I spend a great deal of time with Millennials – college students who were born in the early 1990s. There’s been a great deal of literature and research on this generation, much of it critical, some of it unfair. While it’s too early to pass judgment on the Millennials, I have noticed some stark differences between this generation and my own.
Here are five observations about the Millennial Generation compared to Generation X.
1. Revenge of the Nerds – For my generation, computers were the domain of nerds. There were movies made about computer nerds, most of them using nerds for fodder while others turned them into unlikely heroes. But if you were into computers during the 1980’s you were an outcast, sandwiched somewhere between the Dungeons & Dragons club and the Thespians.
The Millennial Generation was born into a world of computers, never having known the analog world. Computers are basically an extension of their personalities and realities. They sometimes are overly dependent on computers for knowledge, social connectedness, and fulfillment. Psychologists now warn of a new syndrome – “social media addiction” – that seems prevalent among young people. I’ve had students who don’t seem able to turn off their electronic devices.
Technology defines the Millennial generation. They don’t worry about the nerd thing. To the contrary, they’ve recreated society to the extent that nerd-ism is now the norm. Lewis and Gilbert were right – their time has come. It’s called the Millennial Generation.