Recently, Ajit Johnson released a series of minimalist images depicting the downfall of society thanks to millennials and their technological dependency.
And, of course, he added a hashtag. Because how else would it get popular, except through the very social media that's supposedly ruining our lives?
I'm the first to say I'm technologically dependent. I keep my phone with me everywhere -- what if I miss an email about an internship opportunity or a cancelled class? I update my friends and family on my life through Facebook because they care and I live over a thousand miles away. And I take college classes online so that I can be more available to work, so that I can afford to be a college student.
But I'm tired of being the punchline to a joke. I didn't sign up for this. So, in return, I thought I'd share some stereotypes, and some facts, about #ThisGeneration.
1. Millennials only read text messages.
But wait. It turns out that millennials are actually reading more books than older generations. And, we may be less likely to visit a library, but we're more likely to use their online resources. Apparently, even though we're all supposedly staring at our phones 24/7, we also read books. Crazy, I know. A generation that communicates so much through some form of text -- messages, blogs, email -- actually values reading?
2. We use TeXt Sp33k.
Fun Fact: I've never actually seen people text like that or write like that, except maybe as a joke. But we have adapted the way we communicate over text. Because it's hard to communicate the full meaning of something through just text, we have to be creative. "Come hoommmmeeeeee," and "Come home," don't mean the same thing. Neither does "K," "Okayyyy," or "Ok." Language adapts all the time. It's the reason why we don't all still write like Shakespeare. Now, we can cry about it, or appreciate that now that we can better describe our feelings and tone through language.
3. Our only permanent address is our email address.
Millennials are less likely to own a home than previous generations. Not because we don't want to, but because after college, the last thing we can afford is yet another loan.
4. Teen pregnancy rates are up, and marriages nowadays have a 50/50 chance of ending in divorce.
Nope. Nope. Just nope.
Teen pregnancy rates have been decreasing, and we're less likely to divorce. We're educating ourselves more and marrying later, two things that have shown to decrease the likelihood of divorce. And as for teen pregnancy, it's dropped to a new low. But when the generation before us, the one that decides our sex education in schools, refuses to teach us anything other than abstinence-only, our pregnancy rates go up. So thanks guys.
#ThisGeneration is different. A college degree doesn't guarantee a career in my field. I probably won't get married until I'm 30, and I'll be paying off student loans until at least then. And hey, maybe I'd rather be on my iPhone talking to my friends than socializing with the strangers around me. You can tell me this is all my fault and that I'm ruining society, but I have to disagree with you. I'm capable of forming more meaningful relationships with those not geographically close to me. I'm more likely to consume some sort of news daily and I'm more likely to volunteer.
There are lots of things wrong with today's society. But we can either bemoan the selfishness of this new generation and yearn for the good ol' days, or we can try to improve. Change is scary, but progress isn't inherently bad.