The world is fascinated by The Millennial Generation. This ‘connected’ generation, many of whom live big parts of their lives out-loud and online, for the world to see, are the subject of fierce debate. Is this sharing of highs, lows, and all the selfies-in-between a good thing or The End of Human Interaction as we know it? Placed under the microscope, likely because they’re changing all the ‘The Rules’, this DIY generation are oft the recipients of hefty criticism – described as lazy, entitled, obsessed with their phones, narcissistic, impossible to manage, with overly high expectations and impatience.
I’ve always thought criticism that deep, tends to be rooted partly in fear. The world is changing at basically the same speed of your super-high-tech-broadband, and that can feel scary and destabilising. But for every person ‘wasting time on Snapchat’, there’s a political activist who’s organised a peaceful march for Women’s Rights in less than 48 hours – because of the connection of internet, there’s a disabled person who’s started a business from their bedroom or a writer who’s finally found a platform. And who’s to say wasting time on Snapchat is indeed a waste of time? Lest we forget, a selfie takes 5 seconds – the National Portrait Gallery is full of humans who posed FOR DAYS ON END so someone could paint a picture of them. Vanity isn’t synonymous with 2000’s.
In truth, I only JUST qualify as a Millennial by a few years, a fact I feel extremely bitter about because it means I am older than I ever intended to be. It does however, place me in the unique ‘transition to millennial’ bracket. On the one hand, I’m too old to have had smart phones in school, the internet was only just being added to phones when I was at university (in that very-slow, infuriatingly-timing-out-after-5-minutes kind of way) – so I did most of my ‘growing up’ development offline. On the other hand, having started my career working in digital and social media, literally being instructed by my first boss to ‘get a Twitter account’ – that influence crept into my personal life, and now I am maxed out on internet love. I blog, tweet, instagram, and think about starting a YouTube account approximately every 25 seconds. In short, I feel very connected to the ‘Millennial World’.
The world is suddenly full to the brim with internet entrepreneurs – and I am constantly in awe of the millennials I stumble across online who have utilised the internet to such success. Yes, sometimes when I see them being all successful and wonderful, it crushes me and makes me feel like a failure because my impact is tiny in comparison. I guess this is where the critics have a point – the internet has probably made us more vulnerable to these comparisons than before. But equally, that can either consume me with jealousy, or drive me forward. It just feels like there’s SO DANG much to be inspired by out there. Ultimately, the result of us all being more connected forces us to step outside of our ‘bubbles’ leading to a MUCH more knowledgeable and hopefully inclusive and diverse society.
Perhaps instead of admonishing the changes, we should collectively raise our game to meet the new expectations of a generation fresh with ideas and desires to revolutionise and ‘make an impact’. It’s worth remembering that no one chooses the circumstances and era they’re born into, and the internet genie is out of the bottle now. With a sharply rising cost of living, making it genuinely out of people’s reach to buy houses, have families and live comfortably – making an impact and having success is an understandable goal.
And so I I hereby launch my new blog series, to showcase some of the most incredible ‘millennials’ around – I am speaking to people who have launched their careers on the internet: bloggers, vloggers, authors, people with disabilities who stay connected online. To be honest, I am still utterly pinching myself over the number on INCREDIBLE people who have agreed to take part in this series. I absolutely CANNOT wait to share their stories with you all, please stay tuned. And have yourself a lovely day. Maybe even take a selfie? 🙂