I’ve started reading a book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…And Rethinking Faith. My Dad and I are going to do a little blog back and forth on the topic in a few weeks, specifically we’ll be talkin’ ’bout my g-g-generation.
This book is concerned with what is commonly known as “the millennials”, mostly people 18-29 (I’m 28). The book refers to this generation as the “mosaics” (1984-2004), a name which is meant to capture the wide variance in viewpoints and experience.
But I’ve never really felt like a millennial, and not just because I’m on the edge of the boundary. I’m not a gen X’er, but I feel I have more in common with people 10 years older than me than 10 years younger. Maybe a little bit of that is my current age and demographic, married guy/engineer/homeowner, but if I think about it I felt the same way even before I was any of those things.
I think there’s a split somewhere around 1997-98 or what I’ve called the “floppy” line*. The split has little to do with the floppy disk itself and more to do with the ubiquity of the internet and the always connected society. Take this quote from a recent popular post by a millennial:
“We live in a country in which you don’t exist until you’re online.” ~Source: Be Like Aslan
I work in the tech industry, in a business that supports the cloud, and that sentiment makes me shudder. I fully appreciate the fact that 99% of you would never have heard of me until I started this blog, and certainly my current vocation and avocation rely on the on-line world. But I was doing plenty of existing before sitting in front of a keyboard, or a phone or a tablet. So much of my life and my destiny were shaped by interpersonal connections in the real world (I met my wife in Bible study).
I am not a “netizen” by birthright, but children born in 1997-1998 were.
I’m not making an entitlement comment. It is the goal of parents to give their children a better world than the one in which they lived, and technological advances have always been a part of that. I just feel like I’m part of a generation that has grown up with technology, but has not been shaped by it in the same way as those 10-15 years our juniors. For me, technology is external, a tool for doing the things I want to do. It’s not a part of my life, or at least not a part of my perception of reality.
I’m living with technology, not through it.
What do you guys think? Is millennials or mosaics too broad of a catch-all term? Where would you draw the split?
*Technically I used floppy disks for classwork up until 2003 but they had been on the way out for years.