Taggeneration gap

Generation Make

Urban Farm Store by maggiekate

William Deresiewicz tries his hand pinpointing what defines the Millennial Generation:

Today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business. Every artistic or moral aspiration — music, food, good works, what have you — is expressed in those terms.

Call it Generation Sell.

Bands are still bands, but now they’re little businesses, as well: self-produced, self-published, self-managed. When I hear from young people who want to get off the careerist treadmill and do something meaningful, they talk, most often, about opening a restaurant. Nonprofits are still hip, but students don’t dream about joining one, they dream about starting one. In any case, what’s really hip is social entrepreneurship — companies that try to make money responsibly, then give it all away.

My take is that it’s perhaps not as much about selling stuff – though working in marketing and advertising has become sort of glorified – as it is about making stuff. We’ve seen a big rise in maker culture, crafting, urban farming, food carts (called food trucks outside of Portland), steampunk, a resurgence in print magazines (Coilhouse, Dodgem Logic) etc. A lot of the excitement is about making physical things, but making apps, websites and events is popular as well.

It is noteworthy thought that modern counter cultures seem to have business models built right in. As I’ve written before, bike culture is big business and a cottage industry of books and DVDs sprung up around the 9/11 Truth movement (I think these things have become more coopted than they were when I wrote that column in 2007, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).

Deresiewicz only just touches on one important thing: the tendency he identified isn’t actually limited to millennials – it’s infected culture as a whole, at least in middle class North America (I’m reminded of this commentary by Gustavo Arellano who points out that none of this is actually new for Latin families living in the U.S). As I keep saying, this seems to be more of a broad cultural shift rather than a generational difference.

Update: Looks like TechCrunch has a similar take.

(Photo by maggiekate)

New Survey “Proves” There’s a Generation Gap Between Workers

The Globe and Mail covers a new survey of Canadian workers of different ages:

The millennial generation, workers in their 20s, are most likely to want a job that offers quick advancement, congenial co-workers and fun.

Generation X workers, in their 30s and early 40s, put the most value on balance between hours at work and their personal lives.

Baby boomers, between 45 and 60, are most likely to say they want to continue to grow and use their skills on the job and get clear information from management on what’s expected from them.

Mature workers, over 60, are actually more concerned with advancement than boomers or generation X.

Globe and Mail: Study of workplace priorities highlights generation gap

Does this show a generation gap? I suppose it depends on what you mean by “generation gap.” It could just show that people at different stages of their careers value different things. People just starting their careers want to find a job they like that has room for advancement. People further along in their careers, who are more likely to have families, are concerned with work/life balance. Workers older still start to be interested in developing skills and advancement again, as they look towards paying their kids’ way through college and saving for retirement. Maybe that’s a “generation gap.” Maybe it’s just a normal, natural cycle.

The article also mentions that older workers are more likely to value challenging work than millennials, while millennials value a “fun” workplace. That could indicate a shift in maturity as workers get older, but it’s probably worth noting that part of what makes work “fun” is challenge. It could be that older workers just have a better idea of what makes work rewarding. Though it is possible that there’s a generational difference between the prioritization of work and fun (there’s been some interesting research about which one is more motivating).

See also:

Debunking The Millennials’ Work Ethic “Problem”

Genreational differences

Interesting polling data on the “millennial” generation


Interesting polling data on my generation:

Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials — the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium — have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.

They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They’re less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

Their entry into careers and first jobs has been badly set back by the Great Recession, but they are more upbeat than their elders about their own economic futures as well as about the overall state of the nation.

Read More – Pew Research: Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change.

(via Theoretick)

See also: Generational Differences.

Over 60% of Boomers using social media

A new report from Forrester Research revealed some surprising information: apparently Baby Boomers aren’t exactly the technology Luddites that people think they are. In fact, more than 60 percent of those in this generational group actively consume socially created content like blogs, videos, podcasts, and forums. What’s more, the percentage of those participating is on the rise.

In 2007, the percentage of Boomers consuming social media was 46% for Younger Boomers (ages 43 to 52) and 39% for Older Boomers (ages 53 to 63). By 2008, those number increased to 67% and 62%, respectively.

The number of Boomers reacting to content posted online, as opposed to just passively consuming it, is also trending upwards. For example, the proportion of Older Boomers reacting to content doubled from 15% in 2007 to 34% in 2008. According to Forrester, this is now a percentage that’s high enough to target this group with a social application.

Joining social networks is also becoming a widely popular among the Younger Boomers. Today, almost one in four Younger Boomers are active in social networks, up from 15% in 2007.

Full Story: Read Write Web

See also my article on why generational differences are greatly exaggerated

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