expose themselves only to information that conforms with their view of the world, from people they ‘know.’

Interpersonal skills have eroded to a point where many people no longer have a sensibility for exercising what might have previously been described as tact or social graces. The manner in which communications occur (or do not occur) allows people to artificially wall themselves off from anything unpleasant or unanticipated or complicated. There is an increase in mental illnesses related to disassociation and alienation.

All communications must be short, visual, and distracting/entertaining. The intellectual attributes that may become highly valued are those that concern particular expertise in an area that requires study and the consolidation of information over time. On the other hand, presentation and on-screen personality may trump expertise as people come to rely on people who merely present information in an entertaining and digestible fashion causing the least amount of cognitive dissonance.

Branding and politics are ruled by those who can mount the most entertaining ‘noise’ on the most effective platforms. Education will have largely moved ‘on-screen’ in the class and online at higher levels. There is a decline in people’s ability to communicate verbally. Language will simplify to conform to the new requirement for bite-size messages.

Libraries will continue to consolidate themselves into fewer outlets as crosses between repositories for ‘dead media’ and community centers for public Net access and entertainment. There will be a further emergence of virtual associations in things like game ‘clans,’ online special interest groups and groups formed through social networks.

Personal skills like those that enable people to get others to cooperate in work settings will be more at a premium as are people with ‘people skills’ such as those required for psychiatric services, mediation and social work. Organizational skills that allow people to see the ‘big picture’ and to coordinate others may be even more highly valued than they are now.

There will be an increase in accidents and things going wrong due to miscommunication and the widespread combination of sleep deprivation and fractured attention spans.

In 2020 almost no one will remember a time when things were different.”

Many argue that reinvention and reform of education is the key to a better future

Respondents often pointed to formal educational systems as the key driver toward a positive and effective transition to taking full advantage of the fast-changing digital-knowledge landscape. “The changes in behavior and cognition in the future depend heavily upon how we adapt our pre-school-through-college curricula to encompass new techniques of learning and teaching,” wrote Hugh F. Cline, an adjunct professor of sociology and education at Columbia University who was formerly a senior research scientist at a major educational testing company based in Princeton, NJ. “If we simply continue to use technologies to enhance the current structure and functioning of education, our young people will use the technologies to entertain themselves and engage in online socializing and shopping. We will have missed enormous opportunities to produce independent life-long learners.”

David Saer, a foresight researcher for Fast Future, said he’s a young adult who predicts a positive evolution but, “education will need to adapt to the wide availability of information, and concentrate on teaching sifting skills.” He added: “The desire for instantaneous content should not be seen as a lack of patience or short attention span but as a liberation from timetables set previously by others. It’s simply a matter of demanding information and technology to suit the timetable of the individual, an overarching trend throughout human history.”

Another futurist, Marcel Bullinga, author of Welcome to the Future Cloud—2025 in 100 Predictions, said education is essential. “Game Generation teens and adults will have lasting problems with focus and attention,” he noted. “They find distraction while working, distraction while driving, distraction while talking to the neighbours. Parents and teachers will have to invest major time and efforts into solving this issue: silence zones, time-out zones, meditation classes without mobile, lessons in ignoring people. All in all, I think the negative side effects can be healed.”

Larry Lannom, director of information management technology and vice president at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, said, “People must be taught to think critically and how to focus. If they are, then the network is a rich source of information. If they aren’t, then it will be a source of misinformation and mindless distraction. Individual differences will prevail and some will do well in the new environment and some will not.”

Tapio Varis, principal research associate with the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), wrote, “The first scenario will succeed only if the formal school system develops accordingly.” Berkeley, California-based consultant John N. Kelly added, “The ‘wiring’ change is real. Learning opportunities could easily continue to be lost unless educators, venture capitalists, taxpayers, volunteers, and businesses all make concerted efforts to leverage the potential of new technology to enhance the critical thinking skills of young people.”

Jeniece Lusk, a researcher and PhD in applied sociology at an Atlanta-based information technology company, responded, “Unless the educational paradigms used in our schools are changed to match the non-academic world of the Millennial student, I don’t foresee an increase in students’ abilities to analyze and use critical thinking. Students’ attention is increasingly being pulled into myriad directions—and arguably most of these ‘distractions’ are exciting, fun, and can be used to educate. However, despite schools’ best efforts to integrate technological materials and devices, they’re failing to completely redesign the education system to fit these students. Instead, they are creating drones who succeed purely on their ability to sit still for long periods of time, not use the technological devices available to them, and restrict their studying and research to strict parameters. Students are often unable to adapt when they enter college classrooms requiring them to apply processes and information, problem-solve, or think critically. They barely know how to use alternative words or phrases to complete a Google search. Since they’ve been taught that e-technology has no place in the classroom, they also haven’t learned proper texting/emailing/social networking etiquette, or, most importantly, how to use these resources to their advantage.”

Bonnie Bracey Sutton, a technology advocate and education consultant at the Power of US Foundation, said educators have to break through the old paradigm and implement new tools. “We were previously harnessed by text and old models of pedagogy,” she wrote. “When we move to transformational teaching it is hard to explain to traditional teachers what we are doing in a way that allows them to understand the beauty of using transformational technology. Many ways of learning are involved, and the work is not all done by the teacher. Resources abound from partners in learning, in advocacy, and academia. The technology makes it all possible, and we can include new areas of learning, computational thinking, problem solving, visualization and learning, and supercomputing.”

An anonymous respondent said most teachers today can’t comprehend the necessary paradigm to implement the tools effectively: “Those who are teaching the children who will be teenagers and young adults by 2020 are not all up-to-speed with the internet, mobile technologies, social interfaces, and the numerous other technologies that have recently been made mainstream. There will be a decline for behavior and cognition until those who have grown up with this type of technology are able to teach the children how to correctly and productively utilize the advantages it presents us.”

Another anonymous respondent wrote, “Interactions will definitely be different as a result of kids growing up with all this technology at their fingertips. I don’t think this will result in less-smart children, but it will definitely result in children who learn differently than those who grew up without constant stimulation from technology.”

Tin Tan Wee, an internet expert based at the National University of Singapore, estimates a slow movement to try to adapt to deal with the likely divide. “After 2020,” he predicted, “more-enlightened educators will start developing curricula designed to tap a post-internet era. After 2030, educational systems, primarily private ones, will demonstrate superior outcomes on a wider scale. After 2040, governments will start realising this problem, and public examination systems will emerge.

“The key lynchpin to watch for will be online testing systems which allow for the use of internet access and all the issues of identity, security, copying, plagiarism, etc., some of which companies like Turnitin are starting to address for tertiary education. So during the next 20 to 30 years, a digital divide will grow in educational systems and in outcomes in which the individuals, systems, etc., which can adapt will progress far more rapidly than those who cannot—and they will be the majority and will do badly and suffer. We are already seeing this manifested in the economic scene, where the rich get richer and the poor poorer.”

Ken Friedman, dean of the faculty of design at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, said, “With an added repertoire of experiences and skills, it might be that technology could lead to a brighter future, but today’s young people generally do not seem to be gaining the added skills and experiences to make this so.”

Freelance journalist Melinda Blau said education in internet literacy is key. “Technology always presents us with a combination of losses and gains,” she wrote, “but I believe the internet gives more than it takes away. 2020 will yield primarily helpful results, especially if our schools and other institutions take steps to—in Howard Rheingold’s words—help develop internet literacy.”

Wesley George, principal engineer for the Advanced Technology Group at Time Warner Cable, said there must be a shift in focus in the education system. “The difference between the two scenarios will come down to the ability of our educational system (or its replacement) to teach people how to manage the flow of information, the interaction between personal and work, social and entertainment, fact and opinion,” he predicted. “This does represent an evolutionary change, but the focus must be on the fact that learning means knowing how to filter and interpret the vast quantities of data one is exposed to—we must use the fact that the internet has all of this information to spend less time doing rote memorization and more time on critical thinking and analysis of the information that is available to you.”

Tom Franke, chief information officer for the University System of New Hampshire, noted that it is up to people to actively set the agenda if they want a positive outcome. “As machines that ‘think’ become prevalent and information access becomes even more universal than today, we will need to re-envision our models of education and learning,” he said. “The possibility of exploring deep questions will be enhanced, but it will be our culture, not our technology, that determines whether or not we have the will to use the tools in meaningful ways to enhance humanity.”

Teachers express many concerns you can feel the tension in their words

A number of people who identified themselves as teachers answered this question as anonymous respondents and most of them expressed frustration and concern for today’s students. Several noted that they have seen things “getting worse” over the past decade. Is this at least partially due to the fact that they are still trying to educate these highly connected young people through antiquated approaches? Perhaps those who have argued for education reform would think so.

Among the responses from those who expressed concerns about the students they are teaching now, some blame technology some blame culture. Following is a selection of those responses:

“My experience with college students suggests to me that their critical skills are diminishing they can’t make connections or see issues and events in terms of systems, prior choices, or institutions. Instead, any item/event is the equivalent of any other item/event. It is quickly displaced or disconnected from other items/events, and just part of a massive flow. Students don’t read books. They rarely read long articles. When they do read, they don’t read for arguments. Instead, they skim the middles of pages, perhaps moving their eyes up and down if something interests them. They don’t work on retaining what little they read, or even seem to think that taking notes is necessary. Their reasons seem to be that they can always find out whenever they need to. The future will belong to those who can focus. This will be an increasingly small and rare group of people.”

“I have seen a general decline in higher-order thinking skills in my students over the past decade. What I generally see is an over-dependence on technology, an emphasis on social technologies as opposed to what I’ll call ‘comprehension technologies,’ and a general disconnect from deeper thinking. I’m not sure that I attribute this to the so-called ‘re-wiring’ of teenage brains, but rather to a deeper intellectual laziness that the Web has also made possible with the rise of more video-based information resources (as opposed to textual resources).”

“I have horror stories about lack of attention. I am not sure that the physiology will change, but I am sure about how the current generation orients to traditional text—reading it or writing it. I have also seen the loss of interpersonal communication competence. What has emerged is an overly dramatic face-to-face style and a greater unwillingness to engage or cope with differences. It is extending adolescence.”

“I teach at the college level—have been for 12 years. I have seen a change in my students, their behavior, their learning, etc. Students do not know how to frame a problem or challenge. They do not know how to ask questions, and how to provide enough detail to support their answers (from credible sources). Technology is playing a big part in students not only not being able to perform as well in class, but also not having the desire to do so.”

“Every day I see young people becoming more and more just members of a collective (like the Borg in Star Trek) rather than a collection of individuals and I firmly believe that technology is the cause. I also believe that this phenomenon, which is at first merely seductive, eventually becomes addictive and is going to be very difficult to undo.”

“From my teaching I find more and more college students finding trouble in reading, listening, understanding directions, and comparing ideas. It is not wiring so much as change in education and culture, in my opinion.”

“The answers that students produce—while the students may be adept at finding them online through Google—tend to be shallow and not thought through very well. However, to say that somehow they aren’t as smart as earlier generations is a crock—many write quite poorly on academic assignments but are fine when blogging and producing diaristic accounts that ask them about themselves—an outcome, doubtless, of the lifetime focus on ‘me’ that many middle-class and upper-class kids now experience as the norm.”

“I do not think that the highly interactive, interrupt-driven, always-on, information-rich society that young people are growing up in is causing a decline in deep intellectual activity. Rather, I think it is the culture at large, driven by the generation before this youngest generation that devalues science, facts, intelligence, reasoning, and intellectual achievement in favor of emoting, celebrity, athletic achievement, fighting and winning, and faith. Also, the culture of praise over criticism leads to a society where to tell someone they are incorrect is at best a social faux pas and at worst reasons for demotion, dismissal, and poor teaching evaluations.”

“We’re all going to end up being more distracted, shallow, fuzzy thinking, disconnected humans who cannot think or act critically. But this won’t be because of the internet, it’ll be because of the loss of values and resourcing of things like education and civics and the ridiculous degree to which popular media, etc., are influencing our culture, values, etc.”

Widening divide? There’s a fear the rich will get richer, the poor poorer

Teens expert danah boyd raised concerns about a looming divide due to the switch in how young people negotiate the world. “Concentrated focus takes discipline, but it’s not something everyone needs to do,” she wrote, “unfortunately, it is what is expected of much of the working-class labor force. I suspect we’re going to see an increased class division around labor and skills and attention.”

Barry Parr, owner and analyst for MediaSavvy, echoed boyd’s concern about a widening divide. “Knowledge workers and those inclined to be deep thinkers will gain more cognitive speed and leverage,” he said, “but, the easily distracted will not become more adept at anything. History suggests that on balance people will adapt to the new order. The greatest negative outcome will be that the split in adaptation will exacerbate existing trends toward social inequality.”

Alan Bachers, director of the Neurofeedback Foundation, said society must prepare now for the consequences of the change we are already beginning to see. “The presence of breadth rather than depth of cognitive processing will definitely change everything—education, work, recreation,” he responded. “Workers will show up unsuited for the robotic, mind-numbing tasks of the factory—jobs now vanishing anyway. Creativity, demand for high stimulus, rapidly changing environments, and high agency (high touch) will be what makes the next revolution of workers for jobs they will invent themselves, changing our culture entirely at a pace that will leave many who choose not to evolve in the dust.”

