Would you consider yourself digital literate? Do you have the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate, and create information using a range of digital technologies such as computers, mobile devices, software, search, or web applications? Whether you do or you don’t, I think you would agree that our evolving digital culture requires evolved literacies. Look no further than the Millennials to see which new literacies might be required to give you the competitive edge you need to thrive tomorrow.

6 New Millennial Literacies

"The most successful Millennials thrive because they have a set of new literacies that amount to mastery of networking and troves of information — social and otherwise— that stream into their lives." ~Paul Taylor, The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown. (A very data heavy read but worth the time if your interested in the future trends of America.)

In this book, Paul highlights six intriguing Millennial literacies that are very telling of the times. Paul also includes the results of a recent survey that revealed consistent predictions about the most desired life skills for young people in 2020. I found it interesting that most of the “desired life skills” match the new Millennial literacies.

How can your team or organization leverage these new literacies for next generation growth? 

6 New Millennial Literacies

1) Navigation Literacy
Millennials have a sense of Internet geography that allows them to maneuver through multiple information channels and formats. They understand the changes that have occurred as information has become networked — by links, by continual editing, by algorithmic authority. 

2) Context and Connections Literacy
Millennials are able to weave together the information and chatter that is flowing into their lives at a quickening pace. Even if the tidbits they gather are disaggregated from any larger context, they have the wherewithal — often with help from their networks — to puzzle through the material they collect. 

3) Focus Literacy
Millennials have mastery over their own attention with the capacity to minimize distractions and complete what they need to do. Many Millennials have learned through trial and error when it is essential to be connected and when to disengage.

4) Multitasking Literacy
Despite Millennial’s focus, they also have the ability to do several things (almost) at once. With multiple inputs from family, friends, work, and institutions — and multiple in-person, Internet, and mobile sources provide these inputs — thriving networkers such as Millennials have gained the ability to attend to them without lots of fuss. 

5) Graphic Literacy
Millennials recognize that life is experienced as communications, media, and data on screens. They can interpret this material and feel comfortable contributing to it. 

6) Skepticism Literacy
The age of information overload required Millennials to acquire this skill. Bombared with ads since birth, Millennials have a highly tuned BS meter to evaluate what they encounter online. This means weeding out the media and people who have outdated, biased, incomplete and agenda-driven, or just dead wrong ideas to promote.

Most Desired Life Skills For Young People In 2020

  • Public problem-solving through cooperative work. 
  • 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. Synthesizing - being able to bring together details from many sources. 
  • Being strategically future-minded.
  • Ability to concentrate.
  • Ability to distinguish between the “noise” and the message in the ever-growing sea of information. 

Do you agree with these new Millennial literacies? Why or why not?


Ryan Jenkins



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