First off, according to the Pew Research Center, I am certainly a millennial. I received a score of 95/100 on their quiz, which is really saying something considering anything over a 73/100 constitutes a “millennial”. However, I personally was pretty surprised by this result. Yes, I send a fair amount of texts, have a Facebook page, and haven’t used a landline phone in years, but I’ve always felt like I did this in moderation compared to lots of other people my age. I have an iPhone and Macbook, but use them for mostly their basic purposes. Anyone that knows me would say I’m absolutely not a tech genius. I never thought I truly fit into the millennial stereotype, which made me curious about the scores other members of our class received.
The more I thought about it, I realized that the big factor missing from my initial reaction was context. The Pew Research Center quiz asked questions were very simple and straightforward, but the questions were about much more than just technology. They covered a broad range of topics, including career aspirations, religious values, and family background. I think a common misunderstanding regarding millennials, one that I am certainly guilty of as well, is grouping millennials exclusively with the rapid advances in technology that have occurred over the past twenty years. The Millennial generation should be analyzed based off the societal, cultural, economic, and other changes that have taken place over the last couple decades.
For example, the Pew Report on Millennials as confident, liberal, upbeat, self-expressive, and open to change. We are ethnically and racially diverse, less religious, less involved with the military, and very educated. All of this is discussed in the Pew Report before the classic “always connected” phrase is thrown around. When I think of millennials I always think of the phrases tossed around in the news to describe the generation: “always connected”, “tech-savvy”, “on the go”. The Pew Report did a good job of investigating the trends behind the actual development of the generation. The more I read the report, the more I realized that I am a millennial after all. The characteristics and beliefs, such as religiously and socially, that separate me from my parents were laid out in detail in the Pew Report.
The questions that I find interesting are where will the millennials be in a few decades, and what will the next generation’s defining qualities be? Possibly the millennials will use their forward thinking to fully embrace a green initiative in order to protect the environment. Or maybe a strong environmental movement will be a hallmark of the next generation. It’s fun to think about the possibilities that exist in the future, and I’m excited to see how everything will play out.