Life as a Millennial


millennialPicture courtesy of TIME and Joel Stein

 

I love the power of the internet. I can send an email to London with a question and hear back from them within 24 hours. I can apply to a University overseas and open a British bank account just by filling out an online application and sending in some supporting information (that I, of course, have scanned in for future reference.) It is 2009 afterall, and I am a millennial, mosaic, a prime example of Generation Y. I just had a conversation earlier about how our society has become such an information-driven society: we want information and we want it now. Five minutes isn’t soon enough. Get on your Blackberry, bring up the internet and Google what you’re looking for; if you’re fairly text adept, you can probably acquire any bit of information in 2 minutes flat. If that. After all, after Michael Jackson’s passing, anyone with the internet and a facebook or Twitter account found out within 30 minutes. It’s news and we all want to know — no waiting for the morning newspaper (how 1980’s), no waiting for the nightly news or a special report on television (how 1990’s); send us a text, shoot us an email, post a microblog on your twitter account or change your facebook status. We’re all watching you, after all; waiting for your juicy newsfeed.

Technology has given us the benefit of being supreme multi-taskers; we are a new generation of people. We can drive to a business appointment, while coordinating another appointment over the phone (using our handy bluetooth), while simultaneously updating our facebook status through our iPhone or Blackberry apps. If you’re not doing at least three things at once, you’re likely wasting precious time that will be take away from social networking later in the day. Being a product of society, I quite enjoy being able to multitask; I’m a firm believer in productivity: work smarter, not harder. If I can get five hours of work crammed into one hour, why not? That leaves me extra valuable time to hit the gym, make dinner, go grocery shopping, and so on. On the flip side, I think that this transformation has made us an incredibly impatient people; we expect everyone else to be multi-tasking to the same degree that we are, and if they’re not, we get frustrated. I think it’s natural. I find myself doing it, too, when I see people paying bills by check versus paying over the internet or handling what should be super quick matters in old-fashioned (more time-consuming) ways. Additionally, I think we have lost a huge human element in our world. Instead of calling someone to talk, we shoot them an email or a message over facebook or MySpace; who has time to talk anymore? Instead of normal, face-to-face interactions, we rely on the efficiency of conference calling, Skype or internet conversation. It is undoubtedly the faster way to do things, but we don’t seem to have the same regard for people as we used to; definitely the downside to being a millenial. Our generation (Generation Y) has been described as the mosaic generation. Why? Well, because we don’t really have one attribute that defines us as a cohort; we are a complex generation that proves to be a mishmash of many different ideologies. We don’t all believe in the same things because we don’t have to. We’re ‘post-modern’ and don’t think linearly. Of course that helps add to the brilliance, I’m sure, but how can we think linearly? We haven’t been taught that way. We are the ultimate multi-taskers. We have been taught that productivity is key, and if we have paid attention to society at all, we recognize that our society has made being productive so much easier. I run into 8-year-olds who can download music while talking on their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cell phones… I mean, really? What 8-year-old needs a cell phone? Apparently kids in our society, because let’s be honest, we have to get them started early. They’ll learn the ways of the world soon enough after all. Plus, let’s face it, they need to call their parents to make sure they can coordinate their calendars for back-to-school night. Even 8-year-olds have to notify their Outlook.

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Please note: As I am writing this, I’m drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, warming up dinner and putting my laundry away. Case in point.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I too wonder about the lack of human connection that Millennials have. In place of a few deep human connections we seem to have a mosaic (to use your word) of ‘weak’ relationships supported through Facebook, blogs, Twitter, etc. An interesting result of these constant connections to acquaintances and friends is a lack of friend decay. Friend decay is the natural tendency of relationships to erode based on distance and over time, causing us to form new ones. However, as a Harvard Business Journal article pointed out, in a world where we can keep these some connection to these weak friend forever through social media, we seem to make less person to person friendships in our local community. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, but wanted to see what you thought about that phenomenon, and how to solve it if it is one. Have a good one.

    Reply

    • Yeah, I definitely think that people have begun to rely on a number of really weak connections over creating strong, real connections with people. Although social networking has allowed us to connect with a lot MORE people, the quality of our connections is compromised and many of us have lost that desire to create connections with people in our community (because we don’t really have to, I suppose.) I’m definitely a fan of the benefits of the internet, but I think most of us have felt the effects of it first hand.

      Reply

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