Also social media is awesome. Don’t let others tell you otherwise.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about generation Y and our status as the ‘entitled’ generation. This is partially because of Joel Stein’s article in time located here (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2143001,00.html?pcd=pw-edit) where he so artfully dubs us the Me Generation. I also read the really fascinating response by Tyler Mangrum at HackCollege (http://www.hackcollege.com/blog/2013/05/13/generation-us-where-joel-stein-got-it-wrong.html), which if you’re a college student who’s not ready Hack College, correct that mistake immediately. I’ll admit, being part of Gen Y, my heart naturally goes out to us. But at the same time, I wonder if the point that Mr. Stein and many others have made holds any weight.
Bonus note: Cheap college student that I am, I wasn’t actually able to read all of Mr. Stein’s article in full – since I don’t have a subscription – so I will try to keep my comments focused on general comments about Gen Y, instead of criticizing him directly.
So just what it is that has others pegging Gen Y as the most selfish, entitled generation? Some of it is understandable. All social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are designed with the purpose of having us connect with other people on an online platform. But for the most part, it functions as us providing a platform for our opinions, with the hope that we’ll find like minded people to share our viewpoints (or at least compliment our selfies).
And to a certain extent, I agree with that standpoint. Especially for teenagers, the internet has given us the freedom to let all of our complaints out into the world, and find a safe haven. Unfortunately this sometimes has negative consequences and gives others in society a platform to spew anger and hate, but there’s a community for everyone out there I suppose.
But that’s not the real issue at hand. To an extent, every generation has been given a negative label by the previous ones, and its important to see whether Gen Y lives up to its self entitled label. And the answer unsurprisingly, is yes and no.
I believe a lot of the entitlement other generations see in us is actually a deep seated frustration. (Note: This is probably more relevant and true towards 90s kids.) Most of us grew up in a time where we were protected and warned against any kind of danger. Most of my childhood was interrupted with PSAs saying don’t do drugs/sex/-insert-obscenity-here. We had our raunchy cartoons and computers and soon enough, our MySpace and Facebook. Unlike our parents, we had a platform where we could talk to anyone, anywhere in the world, and in some cases our parents wouldn’t even know. We had all of our exciting and shiny gadgets and it was awesome.
And then the recession happened. And suddenly we had everything and nothing at all. Now that the social media revolution is spilling over into the working world we may have more job opportunities but at the original point and time, we were in a bad economy with little preparation and god forbid if you had a non science, technical, financial, or health degree no marketable skills. And instead of being complacent, we fought back. We were angry about the economy, angry at politicians, and angry at the fact that we had no real solution to the problem.
And just like Gen X, I think we’ll have to solve this problem by creating our own revolution. Even though we were essentially thrown out into the world without direction, every generation has had that moment to themselves. There’s a time where we’ll have to figure it out and fight back. I can’t wait to see that revolution within our generation, and that’s partially why I want to be in Library and Information Science. While my focus is on the more medical aspects, I want to help out with that revolution. Maybe once we reach there, we can finally get rid of articles such as Mr. Stein’s Me Generation. The next Generation (Z? I don’t even know) can pick up the slack for us next time.
What do you think about the Generation Y issue?