Gen-Y and Millenials: The Lost Language


 By: Kathryn Uptergrove

When the Wall Street Journal article was written in September of 2009, a study found that teenagers send and receive on average 2,272 texts messages per month.  That means a text is sent or received every 19 minutes.  Over the last four years, the number has almost doubled to 3,583 which turns into 1 text sent or received every 12 minutes.  Text messages are only half of it, when adding Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and email a teen spends more than 20 hours a week on their smart phones or computers. 

With that being said, it is fair to assume that with an increase in technology and multiple forms of social media at hand the Generation-Y population and the Millenials that have come after are spending less time having face-to-face conversations and more time communicating through 140 characters or less using as many emojis as possible.  Without the interaction of face-to-face communication we are unable to see common expressions, gestures, and posture that are linked to different emotions.  Even when using voice calls it allow us to hear tone of voice and intentional pauses that help individuals better understand the context of a conversation and avoid any misconceptions.

In the world of status-updating, tweeting, and texts nonstop it is possible to have casualties of common misinterpretation because we are unable to “see” tone of voice and body language.  As we all know, nonverbal communication is imperative to having meaningful relationships that are both professional and personal.  As the Gen-Y’s and Millenials move from high school to college and onto their first jobs after graduation they will need to have a better understanding of nonverbal communication cues.  Without the complete understanding of nonverbal communication, they will be unable to see when a client is unhappy with a suggestion or when an audience has been sold on a brilliant idea.  They also might not know that bad posture gives the vibe of non-interest or boredom when really they just have poor posture.  I know that this will not become relevant to the younger generations until later down the road, but maybe there is a solution for it down the road whether that be more skyping or less textings we will have to wait and see. 


Bauerlein, M. (2009, September). Why Gen-Y Johnny Can’t Read Nonverbal Cues: An emphasis on social networking puts younger people at a face-to-face disadvantage. Retrieved from Wall Street Journal:

Cocotas, E. (2013, March). Business Insider. Retrieved from Kids Send a Mind Boggling Number of Texts Each Month:



One thought on “Gen-Y and Millenials: The Lost Language

  1. Pingback: Stefan's Insights » Gen-X, Gen-Y and Gen-Z & Social usiness

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