Tonawanda News

Columns

March 9, 2014

DUVALL: A view of Millennials

Tonawanda News — The Pew Research Center this week released a fascinating study about, well, me.

Or my generation, at least. Millennials, defined by Pew as adults ages 18 to 33 (I’m toward the upper end at 31), might eventually come to be known as the “selfie” generation. 

Pew notes I should explain to older readers what that means. More than half (55 percent) of Millennials said they have posted a selfie (a picture taken, usually with a cellphone camera, of one’s self) to a social media site. That’s about the same percentage of Baby Boomers who know what the term selfie means.

There are a lot of disparaging things to be said about my generation. Coming of age in the Facebook era — when I was in college the social media site du jour was MySpace, though a year or so later it seemed everyone joined Facebook the same week — we’re stereotyped as incredibly self-absorbed.

That can be true. We share the minutia of our lives in acute detail. Our immediate reaction to anything and everything (Twitter), what we had for lunch (food pic), where we are (Foursquare or a Facebook check-in), what we’re watching on television (GetGlue), the weather outside (Instagram) ... and on and on.

All that information does come at a cost. We spend most of our time online sifting through the garbage and insignificant mentions to find the handful of things that really matter to us. And the more time we spend sharing and liking, the less time we spend actually living.

I’m certain some of that contributes to Pew’s most interesting finding: Only 28 percent of Millennials are married. While 69 percent of those who aren’t say they would like to be married someday, the percentage of those who are is far smaller than older generations when they were our age.

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