This just in from MillenialGeneration.org. I am interested in the nature of the Millenial Generation because they are potential allies with Elders and Elderhood. Unfortunately, this appears to be a “dead end” blog that went dark in the summer of 2009.
Here are a few of its “trapped in amber” takes on this generation’s world-view.
“The 2006 Cone Millennial Cause Study” found that 61 percent of Millennials feel personally obligated to make a difference in the world, and a full 78 percent believe that companies have a responsibility to join them in this effort. This is also the 9/11 generation, one that wants to be active in social causes, and information technology has made it that much easier to connect with different causes around the world.
Something is changing in the way Millennials have conversations. More and more, words like “hi” and “bye” – words that mark the beginnings and endings of conversations – are becoming less important.
In the old days (well, not that old – like ten or twenty years ago), when you wanted to talk to a friend, you had a few options. You could write an email or letter, you could call him or her up on the phone, or you meet in person. All these encounters usually mean an initial “hello,” and then a “goodbye” of some sort to mark the end to the conversation or letter.
More and more often, Millennials converse with friends via 24/7, ongoing conversations like on Facebook, texting, Twitter, and various chat applications (like on Gmail). For example, rather than one discreet, 30-minute conversation on the phone, we’re more likely to exchange text messages all day, or write on each other’s Facebook walls for a week. There’s no “hi” and “bye” marking the beginning and end of an interaction, because they’re ongoing.
These days, all generations use technology like email, cell phones, texting, etc., to keep up with friends. The difference is that older generations are more likely to use these techologies to have more traditional conversations, with beginnings and endings. Millennials are more likely to use technologies that provide “ambient intimacy” – which is kind of like being at a party, where you’re aware of what everyone is doing, but you’re not directly engaging with everyone all the time. The Facebook newsfeed is a prime example. Meanwhile, Millennials are managing multiple ongoing conversations at once.
Grown-ups have been fretting over this for several years now – teenagers these days have a much more casual approach to sex, forming relationships through hooking up rather than “dating.” While that can be dangerous and unhealthy in its extreme, sometimes it’s just good old-fashioned making out and other relatively harmless activities. The New York Times published an op-ed on it yesterday, and according to a professor who was interviewed, “hooking up emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating, and, therefore, removes the negative stigma from those who can’t get a date.” That’s actually a very Millennial way to go about things, isn’t it? Sharing, and looking out for one another, in the tradition of “everyone gets a trophy.” While my older Millennial friends – now in our mid-20s – do go on official “dates” now and then, most of us didn’t start “dating” until recently, though most had been forming relationships all along. Through high school and college, it was much more about getting to know people in social settings, getting together in groups of friends, and if things happened with someone, then they happened… without the formality of a date.