A new generation of thought
A new study came out about me, and I learned some things I never knew. Pew Research released its latest study of America’s four, “named,” generations. I am a Millennial, which is anyone ranging from age 18 to 33 as of this year. Studies like this are of course exciting in a Web culture where we can all indulge in the idea that someone is interested in what we think.
Corporations, political parties, and marketing gurus all want to know how to snag our loyalty early so we can help them grow for the rest of our lives. In simple terms and for a short while, we are the cool generation everyone wants to know. And according to this study, we have the most Facebook friends. Sorry Boomers and GenX, but we average 250 online friends. The study also found some real information as well.
Millennials are usually politically independent and on average see little difference between the two major political parties. We are decidedly liberal on gay marriage and marijuana. The traditional divides like abortion and gun control remain. Our confidence in President Obama is down, and we are no more excited about the Affordable Care Act than the generations who came before us. So, what can politicians and advertisers take from this information?
Do not draw lines. One thing I can tell you, from both my personal life and my friends, is that we want solutions and not divisions. Our first political memory is President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, which was followed by the volatile Bush years. Now partisanship has somehow worsened and the president can legally kill U.S. citizens without a trial in the right situation. To say the least, we are a bit bitter on Boomers and GenX’s political leadership. Polls show the other generations are not real happy either.
Millennials are only different because these self-promoting institutions are far less important to us on a whole. We have never seen them work, and are less likely to use our affiliations to define ourselves when meeting someone new. Look up the study. It shows we think churches are nice, but we can pray without someone else’s guidance. The same goes for how we will vote and what we buy. We may have started off as generation ruled by Democrats, but you will quickly see institutions do not rule us at all. We are guided by specific values. We value family, our ability to help others, our right to help ourselves, and demand everyone be treated as equals.
Alex Schuman is an award-winning broadcast journalist. The University of Iowa graduate is a produced playwright and currently reports for WHAS-TV in Louisville, Ky. He is a former Fort Dodge resident who was an intern for The Messenger.