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Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 02/24/2012

No, Nielsen, we aren’t Generation C


This picture of the Millennial Velodrome in Budapest was not what I had in mind when searching for stock images of Millennials, but it will have to do. (Bela Szandelszky - AP)
Dang it, Nielsen. We 18-34 Highly Connected Youth Types aren’t Generation C.

Speaking as someone who falls squarely into this coveted demographic, I have to say: Generation C is just plain stupid.

Consider: of the four currently remaining GOP candidates for president, asked to describe themselves with a single word, three out of four chose C words to describe themselves. Courage. Consistent. Cheerful.

We are none of those things.

Why did they pick C? C . . . for connected? Consumers? Content? Really? There are so many other C-words. Don’t make me spell them out. For instance, C is for Cookie. That’s good enough for me.

Really, where did they get this goshforsaken letter?

C might be for our grades, but thanks to grade inflation, those are few and far between.

C is a vitamin. C is a section. C has no resonance with us.

Generation C?

I'm not just saying this because I came up with Generation I two years ago — I for irony, iPhones, and the Internet — and I think it was better. That dead horse has sailed and that ship has been beaten to death.

To be frank, you could do something better with almost any letter.

Generation G, if you want speed and connectivity. Generation 3G or 4G if you want more of the above, from your wireless provider.

Even Generation S would be better than Generation C. C is for cell phones. S is for smartphones. C is for Call. S is for SMS. C is for that annoying MS Word paper Clip. S is for Siri. C is for courtship. S is for sex. C is for college fund. S is for student loan debt. C is for competence. S is for Still At Grad School. C is for curmudgeon. S is for Social Media.

In fact, I'm amazed the Nielsen folks didn’t pick Generation Social Media. There's nothing that greybearded souls trying desperately to bottle the zeitgeist of Today's Youth enjoy more than mentioning “social media” in contexts where doing so is not strictly appropriate — with the possible exception of picking a random letter and trying to force it on us, using social media as a vague justification.

Abandoning letters, even Generation Personal Essay would be better. Generation WiFi. Generation Text. Generation Google. Generation Trail of Embarrassing Old Personal Pages All Over The Internet. Generation Fanfic. Generation Geek. Generation Phat, if we’re being ironic here. Generation Tter, for Twitter and Potter. And those are all terrible.

Worse yet, type Generation C into Google and it suggests Generation Catalano. It's the sad refuse of one of our periodic spurts of personal essays, when everyone was trying to come up with an oddly specific niche for his or her particular year of birth. It refers to the generation stuck between Generation X and the Millennials.

Which brings me to the correct name for us, at least the younger half of us: Millennials.

If I still thought we were going by the Generation Letter system, I would still be beating the cold, dead horse of Generation I. But there's no point. Everyone calls us Millennials. There have been too many op-eds, too many studies, too many books, too much detritus of Conversation and Statistics and Opinion for us to switch horses so far midstream. Besides, if @MrsKutcher hasn’t changed her Twitter handle yet, we certainly can’t rename a whole generation.

It's like trying to change your name midway through high school. It just won’t work. People know us now.

By  |  08:00 AM ET, 02/24/2012

Tags:  Millennials

 
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