Why the Generation Y doesn't 'need' Wi-Fi

Who needs Wi-Fi more: business people or the Generation Y? Also, why TechCrunch are stuck in the dark ages.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

You may well have heard about the New York Times story covering the research, where the Generation Y would more rather go without tea or coffee for a week than wireless Internet access.

It wouldn't surprise me if you heard it over on TechCrunch, seemingly continuing their 'campaign' of taking a bite out of two major demographics that they can't afford to lose: women and the younger Millennial.

In fact, it is now at a point where I can only assume they are of the mentality that both groups should be "seen and not heard", while sat around a darkened room, fireplace blazing, and port in glass as they flick through the pages of Fox News on their iPad's.

Perhaps now you see a little context behind Carol Bartz' strong language towards Michael Arrington during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. One could argue that as a woman who has worked her way to the top job of a Fortune 500 company, she rightfully vented her anger at a news source which not only seems to negate these two powerful demographics, but devalue them in the process.

Anyway, I digress.


Of course wireless access is important for most away from campus, the office or their home because it serves as a vital mechanism to accessing the vast majority of the content we need. That said, it is usually only important to those who are bringing devices other than their cellphones or smartphones to these locations; iPad's and laptops, for example.

It wouldn't take a genius to point out that most professional workers, business people and generally the ones employed to a position where communication is important, would find wireless access more important than a cup of coffee.

Long story short, this 'research' (as an undergraduate student who has already dived head first into his research dissertation, I assure you that to call this 'research' is like comparing a tent to the Taj Mahal) is automatically flawed by determining the answer by specifically targeting the sample group, with no intent on providing a comparison to another demographic. If they only ask Millennials, the most common answer will serve as their findings.

While there "is a desire for constant connectivity" among Millennials, according to Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, the organisation behind the research, most Generation Y users will have a mobile device which does not have Wi-Fi capabilities. You will also find that most don't even use Wi-Fi on the move - with the exception of working on campus, because they don't need to.

Also, to throw in Japan and South Korea into the research sample will automatically sway the results. Both cultures are vastly ahead of most Western countries in terms of technological sociability, and ingrain technology in their everyday lives as opposed to integrating it.

The Generation Y are an important group. You may not see it now - and frankly, you as the older Generation X probably won't even live to see the potential that these young minds have. Because in ten, twenty or thirty years' time, we will be in your shoes - quite literally. We will have your jobs, your knowledge, your expertise - but most crucially, the one thing I believe we will not take from you, are your values to the world today.

One comment on the TechCrunch post made light of the situation by shedding doubt on previous generations, stating that our predecessors "had much worse habits than we do". These include but are not limited to not wanting to use the same bathrooms or public transport as African-Americans, not wanting women to vote, stealing land from Native inhabitants and of course, going on a "world wide [sic] killing spree, twice" and nearly bringing nuclear apocalypse to reality during the Cold War conflict.

I think this sums it up, quite honestly.

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