An anonymous survey respondent said children who grow up with access to technology plus the capacity to use it in a positive manner will generally be more successful than others: “Decision-making will yield better results and those who are adept at integrating knowledge will be very successful. However, a wired world will be very addictive and those young adults who do not have a clear goal and a desire to achieve something will be caught in a downward spiral from which escape will be almost impossible. They will fall further and further behind. The result will be bimodal. The result will be positive overall, but a new type of underclass will be created which will be independent of race, gender, or even geography.”

Another anonymous respondent echoed those thoughts, writing, “Young people from intellectually weak backgrounds who have no special driving interest in self-development are all too likely to turn out exactly as the purveyors of a debased mass-culture want them to be: shallow, impulse-driven consumers of whatever is being sold as ‘hot’ at the moment.”

Tin Tan Wee, an internet expert based at the National University of Singapore, noted: “The smart people who can adapt to the internet will become smarter, while the rest, probably the majority, will decline. Why? The reason is simple. Current educational methods evolved to their current state mostly pre-internet. The same goes for a generation of teachers who will continue to train yet another generation of kids the old way. The same goes for examination systems, which carry out assessment based on pre-internet skills. This mismatch will cause declension in a few generations of cohorts. Those who are educated and re-educable in the internet way will reap the benefits of the first option. Most of the world will suffer the consequence of the second. The intellectual divide will increase. This in turn fuels the educational divide because only the richer can afford internet access with mobile devices at effective speeds.”

Some say the use of tech tools has no influence in the brain’s ‘wiring’

Well-known blogger, author, and communications professor Jeff Jarvis said we are experiencing a transition from a textual era and this is altering the way we think, not the physiology of our brains. “I don’t buy the punchline but I do buy the joke,” he wrote. “I do not believe technology will change our brains and how we are ‘wired.’ But it can change how we cognate and navigate our world. We will adapt and find the benefits in this change.”

He continued: “Hark back to Gutenberg. Elizabeth Eisenstein, our leading Gutenberg scholar, says that after the press, people no longer needed to use rhyme as a tool to memorize recipes and other such information. Instead, we now relied on text printed on paper. I have no doubt that curmudgeons at the time lamented lost skills. Text became our new collective memory. Sound familiar? Google is simply an even more effective cultural memory machine. It has already made us more fact-based when in doubt about a fact, we no longer have to trudge to the library but can expect to find the answer in seconds. Scholars at the University of Southern Denmark have coined the wonderful phrase ‘the Gutenberg Parenthesis’ to examine the shift into and now out of a textually based society.”

“Before the press,” Jarvis concluded, “information was passed mouth-to-ear, scribe-to-scribe it was changed in the process there was little sense of ownership and authorship. In the five-century-long Gutenberg era, text did set how we see our world: serially with a neat beginning and a defined end permanent authored. Now, we are passing out of this textual era and that may well affect how we look at our world. That may appear to change how we think. But it won’t change our wires.”

Jim Jansen, an associate professor of information science and technology at Penn State University and a member of the boards of eight international technology journals, noted, “I disagree with the opening phrase: ‘In 2020 the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are ‘wired’ differently from those over age 35.’ I find it hard to believe that hard wiring, evolved over millions of years can be re-wired. We can learn to use tools that impact the way we view things, but to say this is wiring is incorrect.”

Tracy Rolling, a product user experience evangelist for Nokia, observed, “One of the great things about the internet is that it frees up people’s memories. You don’t have to remember information you only have to remember how to find the information you need. Most of the information we need, we don’t need all the time. There’s no reason to actually remember it at all….. We don’t bother to remember things we know our spouse will remember for us. The internet is the same thing on a larger scale. I remember 15 years ago when people were terrified that kids would not be able to write because of the text-message shorthand that they had invented for themselves. It turns out that kids who use (and invent) text-message shorthand have better verbal skills than us oldsters do because text-message shorthand is inventive word play. The kids aren’t smarter or dumber than we were technology helps us free our brains for more useful things.”

Some analysts framed their arguments in more general terms and argued that there will not be significant cognitive change. This is the way Seth Finkelstein, a prominent tech analyst and programmer, put it: “I really wish there was an option for: ‘In 2020 the brains of teens and young adults are not ‘wired’ differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields essentially identical results. They learn roughly the same amount, as for most people the speed of information access is not the limiting factor. In sum, the changes in learning behavior and cognition among the young aren’t significantly affected.’”

Questioning the idea of multitasking some define it to be impossible

The word “multitasking” has firmly rooted itself as the primary descriptor used to refer to the task-juggling and attention-switching that is part and parcel of the hyperconnected lifestyle. Multitasking is a common act among today’s teens and 20s set. The semantics of the word have been argued, with many saying it is not possible to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

“Regarding the word ‘multitasking,’ cognitive, behavioral, and neurological sciences are moving toward a consensus that such a state does not actually exist in the human brain,” observed emerging technology designer Annette Liska. “We may make many quick ‘thoughts’ in succession, but human performance in any activity that is done without focus (often termed ‘multitasking’) is of significantly lower quality, including an absence of quality and consciousness. The word unfortunately perpetuates a false ideal of the human capacity to perform and succeed.”

Devra Moehler, a communications faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, shared research resources. “Eyal Ophir (Stanford) and others [have shown] the effects of multitasking are negative, even for those who think they are good at it. Matt Richtel wrote about this topic in the 2010 New York Times article Your Brain on Computers: Attached to Technology and Paying a Price and Helene Hembrooke and Geri Gay wrote in 2003 for the Journal of Computing in Higher Education The Laptop and the Lecture: The Effects of Multitasking in Learning Environments. The desire for constant stimulation and task switching is being inculcated in our youth, but not necessarily the ability to manage multitasking effectively to get more done. The end result will be negative. Concentration and in-depth thought may be skills that are rare, and thus highly valued in 2020.”

“I agree with all of those who say that multitasking is nothing more than switching endlessly from one thought to another—no one can think two things at once—but I don’t agree that this kind of attention-switching is destructive or unhealthy for young minds,” added Susan Crawford, professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and formerly on the White House staff. “It’s just the way the world works now, and digital agility is a basic skill for everyone. At the same time, I have hopes for my students: I hope they’ll discover the flow experience of reading long-form works and won’t need distraction in order to concentrate I hope they’ll go on finding ways to hang out that are meaningful and don’t involve devices.”

Nikki Reynolds, director of instructional technology services at Hamilton College, said studies indicate that young people are not truly multitasking. “They are ‘time slicing’,” she responded. “A few seconds of attention to the phone, now switch to the homework, now the TV, now back to the phone. This means it takes them longer to complete any one task, such as their homework. It also appears to affect the quality of their work. However, in my experience as a manager of only a few people, all of whom must interact daily with many more people, I am beginning to believe that this time slicing will become a skill that will help young people manage adult life better. The number of people who need our attention to answer a quick question or connect them to some resource is growing rapidly, and this requires me and my team to spend a lot of time switching contexts as part of our jobs. We touch a lot of people for brief little bits of time, in an unpredictable stream of interactions. I suspect the kids will be fine.”

Gina Maranto, a co-director in the graduate program at the University of Miami, said information multitasking is not a new phenomenon. “My father, a corporate editor, used to watch television, read magazines, and listen to the radio at the same time long before computers, cellphones, or iPads,” she said. “On the whole, I believe access to information and to new techniques for manipulating data (e.g., visualization) enhance learning and understanding rather than negatively impact them. Like Diderot’s encyclopedia, which freed up knowledge that had been locked in guilds, the internet and World Wide Web have freed up knowledge that was locked in proprietary databases, archives, and other difficult-to-access sources—and this has far-flung implications, not just educational but socioeconomic and cultural ones. The best students will use these technologies to carry out higher-level cognitive tasks.”

Communications consultant Stowe Boyd says new studies may be showing us that multitasking is actually quite possible. “There is recent evidence (published by researchers Jayson Watson and David Strayer) that suggests that some people are natural ‘supertaskers’ capable of performing two difficult tasks at once, without loss of ability on the individual tasks,” he wrote. “This explodes the conventional wisdom that ‘no one can really multitask,’ and by extension the premise that we shouldn’t even try. The human mind is plastic. The area of the brain that is associated with controlling the left hand, for example, is much larger in professional violinists. Likewise, trained musicians listen to music differently, using more centers of the brain, than found in non-musicians. To some extent this is obvious: we expect that mastery in physical and mental domains will change those master’s perceptions and skills. But cultural criticism seems to want to sequester certain questionable activities—like video gaming, social networking, multitasking, and others—into a no-man’s-land where the plasticity of the human mind is negative. None of these critics wring their hands about the dangerous impacts of learning to read, or the intellectual damage of learning a foreign language. But once kids get on a skateboard, or start instant messaging, it’s the fall of Western civilization.”

Boyd said it seems as if the social aspects of Web use frighten many detractors, adding, “But we have learned a great deal about social cognition in recent years, thanks to advances in cognitive science, and we have learned that people are innately more social than was ever realized. The reason that kids are adapting so quickly to social tools online is because they align directly with human social connection, much of which takes place below our awareness. Social tools are being adopted because they match the shape of our minds, but yes, they also stretch our minds based on use and mastery, just like martial arts, playing the piano, and badminton.”

Contrary to popular belief, young people are not digital wizards

David Ellis, director of communications studies at York University in Toronto, has a front-row seat to observe how hyperconnectivity seems to be influencing young adults. He said it makes them less productive and adds that most of them do not understand the new digital tools or how to use them effectively. “The idea that Millennials have a cognitive advantage over their elders is based on myths about multitasking, the skill-sets of digital natives, and 24/7 connectedness,” he commented. “Far from having an edge in learning, I see Millennials as increasingly trapped by the imperatives of online socializing and the opportunities offered by their smartphones to communicate from any place, any time.

“I can see this in the living experiment that takes place every week in the computer lab where I teach internet technologies to fourth-year communication studies majors. Students everywhere have become relentless in their use of mobile devices for personal messaging. Even good students delude themselves into thinking they can text friends continuously while listening to a lecture and taking notes and, in the process, retain information and participate in discussions. But good research has shown that even especially bright kids are less productive when multitasking, a finding resisted by plenty of grown-ups as well.

“Our fondness for thinking positively about multitasking, especially among the young, gets a lot of reinforcement from two other assumptions: that Millennials have a special aptitude for digital media because they’ve grown up digital and that ubiquitous, seamless connectivity is a positive social force. The first assumption is baloney the second is fraught with contextual problems. Of the hundreds of liberal arts students I’ve taught, not one in ten has come into my class with the slightest clue about how their digital devices work, how they differ from analog devices, how big their hard drive is, what Mbps (megabytes per second) measures. In other words, they’re just like people who haven’t grown up digital. And of course the immersive nature of 24/7 connectedness creates the illusion that Millennials can somehow tap into a form of collective intelligence just by being online, while looking impatiently for messages every three minutes.

“I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad or anti-social about smartphones, laptops, or any other technology. I do, however, believe we are entering an era in which young adults are placing an inordinately high priority on being unfailingly responsive and dedicated participants in the web of personal messaging that surrounds them in their daily lives. For now, it seems, addictive responses to peer pressure, boredom, and social anxiety are playing a much bigger role in wiring Millennial brains than problem-solving or deep thinking.”

Hello! AOADD (Always-On Attention Deficit Disorder) is age-defying

Rich Osborne, senior IT innovator at the University of Exeter in the UK, said his own life and approaches to informing and being informed have changed due to the influence of hyperconnectivity. “As I am in possession of just about every technical device you can name and I am using just about every cloud service you can think of, you’d think I’d be all for this,” he observed. “But I’ve started to wonder about how all this use of technology is affecting me. I strongly suspect it’s actually making me less able to construct more complex arguments in written form, for example—or at the very least it is certainly making such construction harder for me. Of course it might be other issues, stress at work, getting older, interests changing, any number of things—but underlying all these possibilities is the conscious knowledge that my information-consumption patterns have become bitty and immediate.

“I’ve noticed in my own habits how the instant availability of bite-size data has led me away from deeper more complex texts, a form of intellectual procrastination—perhaps even addiction-style behaviour. Of course this might just be temporary—more an effect of the current state of the internet, as opposed to something that is baked into the very nature of the internet itself. In the meantime, though, the immediate and bite-size nature of internet exchanges will make it harder for multitasking teens and young adults to undertake deep thinking in particular, and the ‘top-10’ effect, i.e., people selecting whatever Google proposes on the first page of search results, may lead to a plateau of intellectual thinking as we all start to attend to the same content.”

An anonymous respondent agreed, writing, “I find in myself that switching constantly between tasks, and the eyesight and energy issues from sitting in front of a screen all day make it harder for me to concentrate and connect with others in both online and offline settings. I have a shorter attention span. I’m less patient because I’m used to not having to wait for information there are many things worth doing that take time, are tedious, and require patience. Who among us doesn’t rely on a phone or computer for knowing what to wear, how to get from A to B, and to know what’s happening with our friends, even those we rarely speak to? I don’t see how the more positive scenario could result.”

Another wrote, “I’m 33 years old and over the last two years have ramped up my time spent on the internet to 10-plus hours a day. The effects have been detrimental. My attention span for longer-form information consumption such as books, movies, long-form articles, and even vapid 30-minute TV shows has been diminished immensely. My interpersonal communications skills are suffering, and I find it difficult to have sustained complex thoughts. My creativity is zapped and I get very moody if I’m away from the Web for too long.”

