Facebook. Social media. College debt. Progressive values. Impatience. Ambition. Social Consciousness. Job-hopping. Tech-savvy. Diverse. Adaptable. Big dreams. Over-educated. Entitled. Health-oriented. Social retardation. Mental health issues.
These are words I would generally use to describe the pros and cons of my current generation. Our age bracket usually falls in between early 20s and mid 30s today. We’re the ones always bingeing Netflix. And posting on Facebook. And swiping Tinder. And trying to start small businesses. And trying to change the world, one online video share at a time. Or else venturing into some sort of post post-modern form of artistic/creative expression. A lot of us are stacking degrees. And debt. And traveling. And going vegan.
We’re also seen as socially inept: attached to our screens. And, politically, we’re pissed off. VERY pissed off. But hopeful about the future, somehow. I will say, though, a lot of us have terrible tastes in music. And it shows in what’s popular. But the music scene has started to improve recently (post 2010). And become more innovative.
We have most certainly inherited one of the worst cultural environments in American history. We entered an unpromising job market, college careers worth more their weight in loans than prestige, economic recession, overseas war, political turmoil, constant violence worldwide, and human relations governed purely by technology. We went from instant messaging and paging to cellular dialing, texting, Ipods, Myspace, Facebook, Tweeting, Instagraming, live-streaming, YouTubing, blogging, and Netflix and chill. Most of our entertainment is either the golden age of television, or the tiresome reboot, rehash age of cinema.
We might have gone to high school with a few emos that later evolved into “independent” hipsters with independent hipster beards, independent musical tastes, flannel clothes, skinny jeans and other fashion trends that would throw anyone’s “gaydar” into disarray.
But that’s just one type. You might have gone to high school with several white boys who absolutely LOVE Snoop Dogg and other black music, then evolved into bro-ish college drunks who constantly pollute your Facebook wall with conservative political rants and “erudite” theories as to why Black Lives Matter is a hate group. Then they start wearing MAGA hats and voting for Trump.
I would break down my love/hate relationship with Generation Y based on two categories. One of the things that Millennials have often been complimented for, besides technical innovation, is their building, entrepreneurial spirit. These are the professionals, typically older Millennials in their late 20s and early 30s. Basically business casual, with a checked Men’s Wearhouse shirt (no tie), Dockers khaki pants, and maybe a fitted blazer. Again, just a generalization.
These are the start-up guys and girls: the ones who want to network and build. A lot probably left their old, status quo jobs for something more adventurous. Unlike the Silent Generation, they’re not going to sit down and work just for the sake of living. They want fulfillment, not standard routine, from 9-5. A lot of them are experts in digital media and networking. They want to build a brand. They want to self-manage, but do so in a way that fosters connections across a wide range of people. And they’re hopeful, witty, and have a somewhat off-brand sense of humor. They enjoy brunch and coffee. And hiking and traveling. And networking with all walks of life.
These people are very practical, but also very creative at the same time. They have a business that smiles in a happy, quirky way. And they’re all about teamwork.
Now, let’s talk about the other kind. These are typically younger Millennials who, between the years of 2011 and Present Day, would fall into the 17-25 range. A lot are college students, or recently graduated. These are the entitled ones. These are the “online ones.”
The best way to describe them would be over-opinionated. They can’t have a conversation with someone they disagree with on the most minute issues without affirming moral superiority. They come in “far-rights” and “far lefts”. They are microcosmic examples of the same forces tearing our country apart socially and politically. Remember my mention of the white boy who used to “love” black culture in high school? Now he’s on Facebook complaining about “political correctness”. And, on the opposing side, you’ve got the equally self-righteous groups who want to prove their loyalty to social justice through long-winded posts, constant replies, and dramatic displays of public outrage. Both of these polarized groups want you to know EVERYTHING wrong with society. They have an overly romantic notion of the way the world should be and will often go into shouting matches over it.
Typically these are the people who spend their entire lives digging up dirt on others. Which isn’t such a bad thing when certain people need to be exposed. Like our president. But Broseph517, or DopeDivadynasty on Twitter isn’t exactly worth spending hours trying to expose to your friends, just so you can make a moral point. Shaming and shitting on others via social media has really gone to an extreme. People have the boldness to be assholes online when they don’t have to look you directly in the eyes. That’s a hallmark of our generation, in addition to some of the older ones.
Social media-driven relations have both helped and retarded our development as social beings. For the professional Millennial, it is a vessel for brand promotion. For the entitled Millennial (both “alt-right” and “PC”) , it is a vessel for self-promotion. It’s simply a place to lodge your private grievances. We’re all (myself included) guilty of that.
Social media is a reflection of our currently divided society. Who are the biggest social media users? According to Pew, those in the 18-49 range. Which includes us, as well as parts of Gen X. But mostly us. If I were to describe the “entitled” Millennials in one phrase, it would be “too much, too soon”. Too much information dump. Too much arguing. Too much social impairment. Too much over-analyzing. And too much pontificating. Not enough cohesion. A lot (but of course not all) of the “professional” ones have either grown out of that phase, or else never had it to begin with. And not all of them are necessarily “older”. Some of the best, most professional ones are younger Millennials.
As a younger Millennial I have noticed this trend around me, and have struggled to overcome parts of it myself. I’ve fallen into the negative habits at times, admittedly. But now, and especially now, I see the value of the positive ones. Disillusionment is unfortunately very common among Millennials. But, so is creativity. It’s just good to have a fair mix of constructive cynicism (as weird as that sounds), and creative, professional insight. Rather than tipping the scales completely in one direction.
But we do suck at dating. That I’ll admit. Not just partly, but overall. Hookup culture affirms our horrible relationship skills. No, I don’t care if you had fun getting wasted and laying up with a bunch of Tinder-strangers: it sucks as a road-to-dating culture.
Whoops, there goes a social rant. I guess that’s me just being a total Millennial. Petty, petty, petty. But also creative.