Today I discovered that I was a ‘Millennial”.
I have heard of these cohort categories. My eyes skimmed over them in articles and books, previously, but I had never understood what they meant.
Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z.
What are these categories? Why am I in a category I know nothing about? I don’t particularly want to be put in a division. Why am I, and other people born in the era I was born in, defined by a set of observations?
I decided to do some research.
I found out that I have only just scraped the ‘Millennial’ category by a nose hair. If I had been born nine months later, I would have been a member of ‘Generation Z’, a generation people still don’t know much about as they are only just coming of age.
What are they like? Who knows. How have they been socialised? Some people have theories, but they won’t know for sure until those kids start becoming proper members of society and contributing more. It is thought that the members of this cohort will be more technically savvy than their Millennial forerunners, who, like me, grew up using dial up connection and still have VHS when they were very little. They will be highly diverse, and highly sophisticated.
I discovered some interesting things about Baby Boomers, and Generation X, the category my parents fall into.
I still don’t know why we are categorised like this, but it is interesting from a social perspective, seeing in words how the trends and politics of our eras have an effect on us as a whole generation, that each generation will have something similar the unites them. It’s interesting because parents are always saying things like ‘when I was your age’, even though we are in a society that is extremely different.
For example, my mum had black and white telly, there was no ‘satellite’ (cable TV) and certainly no internet and computers. She didn’t get a mobile phone until she was forty. Social gatherings for her were very different from social gatherings for us. Now kids aged two know how to swipe phones and access the apps they enjoy. My seventy year old neighbour is putting off using her new smartphone (which she bought in defiance of her daughter who told her to get a simple keypad phone.. “I’m going to show her I can use these new phones!”) because she keeps touching the wrong things on the screen and it makes her frustrated. Three generations right there, of course they are going to speak different ‘lingo’ and have different lifestyles.
People are not only socialised by their families. They are very much shaped by their societies.
We are now in a society which is progressing technologically at an alarming rate. I can give you a small example using my iPhone 4s, which is no longer compatible with the new wifi router my mother has had installed in her house. My phone’s wifi connection cannot connect with the new wifi technology, even though my iPhone was released only 2.5 years ago. You see?! It’s crazy. What impact does this have on us now, and what impact will it have on our future children, born into this technology? I wasn’t born into the technology. When I was born, the internet was only just starting to tick its gears. Now it is zooming full steam, and it’s not one of those chuggy trains, it’s a sleek silver snake going at 200 miles an hour.
I don’t quite know exactly what my point is here. This was a bit of a ramble.
Which generation do you come from?