One of the speakers at The Economist Magazine’s World In 2011 conference in New York this weekend was Nick Shore, Senior VP of Strategic Consumer Insights and Research at MTV. As Millennials make up a large part of MTV’s viewership, Shore is somewhat of an expert on this Generation.
“Hey, why punch a cop if a punch line gets you there faster and without all that messy jail time? Rallying millennials voted with wit as their weapon of choice,” said Shore, referring to the recent Rally for Sanity hosted by John Stewart.
Among the placards sported by Millennials at the rally: ‘It’s a sad day when our politicians are comical and I have to take our comedians seriously!’ Another read: ‘There’s nothing to fear but fear…and spiders.'”
As he puts it, “smart ‘n funny is the new rock ‘n roll.” Not to say older generations are stupid and dull but my generation seems to put an emphasis on these qualities.
The influence of Comedy Central’s John Stewart and Steven Colbert is no accident. I believe they were the first to start speaking the millennials’ language. Though it may not be their intention, these “fake” news shows actually educate viewers about politics and news with humor (The Pew Research Center found that Daily Show viewers know their current events better than Fox News viewers). It is how we get engaged.
Speaking as a millennial, I can’t say I know why we focus on hip witticisms. But I definitely agree with Mr. Shore that we do.