Most millennials grew up with an array of apps (applications) on the screen in front of their face for hours of the day. First televisions, then computers, tablets and mobile phones. They are native screen users, while the older generations are immigrants to the tech phenomenon.

We’ve all seen the results of tech

A family out to dinner or standing in line for a movie, and the children are nose deep in their phones while the parents are engaging with restaurant or theater staff.

How do we capture the millennial generation’s attention?

It will probably be (drumroll, please!) on their screen! But what app?

You may meet them face to face, but your conversation is likely to be limited until you get their mobile number and find them on the app of their choice. And that leads to more tech questions.

Which app provides on-screen delivery that makes an impact?

  • Facebook: Millennials have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. You may find them there, but often with mixed emotions. There are too many older adults there.
  • Instagram: Millennials are selfie-taking, visual documenters of all things relevant in their world. This is a positive place to connect.
  • Twitter: Twitter is really hard to get noticed unless you direct message. MIllennials will take notice if you reach them here, but they also may feel like their personal space is invaded and withdraw.
  • Snapchat: Take a picture, send it and then it goes away. Unless you screenshot it. Millennials are always impressed with the older person who tries this app. And who can resist all the little animal attributes you can put on pictures! Millennial use this for, ahem, explicit pictures sometimes. If they do, you might be invading their world and a little out of place with your bunny nose and whiskers.

Honorable App Mentions

  • Pinterest:  super-visual and DIY-oriented. You can find how-tos for anything!
  • Google Hangouts – or gchat: a chat mechanism for people with gmail accounts. Circumvents roaming charges on your phone.
  • Venmo: Allows people to label their payments with texts, creative emojis and stuff. It’s controversial right now, but Millennials find it fun.
  • Facebook Messenger: Allows you the opportunity to message anyone you can find in a Facebook search.
  • WhatsApp: like texting, but it circumvents roaming charges when you are out of the country. Encrypted so it is safe.
  • Voxer: works like a walkie-talkie, and your can also text.

You don’t have to use every one of these apps. Just choose one new app from either of these lists besides the ones you are using now. Just ONE!

Bond with a Millennial

On the other side of a screen connection, there is hope for a shared bond with a millennial friend.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

A screen communicates all those things to a millennial–true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. If you want to be the friend of a millennial, if you truly want to matter, learn one of these apps and show up on their screen. Whatever you learn, put it into practice and the God of peace will be with you. My experience is that you can actually have more friends on a screen in the digital space than you can face-to-face.

What new app will you learn to reach your millennial friend?

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