Debbie Donovan, a marketing blogger based in Mountain View, California, described her experience: “As an over 35-er, I can tell you that I’ve deliberately re-wired my brain and I can manage a more complex and rewarding life situation as a result of the digital skills deliberately acquired. I am more effective in my work. How we interact digitally is infinitely revealing of how our brains work with all the inputs we receive. I am more effective in my personal life because I can reach out and stay in touch with a much larger circle of friends and family and cultivate the level of intimacy I can achieve in those relationships.”

Heidi McKee, an associate professor of English at Miami University, said, “Nearly 20 years ago everyone was saying how teens were going to be wired differently, but when you look at surveys done by Pew, AARP, and others, older adults possess just as much ability and desire to communicate and connect with all available means.”

Dan Ness, principal researcher at MetaFacts (producers of the Technology User Profile), noted that each generation laments the younger generation and imagines a world that’s either completely better or worse than the current one. “You can go back to writings from hundreds and thousands of years ago and hear the same conclusion,” he said. “While most aging adults don’t want to admit to their own calcification or rigidity, nor how their memory of past events may be romanticized or simplified, there seems to be a perennial need to imagine a starkly changed future. So, this statement is less about the internet and technology per se, and more about human development. The under-35 group is more likely to fully use the tools and technology around them and incorporate them into their lives. In the main, as people age, they will choose to use what they’ve learned for ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ outcomes.”

A respondent wittily observed the age discrimination implicit in the scenario, writing, “I ain’t a technophobe and I really hate it when internet use is demonised for creating problem teens.”

No matter what the tech, it all comes down to human nature

Human tendencies drive human uses of technology tools. Many of the people participating in this survey emphasized the importance of the impact of basic human instincts and motivations.

Some survey respondents observed that all new tools initially tend to be questioned and feared by some segment of the public. Socrates, for instance, lamented about the scourge of writing implements and their likely threat to the future of intelligent discourse. In his response to this survey question, Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor from Texas A&M whose research specialty is technologies’ effects on human behavior, noted, “The tendency to moralize and fret over new media seems to be wired into us.”

He added, “Societal reaction to new media seems to fit into a pattern described by moral panic theory. Just as with older forms of media, from dime novels to comic books to rock and roll, some politicians and scholars can always be found to proclaim the new media to be harmful, often in the most hyperbolic terms. Perhaps we’ll learn from these past mistakes? I think we may see the same pattern with social media. For instance the American Academy of Pediatrics claims for a ‘Facebook Depression’ already have been found to be false by independent scholarly review. New research is increasingly demonstrating that fears of violent video games leading to aggression were largely unfounded. Youth today are the least aggressive, most civically involved, and mentally well in several generations. Independent reviews of the literature by the US Supreme Court and the Australian Government have concluded the research does not support links between new technology and harm to minors. I think on balance we’ll eventually accept that new media are generally a positive in our lives.”

Several survey participants noted that basic human responses are being leveraged to advantage by marketers tapping into human tendencies. “There are evolutionary traits and preferences that are hard-wired in, and that’s where the danger lies—not in teenagers wasting their time writing SMSs rather than novels for the ages, but in marketers’ ever-increasing ability to tap in to addictive and deep-seated psychological traits that are common to all of us, to convince us to play just one more round of Angry Birds, or have just one more scoop of salted-caramel ice cream,” wrote an anonymous respondent. “The pervasive network allows people to build more quickly on the foundations laid by their predecessors, but it also allows more efficient delivery of increasingly addictive media that caters to our troop-of-apes-on-the-savannah social needs for popularity and attention.”

One anonymous respondent noted that it is human to take the easy path, writing: “Learning requires three key underlying skill sets—patience, curiosity, and a willingness to question assumptions. Unfortunately, the internet can tend to give answers too quickly and make people think they are experts simply because they can access anything and everything immediately. Ensuring that youth understand that really understanding something requires lots of time and substantial amounts of thinking and questioning is going to be a challenge.” Another anonymous respondent added that the easy path generally leads to entertainment more often than education or enlightenment: “We are already beginning to see the short attention spans people have as well as their lack of overall knowledge about their world and local context. Just consider the dreadful state of political dialog in this country today. People are distracted from deep engagement and are solely interested in being entertained, most often by viewing the misfortune of others.”

Human nature, one anonymous respondent noted, has its sunny side and its dark side: “Those who are interested, driven, engaged, and excited about learning will learn, grow, and develop—for its own sake. Those who are not, will not they’ll party, they’ll coast, and they’ll become investment bankers.”

There were those who expressed optimism about human nature and the days ahead. An anonymous respondent wrote, “Our surrounding world is developing and changing, and teens, youth, and children are going to be leading the way through the new world just like they always have.” Another added, “I am an optimist with faith in the deeper motivations of our species to learn, acquire understanding, and be challenged.” And another added: “People will always want the same things—sex, power, affection, fulfillment, etc.—and they will use technologies as they always have, to seek out more of the things they want, which intrinsically involve interacting with other people. Ask a geeky friendless kid in small-town America 40 years ago if he’d like to have some way of communicating with people who appreciate him.”

Richard Titus, a venture capitalist based in London and San Francisco, said the construction of strong social and moral frameworks is necessary for positive evolution. “The idea in the 1960s of unstructured, unguided, collaborative contribution was considered anathema, yet it brought us one of the most important human inventions, the internet, un-imaginable within the previous mental model,” he wrote. “The most important thing to bring a positive vision of 2020 is to steer the next generation towards results—meaningful, measurable results, with less focus on how they are arrived at—and to build stronger social, moral frameworks to replace those roles previously held by power structures which relied on the previous models.”

The most-desired skills of 2020 will be…

Survey respondents say there’s still value to be found in traditional skills but new items are being added to the menu of most-desired capabilities. “internet literacy” was mentioned by many people. The concept generally refers to the ability to search effectively for information online and to be able to discern the quality and veracity of the information one finds and then communicate these findings well.

David D. Burstein, a student at New York University and author of Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Remaking Our World, noted, “A focus on nostalgia for print materials, penmanship, and analog clock reading skills will disappear as Millennials and the generation that follows us will redefine valued skills, which will likely include internet literacy, how to mine information, how to read online, etc.”

Collective intelligence, crowd-sourcing, smart mobs, and the “global brain” are some of the descriptive phrases tied to humans working together to accomplish things in a collaborative manner online. Internet researcher and software designer Fred Stutzman said the future is bright for people who take advantage of their ability to work cooperatively through networked communication. “The sharing, tweeting, and status updating of today are preparing us for a future of ad hoc, always-on collaboration,” he wrote. “The skills being honed on social networks today will be critical tomorrow, as work will be dominated by fast-moving, geographically diverse, free-agent teams of workers connected via socially mediating technologies.”

Frank Odasz, a consultant and speaker on 21 st century workforce readiness, rural e-work and telework, and online learning, said digital tools are allowing human networks to accelerate intelligence. “Because everything is becoming integrated and interrelated, youth’s abilities for expansive thinking and public problem solving will dramatically increase,” he noted. “Youth are learning to focus on ‘what matters most,’ with an emphasis on leveraging social media as one’s personal learning network. Purposeful collaborative actions will leverage shared knowledge—if we all share what we know, we’ll all have access to all our knowledge. Peer-evaluated, crowd-accelerated innovation will be recognized as a new dynamic for our global hologram of shared imagination. Digital reputations will be judged by the level of leveraged meaningful activities one leads, and is directly involved in advocacy for. Just-in-time, inquiry-based learning dynamics will evolve along with recognition that the best innovations can be globally disseminated to billions in a day’s time.”

Jonathan Grudin, principal researcher at Microsoft, emphasized the critical thinking involved in analytical search processes. “The essential skills will be those of rapidly searching, browsing, assessing quality, and synthesizing the vast quantities of information that is available and is of importance or interest to each person. These skills were not absent before but were not needed when the available significant information was less, more heavily vetted in advance, and more difficult to access. In contrast, the ability to read one thing and think hard about it for hours will not be of no consequence, but it will be of far less consequence for most people.”

Jeffrey Alexander, senior science and technology policy analyst at SRI International’s Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development, said, “As technological and organizational innovation comes to depend on integrating and reconfiguring existing and new knowledge to solve problems, digital and computational thinking will become more and more valuable and useful. While digital thinking may lead to excessive multitasking and a reduction in attention span, the human brain can adapt to this new pattern in stimuli and can compensate for the problems that the pattern may cause in the long run. Online and digital interaction will make new forms of expression more important in social relationships, so that there is less emphasis on superficial attributes and more value placed on meaningful expression and originality of ideas.”

“These two modes of thinking (rapid information gathering vs. slower information processing and critical analysis) represent two different cultures, each with its own value system,” maintained Patrick Tucker, deputy editor of The Futurist magazine. “They can work together and complement one another but only with effort on the part of both sides. Ideally, internet users across age groups take the time to develop critical thinking ability. We value these too cheaply today. The internet, in its very nature, pushes and encourages feral information gathering, so no special training or attention is really required to instruct the ‘over 35’ set how to find what they want online quickly. The premise of the question, thus, is flawed. On the contrary, some of the best content aggregation out there is done by baby boomers. Quick pattern recognition and extrapolation is a natural mental state. The ability to focus, to analyze critically, these require learning and practice.”

An anonymous survey respondent said talented people will have the ability to work with people on both sides of the technology divide: “There is too much of a gap between the ‘people in charge’ and the ‘wired kids,’ leaving too much room for miscommunication and inevitable friction. In 2020, I would imagine that the most highly valued intellectual and personal skills will be the ability to exist in both of these spaces.”

P.F. Anderson, emerging technologies librarian at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, suggested that it’s not just the new-age literacies that should be emphasized, writing: “Have young folk practice rapid retrieval skills alongside quiet time, personal insight, attention to detail, memory. Develop the skills to function well both unplugged and plugged-in.”

Gina Maranto, a co-director in the University of Miami’s graduate program, said ways of thinking to serve the common good will be of the greatest benefit. “Probably the most highly valued personal skills,” she wrote, “will be cosmopolitanism, in the way philosopher Kwame Appiah conceives it—the ability to listen to and accommodate to others—and communitarianism, in the way sociologist Amitai Etzioni has outlined—an awareness that there must be a balance between individual rights and social goods.”

Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, shared feedback from hundreds of grassroots members of the CPA profession, who weighed in on the critical skills for the future in the CPA Horizons 2025 report and arrived at these: 1) Strategic thinking—being flexible and future-minded, thinking critically and creatively. 2) Synthesizing—the ability to gather information from many sources and relate it to a big picture. 3) Networking and Collaboration—understanding the value of human networks and how to collaborate across them. 4) Leadership and communications—the ability to make meaning and mobilize people to action and make your thinking visible to others. 5) Technological savvy—proficiency in the application of technology.

Barry Chudakov, a research fellow in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, said the challenge we’re facing is maintaining and deepening “integrity, the state of being whole and undivided,” noting: “There will be a premium on the skill of maintaining presence, of mindfulness, of awareness in the face of persistent and pervasive tool extensions and incursions into our lives. Is this my intention, or is the tool inciting me to feel and think this way? That question, more than multitasking or brain atrophy due to accessing collective intelligence via the internet, will be the challenge of the future.”

An anonymous respondent noted, “The ability to concentrate, focus, and distinguish between noise and the message in the ever growing ocean of information will be the distinguishing factor between leaders and followers.”

It is difficult to tell what we will see by 2020, as people and tools evolve

Duane Degler, principal consultant at Design for Context, a designer of large-scale search facilities and interactive applications for clients such as the National Archives and Verisign, said we’re already witnessing a difference in cognitive abilities and perceptions dependent upon the information/communication tools people are using, and not just among the under-35 set. “One thing these scenarios don’t speak to,” he noted, “is the degree to which the tools themselves are likely to recede further into the background, where they become a part of a fabric for how people carry out tasks and communicate. This is likely to be a result of both technology (pervasive computing, context-aware interactions) and a settling in of personal/social habits. As a result, the dominant social and information behaviors are likely to be influenced by other factors that we can’t yet see, in the same way current social and information behaviors are now being influenced by capabilities that are predominantly five years (or at most ten years) old.”

Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center at Fielding Graduate University, says this evolution is creating a new approach to thinking. “The new ‘wiring’ creates the ability to be fluid in adapting to change,” she explained. “Experience with rapidly changing technologies, gaming environments, user interfaces, and environmental impact have established a new approach to thinking where ‘how things are supposed to be’ is a changing rather than fixed understanding. More importantly, the ability to act and interact, to synthesize and connect, can radically change an individual’s sense of agency. There is a new assumption about participation. It is not just the expectation to participate that we talk about in convergence culture it is the belief that each person can participate in a meaningful way. Beliefs of agency and competence fuel intrinsic motivation, resilience, and engagement.”

New York-based technology and communications consultant Stowe Boyd noted, “Our society’s concern with the supposed negative impacts of the internet will seem very old-fashioned in a decade, like Socrates bemoaning the downside of written language, or the 1950’s fears about Elvis Presley’s rock-and-roll gyrations. As the internet becomes a part of everything, like electricity has today, we will hardly notice it: it won’t be ‘technology’ anymore, but just ‘the world.’”

