Staring Down Millennial Stereotypes

This is Brenna’s second post for the blog. She is interning with Crossroads Communications from OSU and has quickly become an important part of our team. — Mandy

As a part of the Millennial generation, I am constantly branded with stereotypes like I am addicted to technology, that I want to be a movie star when I am older or that I don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Well, thanks to the recent McCann Worldgroup Truth About Youth study and through my personal experiences, I hope this post will dispel some of those unjust stereotypes about my generation.

Stereotype No. 1: We are addicted to technology.
In reality, we see technology as a time waster. I know that I personally check Facebook and Twitter multiple times a day but for me, I do it out of boredom. When I am in class along with quite a few of my classmates, phones are out of sight, out of mind. No one is that popular to where they have to constantly be on their phone. As far as Facebook goes, the more friends you have, doesn’t make you any more popular than someone with say 100 friends. A lot of people have “friends” that they don’t know personally. It is all about keeping tabs; One of the main reasons I use Facebook is to look at people’s pictures and see what they are up to. I think for a lot of people my age, Facebook is a time-waster in that people get stuck on Facebook for hours do what we call “creeping.” It’s just one thought of like, “Oh what are they up to?” so you click over to their profile. We have the ability to not constantly be on our phones. Believe it or not, we can stay focused on things other than technology, but no one ever gives us a chance to prove it.

Stereotype No. 2: We all want to be some famous celebrity when we are older.
This is most definitely untrue. Every single person I know who is an amazing singer or dancer or has any other noteworthy talent, doesn’t give a hoot about being famous. They do what they love because they love it, not for the fame and fortune. I mean sure people my age see the perks of being famous but to us, we translate those things into our own lives. Every now and I again, a group of my friends sit down and have a somewhat scary talk about marriage and the future. In these conversations, it is always the same key points of wanting a family and being able to provide for our children. It’s never like oh what crazy thing can I do for my 15 minutes of fame. Also I don’t think a lot of famous people necessarily had it set in their minds that they wanted to be famous, but rather that they just sort of stumbled upon it.

Stereotype No. 3: We don’t know the difference between what society deems to be right and wrong.
One part of the study showed a comparison between what the Millennials and members from older generations thought about things like illegal music downloads and whether you should give technology or a person speaking your attention. I thought this section was interesting because I definitely see where my generation thinks of downloading music illegally isn’t stealing. It’s so commonplace to get your music from sites like Limewire or YouTube that it’s not looked down upon by our peers. It’s looked down upon for buying music from places like iTunes because people think it’s crazy to pay $1.29 for a song you could get for free. As far as paying attention to someone who is speaking, I think it is rude to not give them your full attention because imagine yourself up there talking, you wouldn’t want people staring at their phones. I am the first to admit too that I do sometimes get distracted by my phone in presentations especially if I need to get something important done. But ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the person speaking worked hard on whatever they are presenting and took time out of their lives to present it. Sure it may not be the most interesting thing to listen to but it’s respectful, which is one thing that is slowly disappearing with my generation. I think the study was true in some aspects; however, I don’t think studying 7,000 Millennials worldwide is an accurate way to perceive everyone from my generation. Also I think a lot of my generation’s views are personal. What I mean by that is, I feel a lot of each person’s views were shaped by how they were raised. So before anyone tries to judge or stereotype members of my generation, take five minutes and get to know us because we aren’t all the same.

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One Response to “Staring Down Millennial Stereotypes”

  1. Roni Weiss June 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    I was born in 1983. Here’s my take:

    Stereotype No. 1: We are addicted to technology.

    I think ‘addiction’ is an overused word. Technology fits in how I live. Without it, my quality of life and connections to others would be greatly lessened.

    Stereotype No. 2: We all want to be some famous celebrity when we are older.

    I’ve always sought fame.

    Stereotype No. 3: We don’t know the difference between what society deems to be right and wrong.

    I have no idea what this means. What is ‘society’, anyway? Obviously, these things are shifting. Is being gay ‘wrong’? In some societies, it’s still taboo, even some in my native US.

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