Approximately one of three people alive in the world today is a member of the Millennial generation, now 1.7 billion strong, born in the 1980s and 1990s. According to some demographers, America’s 80 million Millennials constitute a bigger generation than the original 76 million Baby Boomers in the US alone. Millennials are a global generation, ready and able to contact and communicate with each other via their usually connected electronic devices. Here are some insights into the Millennial generation from the book “The Fast Future”.
American Millennials already have been through a great deal, including the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the Columbine tragedy, the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the 2007-2008 recession, the collapse of national economies, and the downgrading of US debt. Millennials, born into and raised amid change and upheaval, have adapted to their ever-changing environment. They know and understand the world preceding the digital revolution, but, as “digital natives,” they are completely at home with technology.
Millennials are remarkably resilient. Some analysts find them shallow, self-absorbed, materialistic narcissists with a sense of entitlement – “the dumbest generation.” But this assessment doesn’t acknowledge the Millennials’ energy, optimism, idealism and commitment to the creation of a humane and just world. Nor does it recognize Millennials’ notable achievements, including the development of numerous nonprofit organizations. Indeed, Millennials have become so closely linked with social entrepreneurship that it now partially defines their identity.
Some 58% of Millennials create…online content every week, and 71% of Millennials engage with peer-created content on a regular basis.”
Millennials tend to be optimistic, utopian visionaries, fully committed to social responsibility and willing to advocate for important change. At the same time, they are eminently practical. They understand that – to make their ideals meaningful, they must be actionable. Thus, Millennials – even when their goals are grand and ambitious – would rather take a series of small steps instead of making large dramatic actions. Comfortable in their activism, they understand the process of change to be an ongoing activity comprised of project-like increments.
Millennials are leaders in many of today’s activist movements, which differ from the radical movements of the 1960s led by young Baby Boomers. Millennial activists are every bit as idealistic as their Boomer parents and grandparents, but more practical. “We are not passive on…pressing issues; we are simply learning to work within the system,” says Marci Baranski, age 25. “We are aiming for change on a larger scale. We also understand that these changes may take the rest of our lives to accomplish.” Boomers did not trust the system, but Millennials do.
Change is the one constant Millennials expect. They operate “in ‘fast-forward’ mode,” seeing the present and the future blend seamlessly.
Millennials understand that separating fact from fiction is now more difficult than ever. The “information age” is also the “misinformation age.” Millennials capably cut through the confusion and media clutter to accomplish their goals. Pragmatism is their watchword and guides their actions.
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