Richard Lowenberg, director and broadband planner for the 1 st -Mile Institute, said many complexities lie ahead. “Though young people may or may not be wired differently, there is too much hype associated with such evolutionary changes, and not enough attention paid to the dynamically complex issues that provide context for such generational changes. Major forces that affect how we are ‘wired’—and how we evolve in hopefully healthy ways—include the implications of: family life the health and demosophia [wisdom of the people] of societies technological consumerism as driving influence failing economic infrastructure and understandings which do not account for the necessary balance between competition and cooperation and our largely misdirected educational systems, which do not foster lifelong learning and an ecology of mind. Without positive outcomes in these and more, we will be caught up in the tensions and disruptions of technology-mediated imbalances brought on by greater noise-to-signal among more than 7 billion people worldwide.”

And an anonymous respondent shares a ray of hope: “Today’s internet engineers and developers are about as brilliant as they come it is my opinion that all these different kinds of brilliant minds will fuse the old-fashioned and new-fashioned ways of thinking into one extremely powerful and advanced future generation. I have faith in the ways that educators, innovators, engineers, developers, mentors, etc., will compensate.”


Loyalty Statistics: The Ultimate Collection

Customer brand loyalty is a rich and complex subject to grasp. If you've found this page, you're probably trying to understand it too.

You may be starting at the beginning, trying to define terms like customer loyalty, customer engagement or member engagement.

Or maybe you want to get to the real heart of the matter: how can I get me some of that?

Companies across the world have studied what makes their constituents tick. Through their varied studies, patterns emerge. The best corporate discount programs, association member benefits, white-label rewards programs, and membership perks in general share traits and strategies. Members of different demographic groupings relay the things they want most from the companies they do business with.

Indeed, we have many articles that dive into these findings on our loyalty blog and employee benefits blog.

This page, however, is for the raw data. For your convenience, we've compiled dozens of loyalty statistics - from how many people are active in loyalty programs to what they're looking to get out of them and how they'd like to be communicated with.

We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research with a focus on the US (with the occasional global stat thrown in).

These stats are culled from a variety of sources, and we've provided source links for each of them (though some are gateway pages that require you to register or submit your information to receive the actual research).

Sometimes the data conflict with other sources - we'll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated on a weekly basis with the latest and greatest. If you know of a stat we're missing, or want your own research included in our collection, leave us a note in the comments.


Print vs. Digital: How We Really Consume Our Magazines – 2018 edition

Freeport Press promoted a 10-question survey (identitcal to the 2017 edition) to a variety of magazine readers in the North America – demographics chart below. The survey was open for 3 days in September 2018 and generated 1226 responses. 1141 responses were solicited through Survey Monkey. The rest were in response to a promotion to the Freeport Press Newsletter audience.

When it comes to our magazines, we read more, read longer and subscribe more often to print than digital.

While publishers talk about embracing the digital future of their publications, ordinary people like you and me still prefer to read a good glossy.

These findings come out of an informal survey we conducted of over a thousand North American consumers. We asked fourteen key questions about the type, subscriptions and time with magazines they had read in the past month, to see if we could draw any conclusions. This year we also inquired about website visits, time spent there plus social media.

It appears more people are engaged with their print magazines than their digital ones. Another interesting result was how little magazines are “followed” via social media. Not that content isn’t found in feeds but that many respondents indicated they are not directly following magazine sources via social media.

25.29% of respondents had NOT read a print magazine this past month. 41% have read 1 or 2. 33% have read 3 or more print magazines.

55% of respondents had NOT read a digital magazine this past month (was 59% last year). 28% have read 1 or 2. Only 17% have read 3 or more digital magazines.

43% do not subscribe to print magazines (last year it was 45%). 32% of respondents subscribe to 1-2 print magazines. 25% subscribe to 3 or more (up 2% from last year).

73% do NOT subscribe to any digital magazines (76% last year). 18% subscribe to 1-2 digital magazines. Only 8.5% subscribe to 3 or more.

21% don’t read print magazines. 17% spend up to 10 minutes. 35% spend up to 30 minutes in print. 18% spend up to 60 minutes. 8% spend MORE than 60 minutes!

52% don’t read digital magazines (54% last year). 22% spend up to 10 minutes. 18% spend up to 30 minutes in print. 6% spend up to 60 minutes. 2% spend more than 60 minutes.

42% don’t visit magazine websites (was 46% last year). 10% visit maybe once a year. 23% visit a few times a year. 14% visit a few times a month. 8% visit a few times per week and 2% visit daily.

51% don’t visit magazine websites (was 54% last year). 36% visit 1-2 different magazine websites. 11% visit 3-4 different magazine websites. 3% visit 5 or more different magazine websites.

47% don’t visit magazine websites. 28% who visit spend up to 10 minutes on the site. 20% spend up to 30 minutes on the site. 3.6% spend up to 60 minutes and 1.2% spend more than 60 minutes on the site.

63% don’t follow magazine content on social media (was 72% last year). 19% spend up to 10 minutes with magazine content on social media. 12.5% spend up to 30 minutes, 4% spend up to 60 minutes and 3% spend more than 60 minutes.

As an aside, we left space for people to jot down their own comments, it was not a required field. What we found was telling. 658 of the 1226 respondents took the time to note their preference. Instead of us picking and choosing the comments that promote print we decided to list them in their entirety below. It’s a long list – we’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

To be sure, our survey was not meant to be a scientifically thorough bit of research, but through it, we hoped to better understand today’s readers and what they like. We believe, for magazines, the value of print stands strong.

* Remember 1141 responses were solicited through Survey Monkey out of the 1226 responses. Also, the 85 nonsolicited responses are NOT included in our demographics above.


Voice Search Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • 55% of households are expected to own smart speaker devices by 2022.
  • The voice recognition market will reach $27.16 billion by 2025.
  • Google’s voice assistant is now available on more than 1 billion devices.
  • Siri leads the smartphone voice assistant market share with 45.1% ownership.
  • 80.5% of people aged 18-29 have tried using a voice assistant on their smartphone.
  • Playing music (90%) is the most popular use of smart speakers currently.
  • 45.5% of smart speaker owners have their devices in the bedroom.
  • Voice commerce is expected to jump to $40 billion by 2022.

General Voice Search Stats & Facts

1. The voice recognition market will reach $27.16 billion by 2025.

The voice recognition market growth will explode in the year to come. Estimations show it will grow at 16.8% CAGR from 2020 and 2025, reaching 27.16 billion.

2. 71% of consumers prefer voice search over typing.

7 in 10 consumers would choose voice search over typing. Users mostly use voice search for basic queries like checking the weather, setting a reminder, texting a friend, or putting music on, as voice search stats reveal. Given the rapid adoption and consumers’ preferences, we’re likely to witness a time when typing search queries will become obsolete.

3. Voice word accuracy rates have crossed 90% for most major platforms.

Back in 2011, when Siri was introduced by Apple, or in 2013 when Google introduced its voice-search features, it was common for queries to get misinterpreted, leading to incorrect results. Beginning from levels of between 60 and 80%, word accuracy rates for most major voice-search platforms had risen to well above 90%, as per voice search statistics. This improvement is likely to encourage more people to adopt the technology.

4. Almost 20% of all voice search queries are triggered by just 25 keywords.

Google’s Answer Box—the summary of an answer to a user’s query that is displayed at the top of search results—is the answer that is also provided by Google’s Assistant and the Google Home device. An analysis of these Google voice search answers reveals that over 20% of featured snippets are triggered by a set of 25 words. Google voice search statistics reveal the most frequently occurring terms are How, What, and Best, showing that brands should focus on content that answers queries with informational intent.

5. 32% of smart speaker users have synced the device to their mobile phone.

Over a third of people using smart speakers have synced the device to their mobile phone. Another 23% have reported they have their TVs and smart speakers synced. A stereo system (18%), light (17%), and thermostat (17%) are also among the devices people sync with the smart speakers.

Voice Assistant Statistics

6. The number of users of virtual assistants is expected to reach 1.8 billion in 2021.

Technology improvements have gained voice search a forefront place in the everyday lives of 31% of people. The number of digital virtual assistants will continue to grow at a rapid pace, reaching an estimated 1.8 billion users in 2021.

7. In 2021, 132 million people in the US will use digital virtual assistants once or more times a month.

44.2% of all internet users in the US are using voice search. This equals approximately 128 million people or 38.5% of the population in the US. Voice assistant statistics estimate that this trend will go upward, and 2021 will see 132 million people in the US using voice-based digital assistants at least once a month.

8. For 53.1% of users, the most important quality in a voice assistant is how well it understands when they are speaking.

More than half of users think the most important quality of a voice assistant is how well it understands the speech. For 36.8% it’s important how fast the voice assistant responds and 33.4% consider how much it can do.

9. Google’s voice assistant is now available on more than 1 billion devices.

Voice-activated Google search is now available on devices like Google Home, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, headphones, TVs, watches, and more. Recently, Google Assistant statistics revealed that there are 500 million active monthly users. All these data points toward one incontrovertible fact: Google’s voice-enabled service is getting popular among consumers at a relentless pace.

10. Apple’s Siri counts 1 billion installs monthly active users.

Coming head to head with Google Assistant by the number of installs, Siri is one of the game leaders. Microsoft Cortana and Baidu DuerOS come next with 400+ million installs, each. Amazon Alexa and Samsung Bixby follow with 200+ million and 160+ million installs, respectively.

11. Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant are the market leaders with a 36% market share.

As per voice assistant statistics on the global market, Siri and Google Assistant lead the way each with 36% share across devices. Amazon's Alexa is the third most popular voice search assistant and accounts for 25% of the market, followed by Microsoft’s Cortana with a 19% share.

12. Siri leads the smartphone voice assistant market share with 45.1% of users.

Even though Siri voice search is viewed as less capable than other voice assistants, its long-time presence on iPhone has helped it develop familiarity among users. Siri statistics reveal it accounts for 45.1% of smartphone voice assistant users, the largest relative market share among smartphone voice assistants.

Google Assistant (with 29.9% market share) has made it onto millions of Android devices, but the company still needs to educate users on its availability and capabilities. Meanwhile, Amazon’s voice assistant has garnered an 18.3% share, whereas Samsung Bixby accounts for 6.7% of total smartphone voice assistant users.

13. Between 2018 and 2020, the number of voice assistant users on smartphones rose by 11%.

Smartphone voice assistants offer great convenience which is why their usage grows even faster than the overall smartphone ownership. Over two years, smartphone voice assistant use grew by 11% to 56.4%, and the number of daily active users climbed by 23% in the same period.

14. The average answer match between Google Assistants is 22% across devices.

Every Google voice-activated device runs on similar algorithms and returns the same answers but with different wording. So the answers will differ depending on the device used. Google Home statistics indicate that Home Hub and Android phones have matching results of 66%, whereas Google Home Mini and Android phones have mere 0.33% matching results.

15. The answer length of the answers provided by the voice assistant for local queries is 23 words.

Google Mini and Google Home show the longer-than-the-average length of answers — 41 words. This number is 3.7x higher compared to answers provided by Google Home Hub and Alexa, with an average answer of 11 words, each. The average answer that Siri yields contains 15 words.

16. Voice assistants can’t answer on average 6.3% of the questions across all devices.

This is quite an improvement from only a few years ago when the average number of unanswered queries was 35%. Of all voice assistants analyzed, Alexa struggled to answer 23% of the queries. Google Home Hub had 5% unanswered queries, whereas Google Home Mini, and Google Home had 3% each.

Smart Speaker Statistics

17. 55% of households are expected to own smart speaker devices by 2022.

This massive jump in the use of voice search products from 13% today is likely to be driven mainly by three tech behemoths: Amazon Echo (10% US penetration), Google Home (4%), and Microsoft Cortana (2%).

Despite Siri being the first popular voice assistant, Apple is trailing behind in this race right now. Amazon has a particularly strong hold over the market, with businesses depending on its “Choice” status for success, as well as 85% of customers relying on Amazon’s suggestions and a vast majority of orders in areas like grocery being made on the platform, as per Amazon Echo statistics.

18. 87.7 million adults in the US are using smart speakers.

The smart speaker installed user base grows at a rapid pace, noting a 34.4% adoption rate. Now, close to 90 million US adults are using smart speakers, up by 32% from 2019 and a whopping 85% from 2018.

19. 68% of smart speaker users use them to listen to the news.

Seeking information on news, weather, recipes, appointments, relationships are what people use most with their smart speakers. This is followed by chatting with the voice assistant for fun (68%) and setting alarms or timers (68%), as voice search trends reveal.

20. Playing music (90%) is the most popular use of smart speakers currently.

The next two most popular uses are searching for weather information (81%) and search for factual information (75%). The functionality evolution of smart speakers is expected to reflect that of the iPod, which was used mainly for music initially but evolved to play media and answer queries in time. As artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning are developing, and businesses embrace the technology to meet consumer needs, the sophistication of functionality will evolve among smart speakers as well, reflecting the trends shown by Apple Siri statistics.

21. 45.5% of smart speaker owners have their devices in the bedroom.

The number rose by 8% from 2019 when 37.6% of smart speaker owners had their voice-enabled device placed in the bedroom. Voice search statistics indicate that consumers that have the smart speaker in the bedroom are more likely to be heavy users. They are 21-25% more likely to listen to streaming music, podcast, and radio, and 27% more likely to listen to the news daily.

