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Generational Development and the Internet

In the past three decades, generations of digital natives have grown up, for whom being online constantly is as instinctive as breathing air. This new way of living seems to change some aspects of human relationships more rapidly, while it also keeps IT developers constantly inspired about how to take advantage of and where to lead these recent personality traits. 

Having an electronic gadget permanently stuck to the hand is just one visible element of the psychological and social changes the Y and Z generations (people born between 1980-1995 and 1996-2007) have brought to the fore. 

Experts agree that the most obvious outcome of the huge data dump of information surrounding us is the demand for speed. In his book entitled “The Business of Good”, social entrepreneur and writer Jason Haber even says that patience is simply not coded into the DNA of those born after 1980.

Annamária Tari, a psychologist specialized in Gens Y and Z agrees. Those who were socialized in the age of internet become irritated if a page does not load quickly enough, or a message is not replied to immediately, and even have a measurably higher pulse if their phone runs out of battery charge, she says.

“If I am impatient and want immediate reactions in the online space, sooner or later this will diffuse into my offline life, too,” she notes adding that how we find and keep up relationships are affected first and foremost.

As a symbol of this hunger for speed and availability, Tinder is on the road of extreme success. The dating app that asks users to indicate whether they are up for a chat and a meeting or not based on seeing each other’s profile pictures now has more than 50 million  users, yet it is widely criticized for bringing only physical attributes into focus and not exactly being a nest for well-established relationships. 

Tinder’s Hungarian counterpart, Lili Fox, puts more emphasis on personality, while still being playful. To be matched up and be able to start a chat, people have to guess each other’s interests.

Clear Characteristic 

Yet, both attitudes support easy connection; experts say the need to avoid a feeling of separation or being unheard is another clear characteristic of those born in the past couple of decades.

The demand of being permanently available and visible goes hand-in-hand with a thirst for interactivity and user-customized services. Even search engines now make sure we do not need to look at information that does not fully interest us .

The example of Sopreso, however, shows that while interactivity is clearly popular among users, it can be a headache for providers. The Hungarian startup kicked off in 2013 with the idea of offering a social presentation software (hence the name) that involves the audience by enabling them to comment, rate and browse between slides via an application, while actually sitting at the presentation.

However much fun it might sound to spice up long presentations with the possibility of permanent feedback to inspire the speaker to fully tailor the content to the audience, the initiative did not get the expected financial results and finally faded away about two years ago.

“The business model did not work out,” Máté Wohlmuth, co-founder of Sopreso tells the Budapest Business Journal, explaining that while presenters were supposed to pay for the application, they were not too keen on that type of interactivity.

“We spoke to many presenters who still measure the audience’s engagement by the persistency of eye contact,” says Wohlmuth. Some 90% of human communication is said to be non-verbal, he notes. “It is no surprise that the biggest deals are still not made on skype, but people catch a flight.”