Stop Calling Them Millennials

The Pew Research Center defines Millennials as Americans born between 1981 and 1997. Two years ago, Time magazine said people born between 1980 or 1981 and 2000 are Millennials. Most other definitions cite similar date ranges.

But I don't think Millennials are defined solely by their age. Sure, date of birth provides some guideposts, but Millennials are better defined by psychographic traits — like confidence, entitlement, tolerance, and narcissism. And one platform has done more to foster these traits than any other: Facebook.

Facebook has shaped the way this generation behaves as consumers and employees. It has influenced this generation's attitudes about privacy and has redefined "friendship."

In my opinion, a "Millennial" is someone who started using Facebook while they were in college, high school, or junior high school. But let's stop calling them Millennials.

We should rename "Millennials" the Facebook Generation.

College students started using Facebook in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, Facebook was opened to everyone at least 13 years old, which is when most junior high and high school students started joining the social network. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who was in high school or college in 2006 who did not use Facebook.

These days, fewer and fewer 13 year olds are even joining Facebook, which, according to my definition, indicates the tail end of the Facebook Generation. Note I also define the generation based on when they started using Facebook. Let's not split hairs: while grandma may have gone back to college when she was 70, I hope you know that's not what I mean.

Like every generational label, there are individual exceptions. But my definition speaks to the generation's more important psychographic traits than does a date range. Facebook did more to enable "Millennials'" attitudes and behaviors than any other single source of influence.

There's never a lack of ideas.

Image source: Wikipedia.


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