22. With 43.2%, the living room is another place where smart speakers are often placed.

Smart speaker statistics reveal the living room is the second most likely place for consumers to have their smart speakers. The kitchen follows with 41.5%. 13.6% of smart speaker owners have placed the voice-activated device in the bathroom, 11.6% in the home office, 5.8% in the dining room, and 5.5% in the garage.

23. 82% of smart speaker owners find their intelligent assistants to be useful.

The longer people use smart speaker devices, the more useful they find them to be, which is in contrast to some other tech fads like activity trackers in which users lose interest after a few months. Based on smart speaker statistics, 65% of owners use their intelligent assistants more than four times a week. 81% of smart speaker owners agree or strongly agree that their devices meet their expectations.

24. 53% of smart speaker owners say it feels natural talking to voice-activated devices.

41% of smart speaker owners even admit that talking to these devices feels like talking to a friend or another person. This bodes well for the wider adoption of voice-enabled devices and indicates that the potential of increasing utility is high. More voice search statistics from the survey indicate that 51% of 55+ smart speaker owners say that the top reason for using these devices is that they empower the owners by providing instant answers and information.

Voice Search Usage Statistics

25. 61% of consumers use voice search when their hands or vision is occupied.

The ability to get information when typing is not an option is the primary reason why consumers use voice search. This could include instances like driving, watching over children, cooking, doing household chores, etc. Stats in voice search indicate that other important reasons include faster results (30%), difficulty typing on certain devices (24%), the element of fun (22%), and avoidance of confusing menus (12%).

26. 38% of US consumers are using voice assistants when relaxing at home.

Nearly 40% of US consumers reported using voice search when relaxing at home. Another 21% are using voice search when walking, 20% when at work, and 17% when in bed.

27. 52% of users said they are using voice-enabled tech a few times a day or nearly every day.

As much as 77% of US adults have reported their daily routine changed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 52% of users started using their voice-enabled devices several times a day or nearly every day compared to 46% before the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, voice search user statistics show that 36% of US adults and 52% of 18-34-year olds started using their smart speakers more to listen and entertain. Similarly, 35% of the US adults and 50% of smart speaker users aged 18-34 used the devices more to listen to the news.

28. By 2022, 73% of consumers on average will use voice assistants in cars.

Voice assistants enable consumers that drive to book an appointment without taking their eyes off the road. Currently, 49% of drivers are using voice assistants in cars and this number is projected to grow to 73%. Voice assistant statistics estimate that 85% of consumers will use the digital virtual assistants to play music or check directions, 78% will be integrating at-home voice systems, 74% will be booking a service appointment, and 72% will be placing an order.

29. Over half of users want their voice assistants to be personalized.

56% of users would like to personalize their voice assistant, while 63% want the voice assistant to understand their personality and adapt accordingly. 60% want to give it a name and another 58% define its personality to make them more personal.

30. 3 in 5 users prefer having one integrated voice-based service in their car, home, and mobile device.

53% of people use their in-car voice assistants because they have more versatile functions compared to those at home. However, 62% of consumers would like to use an integrated voice service across their car, home, and mobile.

31. The most common setting for voice-assisted search is people’s homes (43%).

This is followed by 36% for their cars and 19% for on-the-go. Voice search statistics show that the most compelling use case for voice-assisted search is in a hands-free environment, allowing users to multitask. As such, there is likely to be increasing demand for more home-based devices and apps, similar to Amazon Echo, but also enabling other connected home appliances and devices by voice.

32. About 45% of US adults would like their favorite apps to offer voice interactive features.

Voicebot’s survey reveals that 45% of adults based in the US would like “very much” or think “it would be nice” if the mobile apps they use the most offer voice-based features. Only 7.1% are not interested in this feature, 17.8% are leaning against it, and 30% of the respondents said they are unsure, as voice search user stats reveal.

33. 71% of wearable device owners believe they’ll be performing more voice searches in the future.

Among four categories of devices—smartphones, tablets, speakers, and wearable devices—it’s the owners of wearable devices who seem most optimistic about higher use of voice searches on their devices. Tablet and speaker owners follow closely behind with 64% and 63% of owners expecting more use for voice search features.

Voice Search Demographics

34. The majority of smart speaker owners in the US are in the 18-36 age group.

About 41% of smart speaker owners are millennials or younger, 34% are from the Gen X group (37 to 52), and only 17.6% are 53 or older. Voice search statistics also show that teenagers are more likely to use mobile search assistants than adults are.

For many of the users in the youngest age group, by the time they began using smartphones, Apple’s digital assistant Siri had already made its appearance, voice search a much more natural technology than for older users who are generally slower to make the transition from conventional search.

35. 51.3% of consumers in the 30-44 age group speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once every day.

With minor variations, most voice search trends indicate that younger users are more likely to be frequent users of voice search features on their devices. 30 to 44-year-olds are followed closely by 60-year-olds in terms of usage frequency. However, the 60+ demographic is credited with helping to drive early adoption of the technology.

36. 61% of 25 to 64-year-olds say they will use their voice devices more in the future.

According to this survey, the older users may have been slow to transition to voice technology, but many of them are interested in increasing their use to bring them at par with their younger peers. The corresponding figure for the 18-to-24-year-old cohort is 57%.

37. 80.5% of people aged 18-29 have tried using a voice assistant on their smartphone at least once.

According to voice search stats, over 80% of people aged 18-29 have given it a go. Additionally, 74.7% of consumers in the 30-44 age bracket have tried voice assistants on smartphones, whereas the 40-60 age group has a 68.8% rate of voice assistant trial. Surprisingly, over 60% of the 60+ demographics have also tried voice-enabled assistants on smartphones.

38. Siri adoption on smartphones is highest among the 60+ demographic.

There's an age-related preference when it comes to choosing voice assistants on smartphones. 47.3% of the 60+ demographic has adopted Siri, whereas only 19.1% are using Google Assistant. Google Assistant, on the other hand, has the strongest adoption rate among the 30-44 age group — 31.8%.

39. Amazon is the prevalent brand of smart speakers among 70.4% of 60+ consumers.

The 60+ and 45-60 age groups are the largest Amazon Echo demographics. The state is similar to the 45-60 age group where Amazon dominates with 65.2% ownership. Younger consumers are also leaning toward Amazon smart speakers. 55.8% of 18-29-year olds and 53.6% of 30-44-year olds are owning one. However, the 30-44 age group has the highest rate of Google Home devices — 31.7%.

40. In addition to age, the main variables that drive smart speaker ownership are income and gender.

More than half (58%) of smart speaker owners in the US make over $75,000/yr and 60% are men (vs. only 38% of non-owners). More than half of smart speaker owners have a bachelor’s degree or higher, but this probably correlates with higher incomes rather than education itself being a driver for adoption. Smart speaker statistics confirm that people with more disposable income are more likely to spend money on gadgets like smart speakers. The same goes for men, particularly young men, who are the most likely to be early adopters of new technology.

Voice Commerce Statistics

41. Voice commerce is expected to jump to $40 billion by 2022.

The voice shopping market was worth just about $2 billion in 2018, but it is expected to become the next major disruptive force in retail because of the strong penetration smart household speakers see across the world.

As voice search facts show, the most commonly shopped categories via voice-activated search are grocery (20%), entertainment (19%), electronics (17%), and apparel (8%). However, to drive additional spending, more apps within the voice shopping category and better personalization are required. Within this same period, the voice commerce market in the UK is predicted to be worth $5 billion.

42. 11.5% of smart speaker owners in the US make purchases by voice every month.

Voice shopping by smart speakers has already become a monthly habit for one in nine smart speaker owners in the US. Voice search usage statistics reveal 47.3 million US adults have access to smart speakers. With 11.5% of them claiming to use these devices for purchases at least once a month, 5.44 million US adults have transitioned to making voice-enabled purchases regularly.

43. The number of people who make purchases using a smart speaker will jump to 23.5 million in 2021.

Emarketer estimates that 23.5 million people will have purchased smart speakers by the end of 2021. Voice search trends show faster adoption of voice-enabled tech for shopping, although buyers are still concerned about payment security and privacy.

44. 65% of smart speaker owners say they are comfortable making purchases with a smart speaker.

Shopping, which voice search stats show as being the third most popular activity involving smart speakers currently, is likely to involve building shopping lists in many cases rather than actual shopping. But 12% of smart speaker owners said that they have also shopped using their devices, pointing toward the strong potential of voice-enabled technology for ecommerce platforms soon.

45. Up to 43% of voice-enabled device owners use their devices to shop.

Consumers across age groups are using voice searches on their devices to assist with making purchases—a 41% increase in 2018 alone. Interestingly, the use of voice-enabled devices for shopping is most prevalent (43%) in the 45-60 age group, followed by 38% in the 30-44 age group. Voice assistant user demographics reveal 15% of under-30 users engage in shopping through voice, as do 4% of users in the 60-plus age group.

46. Product research is the most common shopping-related activity performed through voice search.

The highest percentage of voice searches related to shopping, accounting for 51% of users, is done to research products. The other shopping-related activities performed using voice are adding items to shopping lists (36%), tracking a package (30%), making a purchase (22%), providing ratings or reviews (20%), contacting support (18%), and reordering items (17%).

47. 52% of smart speaker owners are interested in receiving info about deals, sales, and promotions from brands.

This and other insights from a Google survey show that smart speakers can prove a novel way for brands to engage with their customers. For instance, smart speaker statistics reveal 48% of owners would like to receive personalized tips and information from brands, and 42% would like to receive info about upcoming events or activities from brands. Incorporate these insights into your marketing analytics software, and the chances of running unsuccessful marketing campaigns are almost non-existent.

48. 76% of smart speaker users perform local voice searches at least weekly.

53% of smart speaker owners use voice-activated search to look for information on local businesses daily. A substantial percentage of consumers also use voice search for local businesses on their smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Because of their convenience for on-the-go customers, voice search services are often used to research and locate local businesses.

49. 51% of consumers use voice search to research restaurants.

While restaurants are the most commonly voice-searched business, voice search statistics show that consumers make use of voice search to find information on a large variety of businesses. These include grocery stores (41%), food delivery services (35%), doctors (28%), veterinarians (19%), and childcare facilities (11%).

50. 28% of consumers go on to call the business they voice searched for.

This is the most common action following a voice search since it allows consumers to continue interacting with brands via their voices. Other common follow-up actions include visiting the business’s website (27%), visiting its location (19%), conducting more research on the business (14%), and conducting more research into other businesses (12%), as per voice search stats.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of search is voice?

The latest data from three years ago indicates that 27% of all mobile searches are voice-activated. We have to assume that this number is significantly higher by now, especially considering the rapid voice search growth.

Who uses voice search?

As much as 44.2% of internet users in the US are using voice search. It is estimated that by the end of 2021, 132 million people will be using voice-enabled devices once or several times a month.

Why do people use voice search?

Voice search statistics indicate that over 60% of people are using voice search to perform searches when their hands or vision is occupied. Such instances include driving, cooking, doing chores, and more. 72% of people using voice-activated devices said they have become part of their everyday routine. They are using them to check commute times, set alarms, search for the weather, search for the news, and more.

How voice search is changing SEO?

People interact differently when searching queries vocally than textually. Voice searches are longer, conversational, and usually in the form of a question. Additionally, Google voice search statistics reveal that nearly 60% of voice search queries have local intent, making local SEO more important than ever.

How to optimize for voice search?

Whether you’ll be hiring an SEO specialist or doing everything in-house, you should know the top voice search marketing tactics. Using natural language with concise answers to voice search queries, targeting long-tail keywords, using schema markup, and leveraging Google My Business listing are the pillars of voice search optimization.

What is the most popular voice assistant?

Voice search statistics indicate that Siri is the most popular voice assistant. It holds 36% of the voice assistant market across devices and accounts for 45.1% of smartphone voice assistant users.


The top 100 brands for millennials

Ad agency Moosylvania asked over 3,500 millennials — defined as 20 to 35-year-olds — to select their favorite brands over the past three years.

Recommended

Great Questions, LLC helped rank the winning brands.

These brands are the ones that came out on top.

Some are surprising — others, not so much.

A common theme for successful brands? Engaging with millennial consumers via social media.

Headquarters: Ingolstadt, Germany

Place on last poll: Not applicable (*Note: Moosylvania's previous poll from spring 2015 only contained the top 50 brands for millennials.)

Why it's hot: Audi used a mobile app to connect with its users during the 2015 Audi Cup, allowing users to be parts of the experience.

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Subaru's Winterfest integrated an entire winter culture to go with the brand. It gave Subaru owners perks such as free snowboarding clinics — and more. This helped the brand develop a different kind of image — one with the outdoors and adventure — which can be appealing to millennials.

Headquarters: Vevey, Switzerland

Place last poll: 34

Why it's hot: Nestle's Nescafe created "social art" in Croatia by placing its red mugs all over the city. This, Moosylvania says, appealed to millennials. Nestle also manufactures many popular candies.

97. Johnson & Johnson

Headquarters: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: The "ACUVUE 1-DAY Contest" allowed users to meet with popular celebrities and receive a brief mentorship. This has helped the brand cater to millennials, and not just be known as a producer of baby powder.

