Social media has led to a new era of self-image and expression. Millennials have higher numbers of untraditionally dyed hair, piercings and tattoos than any other generation. The growth of social media has been a large contributor to this. “Body art” now has an audience. Millennials tend to feel more comfortable expressing themselves because everyone around them are doing the same.
Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest allow photos to be posted and individuals to actively engage with published content. Commentary and affirmation are received on photos and users are able to communicate with a global audience. Blogging has also assumed a huge role in the millennial world. Blogs are managed by individuals, groups or companies and may differ from personal dairies of fitness and weight loss to sports, politics, business, and entertainment.
YouTube has also played a large role in the embracement of self-expression. YouTube is a video-sharing website that engages the publics from around the world. Videos may include news streaming, tutorials, movies, animal videos, humorous self-submitted videos etc. YouTube even offers videos of tattoo artists administering tattoos if one is interested in getting their own piece of artwork. According to the organization Generation Waking Up, 53% of the total blogging population is 21-35 years old and over half of YouTube’s users are under 20 years old. In addition, Pew Research found that “three quarters have created a profile on a social networking site and one in five have posted a video of themselves online.”
For many millennials, they view themselves as a brand and social media is simply a means of promotion.
According to salary.com, 42% of managers said their opinion of someone would be lowered if they had visible body art. This is simply a mindset that will have to change if companies want to attract millennials. In general, tattoos are becoming less taboo and more accepted. Employers will often care less about professional appearance and more about the work produced. Of course, the extent of self-expression in the workplace will differ by company, clients and management. For example, an advertising firm may have different guidelines than a more conservative company such as a bank. It is important to remember that these guidelines are not to hinder the freedom of employees but uphold company and brand image.
Forbes found that millennials are also the most ethnically diverse generation which may translate to more prominent cultural expression in the workplace. Whether this expression is displayed by physical appearance of practice the workplace is becoming a reflection of global business.
In a study conducted by, Atenga Inc., “millennials showed they value self-expression up to eight times more than Baby Boomers.” Millennials are immersed in a politically progressive era and are less likely to pass judgement in the workplace.