Why we use the term ‘Millennial’

Every day there’s a new reason to spit on the word “Millennial.”

The Guardian – its online presence being a mega content farm – published on Monday a piece by a writer named “Daisy Buchanan” proclaiming “22 reasons why it’s good to be a Millennial.” Our female lead from “The Great Gatsby” hits all the obvious points: we’re socially aware, mental health awareness, activism, instant access to the past, living in a golden age of television, etc.

It’s like every Millennials-are-great piece before it.

On the other end of the spectrum, some Blaze commentator named Tomi Lahren apparently railed on Millennial men for being “soft.” We whine more, we don’t know how to change tires, etc. Yes, it keeps with the Conservative theme of “Men must be Men,” but it’s like every Millennials-are-bad piece before it.

Meanwhile more and more people are simply tired of hearing the word “Millennial.” A story a few months ago told us Millennials hate being called Millennials. That was very meta.

So what’s the deal here?

I use “Millennial” because trends have emerged in this rather large cohort. Those trends, while sometimes very similar to earlier trends from earlier generations, are still very unique to most of the people in this group of people born between 1982 and 2000.

I can also draw from history when explaining Millennials, because there are clear and definite plot points through time that we can connect to specific trends and movements.

Put it this way: I’m trying to explain the way things are, and to do that, you have to segment a little. You have to use a few labels. It’s how people absorb information, so I respond to that.

I’d like to believe this is why most people use terms like “Millennials,” or “Baby Boomers” or whatever. It’s easy to segment, easy to explain, easy to demonstrate through data.

But why do people hate it so much?

Way back in the beginning of the Pin Drop, in September, I asked why Millennials didn’t like the label. And I surmised a lot of it had to do with how others perceived Millennials; specifically, commentators, critics, other generations … they all deride the label, which turns us away from it:

“How do we get away from being – in our own minds – self-absorbed, wasteful, and greedy? And how do we remain environmentally-conscious, idealistic, and entrepreneurial in the process?

There’s an easy answer: Don’t listen to them. If you ignore the commentators and critics who are quick to use the term “Millennial” as a crutch, and just start doing the work, you’ll make a much bigger difference.

Basically, stop reading the self-absorbed pieces about why it’s great to be a Millennial. And stop caring about the angry commentators who seem to think a Man has to be a certain type. That person has her own personal issues to work out; she’s only projecting her issues on you.

Meanwhile, use the Millennial data for good. Read the trends and see where you can do the most good. That’s where, I hope, people like me can help. I’m always using “Millennial,” but more as an indicator and less as a reason. The difference is that I aim to inform, not to get cheap heat.