The emojis generation

The New York Times‘ latest foray into explaining Millennials — short attention spans, don’t like live TV, blah blah blah — has a few nuggets of insight about the generation.

It’s the first generation that isn’t predictable, says one marketing expert.

Here’s what we learned today:

* Four in 10 millennials said they would rather communicate with pictures than with words. So “brands” are investing in emojis, “a pictograph-based language of happy faces and hearts.”

* Younger millennials, those 18 to 24 years old, spend an average of 91 hours a month in smartphone apps, about 18 hours more than people who are 35 to 44 and 33 hours more than 45- to 54-year-olds, according to a recent comScore report. Millennials spend an average of 30 hours a month in social apps. They are spending more hours on Instagram and Snapchat, which both only recently opened their services to advertisers, and in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, which do not yet have ads.

* 73 percent of millennials say it is important that a brand is not just trying to sell them something.

The Times isn’t the only news organization with a story on this exotic species today.

CNBC reports on a new study that says Millennials’ retirement plans are unrealistic. In that way, perhaps, they’re like other generations.

Seventy percent of millennials said they think they will spend less than $36,000 per year in retirement, according to a new survey by the Insured Retirement Institute and the Center for Generational Kinetics, says CNBC.