I guess I’m a Millennial.
I’m older than 20 and less than 30, so I fall into the Millennial age range. But even though I’m on my phone for the majority of the day and have the occasional brunch, I try my best to ignore my generation's label.
Why, you ask? Well, because I’m not a fan of labels, for starters, since they tend to become stereotypes. And when it comes to labeling an entire generation, a single word can only be so accurate.
When most people picture a Millennial, they think of one person: an unambitious 20-something who's taking a selfie and looking for a casual hookup.
And while these characteristics might apply to some Millennials, they shouldn't define all of us.
I will grant that stereotypes exist for a reason. Millennials might take a lot of selfies, and some of us might participate in the hook-up culture. But in the grand scheme of things, our generation really isn’t that different from the one before us.
Ultimately, we’re nothing more than products of the devices that we grew up with.
If our parents had iPhones in college, I’m sure they’d be doing the same sh*t. The adjectives that people associate with Millennials -- lazy, egocentric, spoiled -- aren’t new concepts. They’re fundamental elements of human nature.
Members of our generation -- more than anyone who lived before them -- ably broadcast their daily lives. We can tweet about our day-to-day sh*t. We’re certainly the most transparent generation, so it’s only natural for us to become trapped in our own worlds.
But keep in mind that it was the generation before us that enabled us to live like this. After all, I didn’t invent my iPhone, and I definitely didn’t invent brunch.
Millennials have become trapped in our own worlds through no fault of our own. And, somewhere along the way, we've become symbols of a changing society.
We’re the most isolated, but we’re also the most innovative.
Because of social media, it’s hard to not get caught up in our own personal lives. The majority of us use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to express ourselves and give our friends an idea of what we're doing.
With that said, though we might use these services to “connect” with friends and family, it feels like we’re isolating ourselves in the process.
Social media gives us instant gratification. You post a picture, and you’re going to want a certain amount of likes before the first 20 minutes. You tweet something you think is funny, and you’re going to want X amount of retweets.
This attention makes us feel accepted and validated.
But the more validation we receive through our online personas, the less effort we invest in real-life, face-to-face connections.
So, in reality, social media can become rather isolating. We get so caught up in our online personas that we forget about our real ones.
But after spending so much time on the Internet, we’ve actually gotten very creative with it.
We’ve invented an entire new genre of humor -- one that’s exclusive to places with proper WiFi. We’ve made our apps and websites and run with them, creating memes, hashtags, trending topics -- you name it.
We’ve pretty much eliminated the need for print news, as sad as that might sound. And we’ve even watched young people become famous because of viral videos (and we've given a whole new meaning to "viral").
None of these things were possible 20 or 30 years ago. But adults paved the way for us to make them happen.
And while we might be the most innovative, we’re also the most ignorant.
It’s true that we live in a bubble. Yes, our inventions have allowed us to be creative in new and unprecedented ways. But they've also prevented us from learning about the world outside our bubble.
Honestly, if there’s one truthful stereotype about our generation, it’s that most of us can't see past the end of our own noses.
We’re so caught up in our own lives that we lose sight of the things around us -- past and present.
We receive our news via Facebook and Twitter's trending topics.
Because we're spoon-fed our information, we're not motivated to go out and obtain it on our own. We’ve become so dependent on the Internet for our news that we’ve become less independent thinkers.
While I can almost guarantee that the majority of Millennials with a smartphone can tell you how to use a particular meme, I’m not sure there's any true benefit to having this knowledge.
This useless knowledge occupies our attention so much that we don't go out and learn about things that are more fulfilling.
Then again, who’s to judge what’s TRULY fulfilling?
Meaning is subjective. Many people see Millennials as being obsessed with trivial things -- things exclusive to iPhone screens.
But if that's what's captured the interest of an entire generation of people, it's hard to refute its inherent meaning and power.
Maybe -- just maybe -- we’ve actually created some meaningful sh*t. And the world needs to start recognizing that.