Recommended

96. DC Shoes

Headquarters: Huntington Beach California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: DC Shoes is about cultivating a skateboarding lifestyle. Additionally, the brand engaged its audience by with its #TraseYours campaign, wherein the Talenthouse community of artists were able to design shoes for chances to win cash prizes. Better yet, the winning design had the chance of being produced by DC Shoes.

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: The Carter's website proves that the brand has nailed ecommerce. In fact, the brand has mastered social media. Therefore, Moosylvania found that it's very appealing to millennial parents who want to share photos of their babies (wearing Carter's apparel, no less) with its hashtag#lovecarters. Carter's features those photos of adorable tykes on its website, too.

94. Calvin Klein

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Calvin Klein utilizes popular celebrities for its campaign. It also is savvy when it comes to the social sharing culture — its #MyCalvins campaign has successfully capitalized on that.

Headquarters: Unilever N.V. Rotterdam, Netherlands

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Axe's #KissForPeace campaign — and its corresponding ad— were right in line with Axe's signature tone. It also engaged Axe's consumers with the nonprofit organization, Peace One Day, and millennials love when a company supports a cause.

Headquarters: Milford, Connecticut

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Subway has long reigned supreme when it healthy fast food, but recently, Chipotle has dethroned the chain. The chain lost a lot of clout when Jared Fogle, the brand's former spokesperson, was associated with child pornography.

Headquarters: Auburn Hills, MI

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Jeep engaged with its consumers with its Endless Jeep Summercampaign, wherein Jeep owners submitted videos to Vine and Instagram.

90. Anthropologie

Headquarters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Anthropologie is Urban Outfitter's finely curated and refined sister brand, so it makes sense that the brand chose to engage with its consumers via Pinterest, the social channel that's all about curation, with its #PintoWin contest.

Headquarters: Lakeland, Florida

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Publix's app has simplified shopping. An easier shopping experience is more crucial than ever, given the rise of grocery delivery services.

88. General Mills

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: General Mills' Fiber One brand has been nailing its marketing, with its funny ads, and its socially-driven contest like #FiberOneCheesecake, which gave users the opportunity to win cheesecake for an entire year.

Headquarters: Bristol, Connecticut

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: ESPN's Fantasy Football app engaged consumers and helped the network bring a popular past time into the next generation.

Headquarters: Taipei, Taiwain

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Acer's tablets work in tandem with billboards, which allows consumers to interact with brands on a whole new level.

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: 47

Why it's hot: One of Wendy's recent marketing campaigns was ultra-focused on millennials, with the young "Red" character in commercials and new items like pretzel cheeseburgers. Wendy's has always emphasized being fresher than competitors, making every burger to-order and not freezing beef. In the era of Chipotle, this message resonates with millennials.

84. Trader Joe's

Headquarters: Monrovia, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Millennials love Trader Joe's. Organic food, unique products, and low prices make it a hot destination for millennials. It also boasts its own unique personality — be it the Hawaiian shirts or the pun-laden signs around the stores.

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Times have been tough for preppy mainstay J. Crew, as it appeared to stray from its roots with odd selections. But afall collection and the spring/summer 2016lineup looked generally promising. The brand continues to connect with millennial women, largely in part due to its Creative Director, Jenna Lyons. J. Crew's "Very Personal Styling" also appeals to millennials, as does its somewhat-affordable wedding apparel.

Headquarters: Florence, Italy

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Gucci engaged with millennial consumers with a campaign surrounding its classic loafer. The campaign included quizzes, a Pinterest board, and a #Gucci1953HorsebitLoafter hashtag, cementing the luxury brand as a participant in the social community with its own voice.

Headquarters: Issaquah, Washington

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Now that Costco has partnered with Google, it can serve cash-strapped millennials in urban cities who want to buy things in bulk, but perhaps don't have the transportation to do so. It already boasts many great deals.

Headquarters: Warrendale, Pennsylvania

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: The brand has figured out a way to pull in shoppers. When rue21 launched its new ecommerce site, it held a "Shop & Win" contest. The contest involved a social sharing aspect as well as the promise of winning clothing.

Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: While Puma lags in comparison to competitors Nike and Adidas, it still has managed to engage a young audience — especially with its "Dance Dictionary" feature. Fortunately, Rihanna's involvement with the brand is helping it tremendously.

78. Playstation

Headquarters: San Mateo, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Playstation has managed to take gaming to the next level with its Infamous: Second Son game — it features a character with the power to shock others, and yes, players can get shocked.

77. Nordstrom

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Nordstrom is the department store that's managing to defy the odds. It recently announced plan to expand its lower-priced concept, Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom managed to capture and hold onto a young audience by adding Reddit to its social media roster.

Headquarters: Yokohama, Kanagawa Perfecture, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Nissan's "Open The Briefcase" campaign last year cemented it as a car company that's fully engaged with its consumers, as it was orchestrated via mobile devices.

Headquarters: Auburn Hills, Michigan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: When Dodge partnered with "Anchorman" to produce an ad featuring the comically legendary Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), it cemented itself as a brand that communicated on the same level as many pop-culturally savvy millennials.

Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Toshiba partnered up with Intel and San Francisco ad agency Peira & O'Dell for its "Beauty Inside" campaign — a piece of branded content that featured six episodes about a character named Alex, who woke up as a different person everyday (including both celebrities. and regular people).

Headquarters: Paris, France

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Sephora is the premiere destination for all things beauty. Its points and rewards system encourages brand loyalty consumers keep coming back to obtain points to earn new products. Sephora's app, Beauty Insider, features "Beauty Boards," which allow shoppers to show off their best new looks. It also serves an inspiration board, in the same vein as Pinterest.

Headquarters: Los Gatos, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: There's a reason people say "Netflix and chill" and not "cable and chill!" Netflix's original series such as "Orange Is The New Black" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" have turned it into a very influential vehicle in pop culture. It also partnered with popular site Gawker for a documentary club, wherein viewers were able to discuss a weekly program with other people.

71. JCPenney

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Place on last poll: 18

Why it's hot: JCPenney has been working to execute a turnaround by focusing on engaging consumers, like with its interactive charity game during the Oscars. JCPenney recently starting incorporating Sephora units into its larger stores.

70. Banana Republic

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Banana Republic partnered with the funny Instagram account #HotDudesReading — promoting First Book, a literacy program for children (and millennials love things with a good cause). Recently, Banana Republic has faced some troubles with fashion missteps and slipping sales.

Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington

Place last poll: 24

Why it's hot: The video-game development company rose to prominence with its Half-Life franchise in 1998. The brand has a huge following on Facebook and frequently posts giveaways. Steam has also become the premiere gaming platform for many people.

68. Pizza Hut

Headquarters: Wichita, Kansas

Place last year: 21

Why it's hot: Pizza Hut tested out movie-projector boxes in Hong Kong, proving that the brand is always looking to innovate. Pizza Huts wacky pizzas, like its Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza, certainly set sparks of intrigue (and maybe disgust) flying throughout social media and the Internet.

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Marvel is obviously a huge power force in pop culture — its "Avengers" movies (amongst others) are smash hits, grossing billions of dollars worldwide. Marvel knows its movies generate tremendous hype, so it kept its "Avengers: Age of Ultron" trailer 'locked' until fans tweeted enough. Moosylvania notes that Marvel received an outrageous amount of tweets — an average of 8,100 tweets a minute worldwide — so it was obviously a successful campaign.

66. Michael Kors

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Michael Kors bags and watches are very popular with millennials, although a recent rise in ubiquity (along with rapid expansion) has threatened the brand's level of luxury. It may be too popular for its own good. Still, Moosylvania praises the brand for its memorable 2013 campaign,#WhatsInYourKors, which cemented the brand's social voice.

65. Facebook

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Facebook is a primary vehicle for millennial communication. The "Look Back" campaign and the recent "memories" feature cater to millennials' love for nostalgia — and better yet, they're both focused on social sharing.

64. Bath & Body Works

Headquarters: Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Bath & Body works was an icon in the late '90s and early aughts (and a mainstay for holiday gifts). Bath & Body Works capitalized on millennials' love for nostalgia by throwing back to its iconic older fragrances, such as Cucumber Melon and Juniper Breeze with its#FlashbackFragrance campaign.

63. Barnes & Noble

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Yes, these kids still read! And Barnes & Noble knows that. Barnes & Noble also capitalized on social media with its #BNGiftTip campaign, which helped consumers figure out what sort of items to buy for presents via the Internet.

Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: AT&T had its own mini-series on Snapchat called "Snapperhero" — and millennials love Snapchat. AT&T has encouraged its users to submit their own content for the campaign, too. Ultimately, all of it was shared on various social networks. AT&T proved it could communicate on the same level that millennials communicate on. AT&T also remains a popular phone service.

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: 27

Why it's hot: Verizon is continuing to dominate the mobile space. The company also recently purchased AOL, showing it is interested in producing more content. The company has recently endeared millennials by making its data plan cheaper. The brand also had a campaign that encouraged young people to create mobile apps.

60. Mountain Dew

Headquarters: Purchase, New York

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Mountain Dew has capitalized on the way many millennials communicate — via Snapchat. It announced its new flavors via the social media service. The brand also told a live story via Snapchat when it launched its new Kickstar beverage, causing Fast Company to sing its praises. "Mountain Dew is a brand that is constantly engaging with young consumers," the website wrote.

Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Kroger's loyalty cards track what shoppers buy — so that Kroger's shoppers don't just receive random rewards, but rather, rewards that cater to their specific shopping needs. Kroger has been taking many steps to advance its in-store (and delivery) technology.

Headquarters: Northfield, Illinois

Place on last poll: 40

Why it's hot: Kraft scored big points with millennials this year when it announced that starting in 2016, its original Macaroni & Cheese will get its color from natural spices like paprika instead of from artificial additives Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Kraft's latest ads have also appealed to millennials, Moosylvania explains, since they look more like GIFs — something millennials love.

57. Gamestop

Headquarters: Grapevine, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: GameStop knows how to cater to its customers. It uses mobile data to help it figure out which games to stock in particular regions. GameStop has avoided the fate of becoming the next ill-fated Blockbuster, by stocking more than just games, featuring downloadable content, and making GameStop not just a store, but a social destination for game-loving shoppers.

56. Chipotle

Headquarters: Denver, Colorado

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: It's no secret — millennials are obsessed with fast casual behemoth Chipotle. Its focus on eliminating GMOs and sustainable ingredients has helped it unseat Subway as the ultimate healthy place to eat. The company is also quirky — Moosylvania points to its haiku contest, wherein consumers could write love haikus to their beloved burritos for the chances to win prizes.

55. Chick-fil-A

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Place on last poll:

Why it's hot: Chick-fil-A has a cult following, no doubt. Its zealots showed their devotion when they had the opportunity todress like cows to win free food. Chick-fil-A remains a favorite destination for millennialsbecause the food is fresh. and good.

54. Whole Foods

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Place on last poll:

Why it's hot: Whole Foods is known for selling fresh, organic food, and for suggesting healthy recipes to consumers. It has engaged consumers on its social networks by encouraging them to share their own food photos.

Headquarters: San Jose, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Even though reselling clothes is becoming the hottest new thing in retail — and many startups are aiming to disrupt the space — eBay remains the primary place for reselling items on the Internet. eBay has also showed off its cultural colors when it suggested that artists use the hashtag #eBayArtforAll to share their own personal inspirations.

Headquarters: Taipei, Taiwan

Place on last poll: 50

Why it's hot: This Taiwanese company is a huge PC vendor. The brand is making headlines for its inexpensive Android smartphone and ZenWatch. The brand also plays on popular memes (for example, birds with arms), and has optimized its Internet friendly content, including games and videos. But as more consumers turn to Android, Asus could be challenged.

51. Taco Bell

Headquarters: Irvine, California

Place on last poll: Taco Bell

Why it's hot: Taco Bell remains wildly popular. It's #breakfastdefects campaign helped the brand create its own unique, Internet-friendly culture surrounding its breakfast lineup. Taco Bell also rewards fans by giving away free food with occasional contests.

50. Dr. Pepper

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Dr. Pepper not only has a cult following, but it also has taken steps to lure in millennial consumers. It partnered with Spike TV's popular show, "Lip Sync Battle" to set up a lip sync booth in Times Square. Some people were selected to have their videos air on the television show.

Headquarters: Rotterdam, Netherlands

Place last year: 26

Why it's hot: Dove, which is owned by Unilever, has been succeeding with its "real beauty" campaigns, which emphasizes natural looks over the typically airbrushed ads, resonate well with millennials. The brand's "Self Esteem" Snapchat campaign, in which girls could Snapchat their insecurities and receive a positive response, highlighted the brand's ethos.

Headquarters: Xindian District, New Taipei, Taiwan

Place on last poll:

Why it's hot: HTC made its consumers stars in Times Square — the company encouraged consumers to share their most gorgeous photos for a chance to be shared on a massive billboard in the iconic New York City enclave.

47. Hershey's

Headquarters: Hershey, Pennsylvania

Plac last poll: 37

Why it's hot: Hershey's has dropped artificial colorings from its chocolate. "We are committed to making our products using ingredients that are simple and easy-to-understand, like fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar – ingredients you recognize, know and trust," the company said in a news release.

Headquarters: Munich, Germany

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: BMW served as an official sponsor of the United States Olympics team in 2014, and the automobile company sponsored social campaigns with incentives for consumers, like its #BMWborntoslide campaign, wherein consumers who photographed themselves sliding could a win a trip to Utah to ride in a real bobsled.

