Investigating 'Generation-DIY' in the Age of Individualism
By: Miah Dunkleberger
Generation-DIY: DIY in the Age of Individualism
DIY – ‘Do It Yourself’ projects are a popular trend of our generation. Beginning in the early 2000’s with the DIY Network, and growth of media outlets who now dominate the ‘do it yourself’ market, like Pinterest and BuzzFeed. Pinterest alone has over 175 million active monthly users, spending 14.2 minutes on average per visit (Omnicore). How does an outlet like Pinterest engage users for that long period of time? A combination of DIY crafts and recipes.
According to a study completed by The University of Minnesota, the second-most popular category on Pinterest behind food and drink recipes is DIY projects and crafts (Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide). Therefore, the key to Pinterest’s success must be related to this ‘do it yourself’ culture and its ability to engage to the user.
Social media is characterized by user-generated content and user-preferences. The current era of the internet, classified as Web 2.0, is focused on collaboration, sharing and two-way communication (Melbourne). Social networking, blogs and collaborative websites, like Wikipedia, demonstrate the theory of web 2.0. Catering to the preferences and aspirations of your desired audience is especially important in terms of consumption over the web. Marketing and advertising content must conform to the norms of social media and engage the consumer in to be effective. Post’s must facilitate interaction with the desired audience, in a way that leaves them wanting to come back for more of what you provide them. So why does DIY content generate so much interaction with social media users?
According to Entrepreneur.com writer, Anna Johansson, the DIY trend appeals to active participation, individual customization, and experiential value appreciated by web 2.0 users. DIY culture is characterized by the added benefits it gives to internet users, such as customization, efficiency and a sense of fulfillment with completing the task (Johansson). This aligns with our cultural norms in this time of modernity, emphasizing ideals like individuality and efficiency. This learn-how-to attitude that is rampant throughout our society, has encouraged individuals to focus on educating oneself and staying informed on current events.
Clearly, our modern culture is the perfect breeding ground for this DIY trend. The aspects of social media that characterize the current state of the internet as web 2.0, coincide with the appeals of DIY content to desired audiences. So, it makes sense that the “do it yourself’ trend is taking the marketing and communication fields by storm, as millennials with complimentary character traits enter the working-world. The success of DIY culture can be traced back to our generation. Generation-X? More like Generation-DIY.
Why is the DIY market essential for digital marketers to understand and reach? Over a quarter of Americans completed or considered a DIY project within the last year. Plus, 71% of ‘do it yourself’ individuals use a digital source to research ideas and discover information. These tech-savvy shoppers value quality products and experiences, not just a quick purchase. With 76% of them earning over $100K per household and entering new chapters of life, many of them are in search of the variety of opportunities and services available online. (thinkwithGoogle)
Generation-DIY is an expanding group of consumers that I encourage you to engage. Launch a contest, encourage some content creation through video tutorials or customer testimonials. Use interactive social media content to find creative ways to inspire this target market with what you have to offer. And the best part is, you can DO IT YOURSELF!