Generation Y is pretty lame, as it reduces them to mere followers and does not provide any sense of what might bind them together, keeping in mind that speaking of generations as groups of folks in common is pretty silly. Indeed, I tend to think of grouping people by 10-20 year hunks is pretty useless in general. But, the trons here are free, so why not?
I propose Generation Text.
- Plays on Gen X, but without being just the next letter in the alphapbet.
- It focuses attention on the fact these folks didn't wait to learn to type until high school, but have been attached to keyboards since they were kids. That they grew up in houses that had at least one computer, in schools where computer time was expected.
- My school gained regional notice because it had paper computers--simulated computers. In high school, I did work on a Wang wordprocessing station for the high school paper. And this was a school in an upper-middle area so it was ahead of many other schools. Just illustrating a) how things have changed; and b) that I am an old fart.
- This generation has not only learned touch typing at an early age so that they can play and communicate online, but they have also learned to thumb type and text each other in micro bursts of text. I am not saying this is bad or good (and my previous post on this was just silliness), just that this is a relatively unifying aspect of this generation. And it separates them from gen x, as we (or at least I) don't text that much and am certainly not speedy when we do text.
- They (old folks) used to complain about gen X multitasking--that would be watching TV and doing homework at the same time. These kids have got us beat by a mile--listening on their ipod whilst browsing the web whilst texting or chatting on their phone whilst doing homework whilst ignoring their parents.
What binds an entire generation together? Not the labels applied by their elders, but shared experiences. The new technologies may undermine the sharing of some experiences--the number of people who watch the same TV show is much, much smaller as television has splintered. But technology can work in the other direction--twitter, youtube, itunes, blogs and all the rest facilitate sharing. We can now all see the same stuff, just not at the same time. People didn't all stop and watch Leno, Letterman and Conan, but many of us caught much of it via clips.
Anyhow, I prefer to think of these folks as Generation Text, rather than the Post-9/11 generation or the generation of fear or generation Y or generation me.
So, what do my readers, Generation Text, Gen X, Baby boomers (all three of you), think?