45. Ralph Lauren

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: 30

Why it's hot: Ralph Lauren's brand is available at more than 11,000 stores worldwide. The brand has become more active on social media and hired Sports Illustrated cover model Hannah Davis to model its resort collection. The brand also encouraged consumers to be a part of its "Project Warehouse" campaign last year, which Moosylvania says created an emotional connection between the brand and its consumers.

44. Kellogg's

Headquarters: Battle Creek, Michigan

Place on last poll: 39

Why it's hot: Cereal sales might be declining, but the company has mastered digital campaigns, which certainly appeals to millennials.

Headquarters: New York, NY

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Coach's social media activity and campaigns have made the luxury brand accessible to younger shoppers who don't have as much money. But, Coach's ubiquity and accessibility have hurt the brand's reputation as a luxury retailer, so the brand has been focusing on toning down its promotions to help it become more exclusive again.

Headquarters: Hamamatsu, Japan

Place on last poll: 31

Why it's hot: Honda's fuel-efficient, compact cars appeal to millennials. But most importantly, the company's YouTube campaigns for Honda Fit excited millennials. Honda has partnered with major companies such as iHeartRadio, Live Nation, and REVOLT for its YouTube channel.

41. Chevrolet

Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan

Place on last poll: 23

Why it's hot: Chevy's compact, Trax SUV is a hit with urban millennials. The brand's emoji-themed campaigns also appeal to millennials, who communicate that way.

40. Best Buy

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Place on last poll: 28

Why it's hot: Best Buy has been successfully growing sales and revenue through its television business. Executives at Best Buy have made it clear that 4K Ultra High Definition televisions are the future of the business. Last year, the brand appealed to consumers during the holiday season by encouraging them to post what they wanted online with a #hintingseason hashtag.

Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Place on last poll: 16

Why it's hot: Millennials are spending less money on clothes, which is bad news for Macy's. In order to attract younger shoppers, the brand has been investing in trendier clothing lines and other categories like home goods and cosmetics. But Macy's has been also focusing on its social campaign, like its #MacysLoveMoms. For every photo memory or tweet shared, the company donated $3 to a charity.

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Express rewards shoppers by not just using their store credit cards, but by getting involved with Express in other ways, too — like retweeting its tweets and singing up for its text message alerts. For every 2,500 points, shoppers earn $10. This helps Express ensure customer loyalty.

37. Aeropostale

Headquarters: New York, New York

Place on last poll: 46

Why it's hot: Despite falling out of favorwith the teen set, Aeropostale still maintains some loyalty with the 20-somethings who wore it in high school. The brand's status, however, is falling fast as young people increasingly move away from logos. The brand has appealed to millennials by incorporating YouTube personality Bethany Mota into its marketing and fashion plans.

36. Hewlett-Packard

Headquarters: Palo Alto, California

Place on last poll: 35

Why it's hot: Young consumers love Hewlett-Packard's relatively inexpensive laptops. Still, they remained threatened by Apple's dominance in the industry.

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Although Gap's "Dress Normal" campaign generally misfired, it succeeded on some points. Moosylvania points to tis "Play Your Stripes" game in collaboration with Blood Orange, where people could 'play' the stripes on their clothes to create music.

34. Frito Lay

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Lay's won big with its Do Us A Flavor contest. People who shared their digitally designed flavors online were eligible to win bags of their designed chips — and some even got to have their flavors nationally produced. (Business Insider went ahead andtested some of these wacky flavors).

Headquarters: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Toyota has teamed up with YouTube stars like Rhett & Link for campaigns, proving it knows how to cater to its audiences. Moosylvania also highlights its 2014 #CarsThatFeel campaign, which incorporated LED lights into Priuses for the 2014 Vivid Light Festival in Sydney Harbor. The cars had 'personalities' and 'feelings' and interacted with people, which is certainly intriguing.

32. McDonald's

Headquarters: Oak Brook, Illinois

Place on last poll: 17

Why it's hot: The brand has been introducing more fresh ingredients and customizable burgers to compete with fast casual brands. It's#PayWithLovin campaign also appealed to millennials.

Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: H&M knows what its consumers want. Moosylvania points to the racy campaign where shoppers could choose how David Beckham would appear in one of its ads — with or without clothes (he was wearing briefs, of course!). H&M has also managed to lure many sartorially minded shoppers with its high-profile collaborations.

30. Under Armour

Headquarters: Baltimore, Maryland

Place on last poll: 45

Why it's hot: Under Armour has exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to signing famous athletes like Stephen Curry and smart marketing of its performance-wear. The brand is rapidly catching up to competitors Lululemon and Nike, especially as it incorporates more technologically-focused apparel into its lineup.

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Levi's has benefited from young consumers' tendency to wear denim and casual clothing to work. But now, many millennials are abandoning denim entirely, choosing to wear athletic attire instead. To combat this problem, Levi's has beendesigning jeans that are stretchy and more form-fitting in nature, to put them in line with athleisure-style apparel.

Headquarters: Round Rock, Texas

Place last poll: 15

Why it's hot: Dell is another company benefiting from millennials' reliance on technology. The company's laptop and desktop computers are especially popular with the young set. But most crucially, Moosylvania explains that Dell really appealed to millennials by sending YouTube celebrities Smosh on a road trip, chronicling it all with a Dell Venue 8 Tablet.

Headquarters: Cypress, California

Place on last poll: 25

Why it's hot: Vans started out selling skater shoes, but has since gone mainstream. The company has benefited from athletic footwear becoming more fashionable than dress shoes.

26. Hollister

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Hollister signifies a beachy lifestyle. The company owned that attitude by renting a beach house in California in summer 2014, tapping top artists to perform. The brand had stylists give consumers advice online, too. The brand proved that it was in touch with its consumers favorite celebrities while also engaging in a conversation with its shoppers.

25. Victoria's Secret

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

Place on last poll: 38

Why it's hot: Victoria's Secret is the undisputed leader of the lingerie market, controlling 35% of share. The company's marketing strategy, which includes its famous Angels, is seen as one of the best in the business.

Headquarters: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Kohl's rewards program ensures customer loyalty without needing a store credit card. In fact, customers can earn points by doing the simplest activity such as pinning images on Pinterest. Kohl's lower prices can also lure millennials.

23. Old Navy

Headquarters: San Francisco

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Old Navy's digital campaigns have been massive hits — Moosylvania points to its 2014 Christmastime Vine campaign, but the company's "#Unlimited"viral video, which has over 12 million views on YouTube. The company has also delivered quirky spots starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Old Navy understands how to market content to the Internet generation.

22. Hot Topic

Headquarters: Industry, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Hot Topic is more than just a destination for clothing for millennials — it's become an entire lifestyle, with its focus on the music industry and pop culture. The store even sponsors shows.

Headquarters: Burbank, California

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: Moosylvania points out Disney's unique campaign "Disney Side," wherein shoppers would walk by a billboard a the Westfield Sunrise Center in Massapequa and see iconic Disney characters. This was a huge social media hit.

20. LG Corporation

Headquarters: Busan, South Korea

Place on last poll: 48

Why it's hot: LG's funny #MomConfessions campaign proved the LG knew how to cater to millennials — through humor and social media.

Headquarters: Dearborn, Michigan

Place on last poll: 19

Why it's hot: Ford is repositioning its brand to seem more luxury and compete with auto-makers like BMW and Mercedes with the launch of the new Vignale brand. The new line of compact sedans could resonate with millennials, who prefer smaller cars then their parents'. Ford has also embraced social media with Instagram contests.

18. Converse

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts

Place on last poll: 20

Why it's hot: Converse has seen sales boom as more millennials wear sneakers to work and other occasions. Athletic apparel and footwear is set to outperform the industry for the next five years, according to Morgan Stanley. Converse's "Made By You" campaign allowed consumers to show off their unique attributes and lives — using Converse as a vehicle for it all.

17. American Eagle​

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Place on last poll: N/A

Why it's hot: American Eagle has managed to avoid the fate of many of its competitors by not falling victim to the low sale prices utilized by many fast fashion stalwarts. Most crucially, American Eagle has won the heart of millennial females with Aerie, its lingerie subset, which proudly boasts Photoshop-free ads. Since nixing Photoshop, sales have soared.

16. Starbucks

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Place on last poll: 22

Why it's hot: Starbucks has been expanding its menu to include more food options such as sandwiches and salads — and even wine at some locations. It has also added drive-thrus to many locations. Additionally, it allows consumers to have a say in its products — like when it had consumers vote on new frappuccino flavors in the summer, granting the winning beverage a lower price, Moosylvania notes.

Headquarters: Purchase, New York

Place on last poll: 10

Why it's hot: PepsiCo has introduced a beverage sweetened with natural sweetener Stevia called Pepsi True. The company says the new product "will continue to provide consumers with the crisp, refreshing zero-calorie cola taste they expect from Pepsi." It also removed artificial ingredient aspartame from Diet Pepsi. The brand's 2014 YouTube hit, "Unbelievable," was a smash with viewers, garnering over 7 million hits.

Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon

Place on last poll: 9

Why it's hot: Many of Nike's Jordan brand sneakers are prominent on the billion-dollar reselling market. A growing culture of so-called sneakerheads buy collectible footwear on eBay, Craigslist, and other sites. Jordan's "We Are Jordan" campaign had an interactive element, too.

Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Place on last poll: 14

Why it's hot: Adidas is going to start offering customized shoes to appeal to millennials. It also is working to reduce the time between when products are designed and when they hit shelves. Still, the brand continues to lose market share to Nike.

12. Forever 21

Headquarters: Los Angeles, California

Place on last poll: 36

Why it's hot: Forever 21 offers fast fashion at unbeatable prices and has expanded tremendously in two decades.

11. Nintendo

Headquarters: Kyoto, Japan

Place on last poll: 13

Why it's hot: Many millennials feel nostalgic toward Nintendo because they played its games as kids. This has led to brand loyalty in adulthood. 2015 was also the 30th anniversary of Super Mario, and the brand encouraged users to participate in a campaign called "Let's Super Mario," allowing users to submit their own Mario-related content — all of which would be shared on a site where many could see it.

10. Coca-Cola

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Place on last poll: 8

Why it's hot: Coca-Cola remains the clear leader in the soda market. The brand also scored high points for its "Share a Coke" campaign, which featured common names on Coke bottles. Now, with its "Tweet a Coke" campaign, people can send Cokes to others. Still, Coca-Cola's partnership with Keurig for the Keurig Kold failed to resonate with consumers.

Headquarters: Bentonville, Arkansas

Place on last poll: 5

Why it's hot: Wal-Mart gave its workers a raise this year and has pledged to adopt more humane standards for the meat it sells. It also opened smaller format stores that resonate with millennials more than supercenters. Its "Neighborhood Market"grocery concepts could rival those of Whole Foods, and its app helps consumers find savings throughout the store.

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California

Place on last poll: 12

Why it's hot: Google's smartphone apps have become essential for many millennials. Its Gmail program is also extremely popular. Google continues to find ways to be a part of users' everyday lives.

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Place on last poll: 11

Why it's hot: This year, the company started offering one-hour delivery for members of its Prime service and expanded its grocery delivery business to New York City. The company also announced a new gadget called the Dash Button, which will make it easier for consumers to order household items, such as detergent, when they are running low. Amazon has also connected with Twitter.

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Place on last poll: 6

Why it's hot: Target invented the idea of "cheap chic" two decades ago. Today, the company is revamping its grocery selections for millennials. Target has also worked to cement itself as the premiere destination for back-to-school college goods.

5. Microsoft

Headquarters: Redmond, Washington

Place on last poll: 7

Why it's hot: Cloud computing, mobile apps, and holographic computing are drivingMicrosoft to record profits. The brand recently did a demo showing how personal computers could become holographic. ItsMicrosoft Band even features Uber and Facebook apps — two very popular apps. Microsoft has also been using LinkedIn to comunicate with its consumers.

Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo

Place last poll: 4

Why it's hot: Sony's Playstation, gaming, photo, and music businesses are booming. Sony is aggressively investing in these areas. The company also has popular smartphones. Sony also utilized a concept called One Stadium Live for the 2014 World Cup, creating a single platform for all World Cup-related social media.

Headquarters: San Jose, California

Place last poll: 3

Why it's hot: Samsung's Galaxy phones and tablets are extremely popular with millennials. The brand's latest Galaxy S6 smartphone received rave reviews.

Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon

Place on last poll: 1

Why it's hot: When it comes to active wear — and apparel in general — Nike is the go-to brand. Data also shows that millennials believe exercise is essential for health, while their parents only focused on their diets. Nike has focused on incorporating top-tier technology into its clothing.

Headquarters: Cupertino, California

Place on last poll: 2

Why it's hot: Apple has a fanatical following, and many of its customers are millennials. The company's iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks are wildly popular. This year, Apple made headlines with its new watch.

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2015. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.


Bad design of ‘good book’ prompted company to make Bible aimed at millennials

Brian Chung still remembers the first time he attempted to read the Bible.

A 20-year-old college student at the University of Southern California at the time, he’d recently converted to Christianity and was eager to plunge into the Scripture that he’d heard so much about.

There was just one problem, Chung recalls: “I didn’t want to read it.”

