News and views on what matters to me: mindfulness, leadership, public relations, marketing, social media, pop culture and every now and then I will surprise you with something else.
If you look at one of my earlier posts about US Army Astronauts using social media to inform the public about the mission and talk about the Army experience, you will notice that I briefly mention a difficulty to appeal to today’s youth from a public service perspective. I briefly talked about youth having different priorities and outlooks as far what they envision themselves to be in the future. Today’s youth is exposed to glamorous (or so they seem) careers in media, entertainment or business that public service is going to take even more of a hit in the coming years unless something is done.
Fields like mathematics and science have noticed this shift and have set-up special scholarships and initiatives to get youth excited about careers in those fields. Before most kids had ipods before the age of 12, there were opportunities to introduce them in a fun way to careers that “better the world.” In today’s cluttered market place, it is hard to grasp the attention of typical consumers, let alone youth. Military service is not the only public career sector that needs to figure out how to target youth in a more relevant way, but it is most forms of public service.
As media and technology are shaping the opinions and minds of youth, messaging about the importance of public service needs to be presented in the format that youth can best relate to. Even though there are a lot of distractions as obstacles for messaging, this means that youth needs to be reached in a non-traditional way that appeals to them and they can understand.
It can be argued that today’s media and entertainment worlds are to blame for this, but, there are ways that those outlets can still be beneficial and serve a bigger purpose; it is all about figuring out appropriate partnerships that are able to benefit both parties. One of the biggest reasons that youth aren’t choosing public service is because they are not informed about it as other messaging is more prevalent in their daily lives. If they were to get exposed to it more readily (like their parents and grandparents were) and especially by their influencers, it would give them additional opportunities to learn about these paths. As far as the media and entertainment perspectives, certain public service messages and careers can be extremely compelling and provide some very interesting content.
As generations and their preferences are changing, it is important to continue building an understanding of what appeals to them. If we are interested in building future leaders and quality public servants, it is critical to make the messaging and outreach techniques more in line with what the demographic responds to best.