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Cover Focus | Mar/Apr '16

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It is no secret that we millennials enjoy documenting our lives and peering into those of people in both our inner circles and outer circles. One of the most popular ways this is done today is via Snapchat, an image and video messaging app. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat photos come with an expiration date that is dictated by the sender. Each Snapchat photo or video can be viewed for 10 seconds at most, although users can compile several clips into a story, which lives for up to 24 hours. Snapchat photos and videos are somewhat protected, as users must add and approve contacts, and they can see if anyone takes a screenshot—generally a faux pas to us millennials. Snapchat continues to roll out new features, too, such as various filters that allow users to morph or adorn their faces and a chat capability that enables text-based messages to be sent in response to a photo or video. Users can also catch clips from their favorite Snapchatting celebrities and companies.

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When it comes to streaming music, Spotify reigns supreme among millennials (no, most of us are not using Pandora). The digital music service, available for both desktop and mobile, provides access to millions of songs. Users can search for any track, artist, or album and listen for free, although a paid premium subscription removes advertisements, improves audio quality, and enables offline listening. Listeners can create their own playlists or choose from a wide range of those compiled by Spotify or fellow users. The ability to follow other Spotify members allows users to keep tabs on what their friends are listening to at any time and access their saved playlists.

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From coffee to beauty products to pet toys, almost everything we purchase today is available via a subscription service. Although individuals of all ages can likely see the value in having goods delivered to their doorsteps, most millennials actively seek out opportunities to streamline our purchases … and reduce the amount of time we have to spend in stores. Plus, the ability to customize our deliveries—be it by specifying our favorite lip color or which proteins we prefer to eat on a given week—guarantees we are getting what we want, when we want. Millennial favorites include Birchbox, Glossybox, Dollar Shave Club, Graze, and BarkBox.

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Although potential security issues with Venmo have recently come to light, most millennials still routinely use this app to share payments with friends. And understandably—Venmo can be a lifesaver when an astronomical bill comes to a table of 20. Rather than burdening the restaurant staff with a mixed bag of credit cards and cash, one friend can temporarily foot the bill, and the remaining 19 can send their payments directly to that person via Venmo. In addition to transferring funds, Venmo also enables users to request payments from their friends, key for tracking down those individuals who seemingly always manage to dodge their bar tab.

Callan Navitsky
Callan Navitsky