The text was small and serious-looking, each line corralled inside densely packed, numbered columns devoid of imagery — like citations at the end of a biology textbook. Inside, the pages were toilet paper thin. Outside, the cover was solid black and intimidating.

For an artistic college student studying communications, design and advertising, the “good book” looked surprisingly bad.

“There were 20 pages before you actually got to Genesis,” Chung said, remembering how impatient he felt. “As an artist and designer and a reader, I was thinking, ‘This is not good design.’ ”

Over the past 2,000 years, scholars say, no other book has been reimagined and reinterpreted as many times in history as the Bible. Each iteration — from early translations in Greek to the King James edition — was created to reach a new audience.

Five hundred years after the modern printing press spread biblical text worldwide, the book is struggling to reach one of its toughest audiences yet: millennials, a generation of expressive, digital natives who are increasingly likely to read on a tablet than open a book. They are also far less likely to read or trust the Bible than older generations, surveys show, and their skepticism is at the forefront of Americans’ deteriorating relationship with the ancient text.

Now Christian publishers are scrambling to repair that relationship by making the Bible more accessible and attractive to a generation of young people for whom the written word no longer resonates as strongly. Their efforts are a way of embracing the present, but also a nod to the Church’s medieval past, when an illiterate populace relied on beautiful frescoes, sculptures and majestic cathedrals to understand the Christian message.

A decade after his failed attempt at reading, Chung has turned his early aversion to the Bible into a growing business. He’s one half of a duo attempting to make the Bible “millennial-friendly,” sharing their ancient faith with a new generation shaped by an unending stream of visual content and social media stimulation.

Brian Chung and Bryan Ye-Chung, co-founders of Alabaster, redesigned books of the Bible to make them more attractive to young people. (Photo by Bryan Ye-Chung)

To do that, his Los Angeles-based start-up, called Alabaster, places the full text of each biblical book, including from the Old Testament, inside publications that resemble chic, indie lifestyle and design magazines — like those you might find on your most fashionable friend’s coffee table. Alabaster uses the New Living Translation of the Bible.

Negative space is plentiful, and the text is a stylish Sans Serif font, dwarfed by the kind of moody, still-life images that proliferate on Instagram.

For inspiration, the partners didn’t look to contemporary Christian artists or the Catholic Church, but urbane magazines like Cereal, Kinfolk and Drift. They also studied hip, era-defining brands like Warby Parker, Harry’s, Shinola and Swedish watchmaker Daniel Wellington. Those companies, they say, understand something that the discerning millennial mind treats as, well, Gospel: the quality of a product’s visual packaging is just as important as the quality of the product itself.

The Bible may be a holy book, Chung realized, but it’s also a “content-rich lifestyle brand” — one in desperate need of a modern upgrade.

“Visual culture is everything for millennials,” Alabaster co-founder Bryan Ye-Chung said. “That’s what is important to us, too, so we wondered why can’t a faith-based product take advantage of that space as well?”

The start-up is not without competition. Absorbing Christian teachings without opening a Bible or stepping inside a church has never been easier. Instagram has helped turn megachurch pastors like Carl Lentz and Steven Furtick into fashion-forward “influencers” with millions of followers. The number of people who have downloaded mobile apps offering thousands of biblical translations, texts and access to podcasts is now in the hundreds of millions. Ancient manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls have been digitized for online consumption, and now anyone with Internet access can listen to Bible readings in the book’s original languages — Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

Why read about the Holy Land when you can strap on a virtual reality headset that offers 3-D tours of sacred Christian sites? If VR isn’t your thing, you can download apps that pair smartphone photos with Bible verses, creating shareable content for social media. If you don’t want to read the Bible, then Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, can do it for you. As faith-based organizations seek to share their message in new ways, even their job postings have begun to resemble those from Silicon Valley tech firms, with organizations recruiting product designers and software engineers.

“We’ll do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ,” according to the Life.Church website. “For us, that means leveraging the latest technology, pursuing new ideas, and staying close to God’s Word.”

The digital products may be new, but the sensibility is not, according to Matthew Engelke, a professor of religion at Columbia University. The Protestant impulse has always been to expand outward, Engelke said, finding new ways to engage new groups of people. The rise of digital culture over the past 20 years has heightened that impulse, he said.

For today’s evangelicals, Engelke said, a rising tide of secular atheism is no longer considered the greatest threat to the church.

“It’s the stuck-in-the-mud old Christian who doesn’t move with the times and refuses to recognize that you can’t get people into church reading the King James version in the evenings on the radio anymore,” Engelke said. “Times have changed and many Christians recognize they need to change with the times.”

As millions of Christian’s find new avenues to explore their faith online, companies like Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publishing house in the world, say the appetite for physical copies of the Bible remains strong, but customer expectations are rapidly changing because of digital culture. No longer interested in their grandparents’ plain black Bibles, younger customers have begun requesting books with sewn binding, environmentally friendly paper, gold gilding and pricey goatskin covers. The Bible publisher Zondervan has introduced hand-painted covers inspired by Etsy artists, as well as shimmering images that change when the page is turned.

“It’s a renaissance in craftsmanship,” said Daniel Marrs, publisher of Thomas Nelson Bibles. “It’s amazing that we can sit down with a little app and see hundreds of different translations and then pick up a Bible bound in the old leather style with beautiful typography and engage with scripture that way as well.”

The company has also developed several proprietary typefaces designed to reduce eye fatigue for customers who spend their days staring at digital screens. If they’re not going to access scripture via a mobile app, publishers say, Bible readers want a customized product that makes them feel unique.

“It’s all about the experience,” said Doug Lockhart, senior vice president of Bible Marketing and Outreach at Harper Collins Christian Publishing. “Even the packaging of the premier collection bibles, the unboxing experience is similar to an iPhone experience.”

Last year, their second on the market, Alabaster sold about 10,000 books, netting the company $318,000 in sales. It was enough for Chung and Ye-Chung to quit their jobs in recent weeks to focus on Alabaster full-time. This year, both men said, the company hopes to triple last year’s sales figures. Their customers, they said, are primarily women, 21 to 35 years old. Though they have customers as far away as Singapore and Australia, most are city-dwellers from places like Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta.

Both men said they believe their individually packaged biblical texts – which start at $30 for single books but cost as much as $155 for packages of six books — tap into millennials’ more casual approach to religion. Instead of letting the Book of Romans collect dust on a shelf, they said, the idea is to bring the words out into the open, turning them into an enticing work of art whose pages feel more interactive than intimidating.

“We’ve become a culture that cares about beauty and visual stimulation,” Chung said. “We want to use that to create a dialogue and a fresh perspective of the scripture.”

Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard, said Chung and Ye-Chung have unearthed an age-old marketing tactic perfected by the church. Christianity, like many religions, has long relied on beautiful packaging to sell its ideas. That was especially true, he said, during the Middle Ages when the overwhelming majority of Christians couldn’t read.


How 3D Food Printing Technology Is “Shaping” the Food Industry

The possibilities of 3D printing technologies are expanding into the food industry. From pizzas to personalized foods, 3D food printing technology is being adopted by many food industry professionals for producing unique food items.

The incorporation of this new technology into the food space brings a lot of benefits to manufacturers. Now, companies can boost the visual appeal of their food products by designing new shapes which can be manufactured using a 3D printer. Additionally, the labor cost for creating culinary art can be very expensive for industry professionals a new 3D food printer on site can cut costs significantly.

This type of technology is already prominent in the medical device, automotive, defense and aerospace industry. However, the presence of 3D food printing is growing as more major players in the food industry take notice of this innovative technology.

Although this technology is relatively new in the food space, there are already companies who have developed and sold 3D food printers to major clients in the industry. BeeHex Incorporated and Natural Machines are currently among the top 3D food printer manufacturers in the world . According to these two companies, 3D food printing has the potential to disrupt multiple food categories in the industry.

Pizza and Nutrition Bars

BeeHex, Inc. has developed a 3D printer that can produce fresh foods like pizza. The company raised $1 million in a funding round led by Grote Co. for producing their machines.

BeeHex CEO, Anjan Contractor, originally developed the 3D printer for NASA astronauts. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration saw a need for better food options for their astronauts during space missions. In response to their needs, Contractor – who had been working with 3D printers for a while – pitched a personalized 3D food printer to the administration. NASA loved the idea and Contractor then developed his first 3D food printer that prints pizza, an idea he got from NASA. The project eventually did not make it to phase two of NASA’s three-phase project. However, it did inspire Contractor to create a model suitable for use on Earth.

This project led Contractor to meet Benjamin Feltner who is now the COO and co-founder of BeeHex. Together, they produced Chef 3D, a printer that has the ability to print out pizzas according to the user’s preference in shape, size, toppings and even calories.

The company also recently won a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) with the US Army and is looking into developing a multi-stage personalized nutritional 3D food printer for soldiers. They are currently completing phase one in the process and have been receiving good reviews.

“We started off with pizza because it’s entertaining and actually tasted really good because we got the recipe from one of the best pizza restaurants in New York City. But it can do anything and we’ve pivoted to doing a few types of food now. But the Army wants personalized nutrition. Now we are printing highly-nutritious bars and they are personalized for each individual,” said Feltner in an interview with Xtalks.

BeeHex’s nutrition bar idea is still to be reviewed by the Army’s executives in order to reach phase two. However, the company plans on producing a personalized nutrition printer for other businesses as well.

“One product we will be offering and are willing to talk to people about now is a personalized nutrition machine. That’s something that might go in airports, gyms, hotels and things where you need something that’s built specifically for you and you don’t have your kitchen right there. So, you [don’t] have to go out and get some food that isn’t very nutritious or something in a certain area that you’re not familiar with. This will sort of be like your multivitamin but a food replacement for that.”

The personalized nutrition printer is just one of the products the company is working on. Another printer they are developing is specifically for dessert decorating. According to Feltner, these printers are easy to use as well.

“For end consumers (those who will be eating the product), it will be as easy as just walking up and just like you would with any sort of app, going through and choosing a flavor, choosing the ingredients that you want and pressing go.”

Feltner goes on to describe how their 3D printers could be used by food companies.

“When we’re building it for a store or another kind of customer where they’re wanting to manipulate it, let’s say we’re doing dessert decorating, they’ll have to place the cake or whatever it is inside the machine and then start choosing designs or make their own design using a computer [that is] using our software and then press go.”

At Home Printing

Bringing 3D printing technology to regular consumer households is the end goal for another 3D food printer manufacturer, Natural Machines. The company hopes that in the future, people will be able to print any food item they can think of in the convenience of their homes.

“If you think about it, if you eat anything from a food manufacturer you’re practically already eating 3D printed food because what a food manufacturer does is they take food, they push it through machines, they shape and they form it. So, we’ve taken that exact same concept and shrunk it down to a designed kitchen appliance to where you can use your own fresh, real ingredients. So, we want to get people back into their kitchens and cooking more with more fresh, real ingredients, rather than becoming over-reliant on the over-abundance of packaged and processed foods that we find in our supermarkets today,” said Lynette Kucsma, Co-founder and CMO of Natural Machines in an interview with Xtalks.

The company’s Foodini 3D food printer utilizes hand-prepped ingredients that are loaded into five reusable, stainless steel capsules. Each capsule has a twist off nozzle that is available in different sizes to accommodate a variety of shapes. The machine differentiates itself from other food printers with its ability to produce products from fresh ingredients that are hand loaded. However, users must prepare the food refills by chopping, cutting or processing them. Pre-filled capsules are also going to be option for users in the future.

“Well Foodini is not a food processor, so what you would not do is put in an entire carrot, for example. So, you would need to process that to some extent to make it printable,” said Kucsma.

This process allows users to know exactly what ingredients are used to print their food item, which is a quality many consumers would appreciate. The machine does not use any additional food glues to create its designs. Instead, Kucsma advises users to keep the consistency of their ingredients in mind when printing out food items.

“So, the way we print food is you do not need any additives, preservatives or gelling agents or any type of glue to hold the structure together. You can use gelling agents if you want to, but again that is your choice because we ship with empty stainless-steel food capsules. If you think about things like mashed potatoes for example, you can add height to that. If you’re printing something like tomato sauce, you’re not going to get a 3D structure out of that.”

The Foodini is also a connected device that can be updated and innovated with the internet. Users can upload recipes onto the device with their tablets and computers. The device can also be updated to feature the latest software just like smartphones can.

“Foodini comes with an onboard touch screen and we built our own software to make an easy to use kitchen appliance,” Kucsma added. “We built our own software where you can actually create your own dishes and your own shapes but Foodini also comes with a library of shapes that you can also use that are built in, but you are not restricted to using those types of shapes.”

The Foodini machine is not limited to basic shapes and designs users can upload images that they sourced or developed themselves and print out those images.

“If you use Photoshop or if you use Paint, or if you even take a picture that you wanted to print, you can actually import that into our software and 3D print it.”

The Foodini is currently being used by culinary professionals such as Michelin star-ranked chefs Paco Pérez and Joel Castanyé. Their printer was also the highlight of Randi Zuckerberg’s Sue’s Tech Kitchen pop-up event in New York City last year.

Future of 3D Food Printing

3D food printing companies are looking forward to a future where 3D printers are regular appliances when it comes to food production. Although both companies are currently in the professional culinary market, they are working towards developing a device for regular consumers. If this goal becomes a reality, it is likely that major food companies will invest in developing foods that compliment 3D printing technologies.


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