So if you can’t guess by the title of this blog post, my theme of the week is going to revolve around millennials. First and foremost, I’m writing on them because it may come as a surprise to some, but I am a millennial. The second reason is because I fit into this demographic, I felt it was best to write a bit on my generation and some of the things I have found interesting in how we’re represented and treated online. Today’s post will just cover the basics, like age range and who we are as a group. As the week goes on, I’ll be sure to touch on how millennials are “ruining” everything along with trying to give an explanation of why we do some of the things that we do.
So first and foremost, what is a millennial? Well if you want to go by the definition of pew research, you’re a millennial if you were born between the years of 1981-1996. So I apologize to anyone that I’ve argued with in their later 30s, like I’ve said, you’re a millennial. In fact, anyone in the age range of 21-37, you’re considered a millennial as well. Don’t look at this as a bad thing though, because by this definition, a millennial is someone simply born within a time frame. Think of it this way, not all Baby Boomers are the same, it is just a definition for a generation.
So this brings a new question about, which is why millennials take so much flack if it’s just a label for a generation. For this, I feel there are a few things that go into the general distain of millennials. The first is extremely simple and that is the fact that the older generations are never okay with the newer ones. If you don’t believe me, just ask your parents and grandparents what their parents and grandparents thought of them as kids. Odds are, whatever your parents liked, your grandparents probably didn’t. Which is not a bad thing, young people always try to find a way of “discovering’ themselves.
Part of the problem with young people trying to find themselves though, is that the title of “millennial” is no longer used for the generation of people between 21-37. Instead it is used to describe any group of young people doing something inappropriate or “stupid.” If you’re not sure what I mean, look no farther than “gatsbying.” Gatsbying is considered a new, pointless form of dating by millennials where you pretend to have a giant Gatsby-esque party on Instagram in the hopes of impressing a crush. Now this seems like something millennials may have came up with; it’s done by young people using social media. Doing just a little research though, Gatsbying made it into public eye thanks to an Australian model by the name of Matilda Dods. A little more research into this model and I discovered that she is 18, which falls out of the millennial generation. Gatsbying, along with the tide pod eating craze and snorting condoms, both fall to the generation after millennials.
All of this, along with the growth of social media, have allowed for a poor image of millennials to be formed. YouTube videos of the post-millennial generation tend to go viral, and then Xennials and GenX see young people doing something immature, and then Facebook quickly explodes with how “millennials are the worst.” Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people in my generation that have earned us the critiques we get, which I’ll touch on later in the week, but isn’t that the same with every generation? The problem is there is now a platform in which it’s easy to get on and complain about this generation to a broader audience. The other problem is that the post-millennial generation also doesn’t have a name to call themselves yet. The New York Times did a poll, asking the younger generation what they wanted to be called, and the biggest response they had was anything but millennial.
The idea and discussion of millennials is something I see as constantly evolving and changing. With social media present and it’s large number of users, there will always be a critical eye on my generation. The main thing to remember when discussing millennials though, is not every young person is one. This will become even more important as time moves forward and new people are born. Instead of tarnishing an entire generation, maybe it’s time to begin looking at them as the future and what can be done to help fix the negative image that surrounds them. If anything, it definitely couldn’t hurt.