The problem with ‘millennials’

The problem with ‘millennials’

I really hate that word. Millennials. It’s so horrible. As a ‘millennial’ myself, it just rubs me the wrong way so often. The worst part is that in every day life I see it all the time. I’m emailed with articles about how to better target millennials; how we use technology, what our social habits are, and to be honest I find two things very bizarre about it all.

Problem One

My first problem is the way these articles refer to millennials, in a weird, Attenborough-esque way, as if he’s narrating some sort of modern documentary. For example, I recently read this in a Forbes article about how millennials approach sex.

“[T]ask-oriented millennial employees just want to know what to do; reading emotions can be an unhelpful chore. They default to whichever communication method will help them complete their to-do list as efficiently as possible — a priority that is reflected in how they communicate more generally.”

Isn’t that just creepy and weird? Approaching our sexual habits like one would a gorilla’s, or a cow’s. So detached and, frankly, derogatory.  

Problem Two

My second problem with the word ‘millennial’ stems from a feeling I had about it, that was then backed up by an Hootsuite blog post I read the other day about the social media habits of millennials. Basically, the crux of the article said that millennials targets anyone in a 20 year gap – as that’s generally considered a ‘generation’. However, the article reasoned that I would use social media platforms differently from my 14 year old cousin, despite the fact that we are both ‘millennials’.

The blog post absolutely nailed it for me (and to be honest, Hootsuite are usually spot on with their blog posts), because I tend to stick more to Twitter and Instagram, whereas my 14 year old cousin uses mainly Kik or Snapchat (I only use Snapchat when I’m quite drunk or on holiday, and I’ve never really got into Kik.)

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This is my main problem with brands; when they say ‘we want to target millennials’. That, for me, is such a troubling phrase, because it can be anyone in a 20 year gap. My cousin isn’t going to waste her allowance on your product, but I might, as I’ve got a full time job.

Instead, you should be looking at specific ages. Instead of ‘we want to target millennials’, just say ‘we want to target those in their early 20s’ or ‘we want to target teenagers’, because, let’s be honest, those two groups have differing needs and budgets.

For me, those are my main gripes with the word ‘millennials’, especially as a millennial myself. However, for the life of me, and no matter how much it grates on me, I can’t think of a better way to phrase this generation, outside of using specific ages.

If you know of a better word or phrase, drop me a line below.