Lately, news dealing with Millennial topics has been slightly negative, but it’s time to change that. We need to delve deeper into this generation and truly define the trends in our lives. It’s important to show what we represent, as well as the positive future that’s in store for us.
The first and the most obvious trend among Millennials is Technoholism. This term, coined by Tina Wells, author of Chasing Youth Culture & Getting It Right and also a member of the YEC (which was brought up in my previous article), could not describe our generation’s obsession with technology any better. Be it social networking, blogging, or just accessing information, Millennials are self-expressive and constantly connected; capturing our “undivided attention” is practically impossible because we’re either searching this, reading that, or posting this, and tweeting that.
- More than 70% of Millennials (18-29) say that high-tech devices (BlackBerrys and iPhones represent a change for the better.
- 45% say the creation of Facebook was a change for the better, and 44% say the same about internet blogging.
Technology is not intended to be viewed as a bad thing about our generation, but rather an advantage. Tina believes that Millennials will use it as an interactive platform for social media campaigns about important causes trending amongst our generation. She even points out that it could benefit the generation before us, the process of so-called “hand me-ups,” as many of us Millennials attempt to help our parents become more resourceful and up-to-date.
Although there is much controversy on how these devices are affecting communication and physical human interaction, the majority of our generation agrees that “Technology makes life easier and brings friends and families closer together.”
Another trend relative to technology is the idea of Instanity; it’s this “insane focus in having everything instantly,” or as Tina likes to call us, “The Microwave Generation.” However, the term is not confined to technological conveniences and material items, but rather in resolving matters of the world, such as fixing the economy and ending war.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Millennials are also upbeat and optimistic about the future. Despite the fact that we’re inheriting the consequential effects of the recession and struggling to get jobs, (37% of Millennials are currently unemployed, the highest it’s been since 3 decades), we’re still hopeful that in the long-term we’ll meet our financial goals.
We also have a positive outlook for the state of the nation. In 2008, Millennials were the strongest Obama supporters, giving him 66% of our vote. Nevertheless, our political enthusiasm has decreased due to the lack luster results of his presidency, but a majority of our generation still identifies itself as being liberal. Overall, we feel as though the government should be doing more to solve current societal, economic, political and global issues.
In addition, Millennials are more open to change. We’re “highly accepting of societal change such as a greater availability of green products and more racial and ethnic diversity.” To be exact, 77% of us view green products as a change for the better, and 67% agree that the same goes for racial/ethnic diversity. Our views on these topics barely differ from the generation before us; we even share a similar position on the acceptance of homosexuality, with 44% believing it is a positive trend.
Despite our overwhelming self-confidence, we tend to get along with our parents at this age (18-29) and we respect the older generation as being superior in moral values and work ethic. Our priorities are quite admirable and don’t revolve around the high-tech road an d fast-paced life that we’re most commonly associated with.
In regards to helping others in need, Tina brings up Conscious Consumption. Not only are we becoming increasingly green for the environment, but we’re avoiding frivolous spending, and the products which we do buy are either important or benefit a cause, a quick example being TOMS or any of the products endorsed by Designed Good, an organization that strives to sell items that are “uniquely made and do something good for the world.”
This leads us to another trend known as Profitable Purpose. Millennials aren’t interested in simply donating money, but being civically engaged with a certain cause with a purpose, and volunteering within their community or in communities around the world. It is part of what Tina calls an Existential Experience, in other words YOLO. Yes, while this term has been used to justify countless misbehavior among many teens, the real moral behind “you only live once,” should be seen as taking every moment as a once in a lifetime opportunity, and making the most of it for the better, not so much in a selfish way, but one that can benefit others as well as your personal well-being.
Furthermore, our generation is said to be “on track to becoming the most educated in American history.” Pew’s studies show that in 2008 the share of 18-24 year olds attending college was at an all-time high, 39.6%, with the most growth in community college enrollment, and 44% of those enrolled were planning on graduating. While it’s unfortunate that these numbers are below the 50% percent margin, it’s still hopeful that they’ll increase, with education being a prominent trend among Millennials.
This information is meant to provide an insight into understanding the Millennial perspective, our interests and the current ongoing trends within our lives. There’s more to us than just headphones, texting, and web surfing. We are involved and diverse, intelligent, active, and interested. Within our Millennial trends, it’s my hope that our successes will eliminate such pessimistic stereotypes.
Nikole Cabrera is a Featured Blogger for Mobilize.org’s The Millennial Report. She is currently pursuing a Professional Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at Syracuse University. Cabrera is a proud advocate of providing equal opportunities to every human being, volunteering for a number of causes related to education, Latinos, refugees, and poverty. In the future, Cabrera’s ultimate goal is to establish a philanthropic firm that provides communities in need, both in the US and developing countries, with low-income housing, schools, and community centers.