You have for sure met them, be it in your family or at work, in a bar or at the theatre, you meet them more and more in a business context, they are everywhere: the PAGENs. We used to have Yuppies, DINKS and BOBOs but now we are starting to be flooded by the members of the PArticipation GENeration. This newest generation ignores the conventions of traditional media and communication channels, chooses where they direct its attention and actively takes up its place in the conversation.

The Pagens were brought up with a massive choice of content, ranging from over a hundred TV channels, through thousands of podcasts, to millions of movies on YouTube. They can choose from a rich mix of professionally produced content and creations made by consumers. The course of an evening is not longer determined by the format of the leading TV station, the Pagens make their own choices: watch the news fifteen minutes delay, in the mean time they hang around in Second Life which then in turn blends in with a soap playing in the background, to then end the evening with an hour of Prison Break (downloaded via BitTorrent). Traditional advertising is ignored, zapped away, skipped or deleted. Especially if the advertising creation is does not reach the level of engagement as "24", "Heroes" or the Diet Coke/Mentos movies on YouTube.

But choosing from a broad offer is not enough for the Pagens. They want to be part of the conversation, they want to be able react and interact with the producer of the content or with their peers. They demand the space to let their creativity flow. Whenever there is not possibility to get into contact with the maker or the brand behind a website, they will direct their questions, or worse: their frustration, towards the blogosphere. In this way a networked communication cloud comes to life. Next, through online networks and communities the Pagens will vote certain content to heaven and discuss how good or bad your product is. So they are not alone, they are the biggest lobby-group in the world.

The Pagens have seized back the power over their time and the public opinion, two things that had been silently stolen by the media.

And you, do you know what the Pagens say about your brand? Is your website ready to receive the "PArticipation GENeration"? Is there room for conversation? Is your next campaign open for the creativity of the consumer? If not, then do not expect to get any attention from the Pagens.

I must admit, it's not easy to start the conversation. There are many uncertainties, and there are no rules. That is why intelligent experimenting is the message. In that way we have opened up all content for discussion on our own ONE Agency website. Do you feel inspired by our references or do you want to congratulate us on a realisation, then you can simply leave a trace on the site. We also welcome critical remarks, the only thing we ask is to identify yourself and respect the basic rules of politeness.
Whether such a model would work for your company is not certain. But the important thing is that you have to be open for conversation and learn how to handle the participation generation.

If you are interested in the PAGENS and how they influence marketing, check out our PAGEN blog: