Friday, April 07, 2006

Millenials In The New Millenium

Echo Boomer: Guilty As Charged, But Not Ashamed
By Kate Nichols

If nothing else, I certainly have a respect for the opinions expressed in the 60 Minutes report on Echo Boomers. I find it almost humorous that my generation has been pinpointed so well.

I use Aveda shampoo and paint my nails with Chanel polish. Guilty as charged…but by no means ashamed. I too was shipped from volleyball practice to dance lessons and back home to work on 17 school projects – all by the age of eight –- but was also given the choice of whether I wanted to do any of it at all. Except for the projects -– those were clearly mandatory.

“Pressured” is a word I’ve head so often and only used on several occasions. Pressure from my parents, never -- from teachers, rarely. Any pressure I’ve ever felt has come directly from the nagging voice inside my own head. I don’t want to let myself down with any task I undertake, be it a projected successful trip to the vintage store where I regularly shop, or the 2,000-word essay due in my narrative fiction class. These things are important to me, both carrying heavy weight, yet each on their own distinct level.

I do tend to disagree that we are dissimilar from our parents in the ways of self-centeredness. This may be one voice separated from a large generation, but I feel that I resemble both of my parents in my unselfish, non-inflated composition. Where I love being part of a team, I also enjoy leading the ranks. It is for certain a grey area passed on by my confident father and reserved mother.

It is interesting, as a simple notion, to depict a generation that is not your own. I wasn’t there to analyze the money my father spent on love beads or the money my mother spent on her Jaguar. But reading about how my habits are characterized is an interesting experience. It forces me to look at my generation from a different point of view. If we are changing the economy, changing society, changing the way media elites feel they need to advertise, then so be it. I do not consider my spending habits every time I make a purchase, nor do I construct a journal entry time I store half of my weekly paycheck into a savings account. These things are habits for a reason.

Yet seeing them analyzed and characterized so well and so appropriately is somewhat of a comforting thought. We’re doing all of this? My generation? It’s fabulous. It’s also alarming. Perhaps groupthink has stifled my ambition and self-assuredness. Maybe I have come to rudely expect instant gratification. Yet, as thought-provoking as these things may be, I find it hard to state that I am unhappy with myself or the generation I am inevitably a part of. Born in 1986, voting, spending, and saving my way towards tomorrow. Eventually, I’ll analyze whoever comes next.

Millenials In The New Millenium

Excuse Me, What Did You Call Us?
By Alexandra Smyth

“Echo Boomers,” “Generation Y,” “Millenials.” Call us what you will. It seems to me that my generation is seen by the generations before us as nothing but a mindless group of consumers who will buy whatever it is they advertise to us. We’re seen as a micromanaged, over-stimulated, spoiled lot of kids. I have to say, as a member of the “Echo Boomers,” I’m more than a bit offended. Sure, there is some truth to these perceptions, but is it really fair to generalize us that much? I don’t think so.

In the CBS 60 Minutes segment on “Echo Boomers,” a bunch of generalized facts about “Generation Y” are spouted at the viewer. We spend $170 billion a year. We have been “very heavily programmed.” Apparently, with us “convention is winning out over individualism, and values are very traditional.” Excuse me? My generation, conventional? My generation, traditional? Call me crazy, but these are the last words that I would use to describe my generation. Maybe we’re not talking about the same generation?

Perhaps my peers and I are a fluke. I can’t say any of us are “conventional” or “traditional.” We are a group of people that as a whole, are far more accepting of diversity than previous generations. Whereas some baby boomers balk at the idea of interracial dating, our generation not only openly does it, but also accepts it as something normal. We are one of the first generations in which many of our gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered peers feel comfortable in being open about their sexual orientation. Are those values “conventional” or “traditional?” I think not.

The segment goes on to say that rules seem to have replaced rebellion in our generation. Perhaps we are not rebelling in the same ways that our parents did, but in our own ways, we are rebelling. I can think of many people I know who are engaged in their own acts of rebellion. Take my Vegan friend, Jackie. She is rebelling against the animal products industry by not consuming their products. Jackie disagrees with the idea of consuming animals or products that harm animals, and she also takes issue with the wastefulness of the industry.

My friend Brian is open about the fact that he is gay. We are consumers of rap music, which is often looked down upon by older generations. We are drawn to “offensive” shows such as “South Park” and “Family Guy.” These television shows go out of their way to point out the inequalities and wrongdoings of our society. If you want to look at it superficially, we are the generation of piercings and tattoos, multi-colored hair.

It’s true that many of my peers feed into our consumer-driven society. It’s true that there are many wannabe Paris Hiltons, or Ashton Kutchers. There are members of my generation who just want to do whatever is considered “cool.” But for every five wannabe Parises or Ashtons, there is a person who simply wants to be him or herself. People who want to explore their own interests and to truly find out who they are, not who advertisers encourage them to be.

I consider myself to be one of these individuals and take personal offense that I am lumped in with the rest of my peers as a traditionalist who just does what they are told. I wasn’t micromanaged as a kid. I was allowed to use my imagination and I can come up with ways to entertain myself if need be. I don’t want to be Paris Hilton and I could give a damn about what all of the youth-driven industries are trying to push my way.

But then again, every generation takes issue with the next generation’s youth culture. The parents of the baby boomers disapproved of their long hair and bell-bottoms, their anti-war protests and their rock and roll music. Baby boomers see us as spoiled, consumer driven brats. When my generation starts to have children, we’ll find problems with their youth culture. It’s a cycle.

All generations rebel against the previous generation – that’s what the baby boomers don’t seem to be getting. But you know what’s the funniest part about all of this? The free-spirited, anti-establishment baby boomers are the ones doing all the research on us, the ones selling everything to us. How ironic.

Millenials In The New Millenium

Can You Feel the “Buzz” Of The Echo Boomers?
By Ryan Trostle

With a generation coming of age that puts word of mouth supreme, how does our consumer society react and adapt to accommodate the new echo boomers? Some experts are saying that it is easier than we might think. The $170 billion a year buying power that this generation has, is starting to raise some eyebrows as companies look for ways to expand their income. Not surpirisingly, companies like Toyota launched an entire new car division to face the fresh out of college echo boomers.

Word of mouth has become one of the most important concepts in the new campaigns. Putting sexy hats and clothing on stars like Ashton Kutcher and Paris Hilton have not only sparked entire clothing lines, but also obsessions with trucker hats in general. What is the best way to get your product sold? Make sure that the echo boomers have heard about it.

Echo boomers are the generation that was born between 1982 and 1995, which makes this age bracket 80 million people or one-third of the United States population. Echo boomers are not the same generation that we have watched throughout our nation’s history. They are already the most studied generation in history. Growing up in a world of constant connection, many professionals are wondering how this is going to affect them later in life.

Is the constant connection helping Generation Y, or are they not independent enough? Since the echo boomers birth they have been constantly busy with different activities planned for them each day of the week. They never really got a break and the moment they got home, it was 500 television channels and computers everywhere.

Not only is this generation the most studied ever, but also they are also the most diverse. Thirty-five percent of the echo boomers are non-white, and they are the most tolerant generation ever, most believing that everyone should be apart of the community. Maybe this generation is on to something. Violent crimes among teenagers are down 60 to 70 percent. Teen pregnancy and the use of tobacco and alcohol are at all time lows. Could this very well be the perfect generation?

“Sometimes, they don’t know what to do if they’re just left outside and you say, ‘Well, just do something by yourself for a while’, says historian and generation scholar Neil Howe, in a CBS 60 Minutes report, who says echo boomers are very different from their parents. For instance, they are not nearly as self-absorbed and egocentric. From this it all sounds like the baby boomers are interesting indeed. Not only interesting, it seems that there going to do wonders beyond what their parents have accomplished. Don’t be too sure of this yet.

I think this argument is interesting, and I think parts of it resonate and hold true. There are still some things that I would argue against the echo boomers. Independence is a concept that can be helpful and hurtful. I am not completely sure if working independently is the only answer, but it does seem to help in times. I could never imagine having to writing a paper with another person.

The echo boomers are always connected, and in my opinion this is a helpful and thriving community that takes care of its own. Though they may not be as independent, they are making history as to advances in consumerism. We live in a consumer culture, the echo boomers wouldn’t be an issue if we didn’t.

Millenials In The New Millenium

Under Attack: Sycophantic, Possessed Robots Storm The U.S.!
By Roland Trafton

When I sit down and have breakfast every morning at the stargate diner on 89th street and 3rd Avenue, I bring my newspaper. I’m twenty something years old and I have a subscription to the New York Times.

Part of me has it because I want to know what’s going on in the world, part of me has it just because I like being a twenty something year old who is subscribed to the New York Times, but most of me has it because I like stories. Every paper has about 50 stories that I can read about. Some of them have reoccurring characters. Some of the best stories are about Georgie or Satan Cheney. When I read the newspaper, I’m having someone from an office in Midtown Manhattan tell me a story.

I used to bring friends. I’d sit down with them and my newspaper, and order a cup of coffee. I’d always say the same thing, “Tell me a fucking story.” And they’d always look back at me with the same look. They always looked as if I were asking them for heroin. Then I’d point down at my newspaper and I’d say, “You know what this is? It’s a fucking newspaper. In here, there are dozens of stories from all around the globe and sometimes beyond.

If I want to hear a story about this island, I’ll turn to the metro section. There’s even a section where I can turn to, and arbitrarily pick any state in the union and read a short paragraph story about something pertaining to that state. If you don’t want to tell me a story, then I can read a fucking newspaper.” They always smiled and mischievously looked left and right, as if they were going to tell me about the time they robbed a bank in Tennessee, but it was never that interesting. Regardless, they always told me a story.

But that’s exactly what’s wrong. I shouldn’t have to curse at my friends in an effort for them to tell me a story, and even when they do tell me a story, most of them are about how they were “in Java City and then this one girl came up and she was kind of cute, but kind of not, but she ordered a double white decaf triple mocha, and then she put splenda in it, but she was like kind of weird, and she was a communications student, but she wasn’t sure yet, and she was from Long Island, but she wished she were from LA.” It’s all kind of boring, but rarely do I hear stories about, “Oh I went to a liquor store and stole a gallon of bourbon. Then I stole a cab, and drove to Mexico, just because it was cold out.”

That’s exactly what’s wrong with our generation. There’s so much emphasis on conformity and achieving, that everyone forgot how to be different. Our generation can easily be compared to the 1950’s in which conformity was very much celebrated. Anyone who didn’t want the car in the driveway with the perfect lawn was deemed different and frowned on by society. Luckily, that generation had a catalyst in the form of a book: J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye. It follows Holden Caufield, the Campbellian hero who defies conformity and runs away to New York City.

The fifties had Holden, the seventies had countless artists and musicians, and films such as Harold and Maude, but what do we have?

In the wake of Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson, our generation has been fortunate enough to embrace what is different in a new wave of culture where it is cool to be quirky and different. Successful films such as Igby Goes Down, and more notably Garden State, embrace quirky characters over the plastic mold of conformity. It mirrors in our generation when we too start behaving in more unusual ways. Ironically, it is now trendy to be unusual. I can only hope that this is a trend that doesn’t pass.

In a city where you can’t see the stars, it’s often hard for wishes to come true. Well I went to Jersey the other day, and I made a wish. We all got so caught up in pretending we were the same that we forgot how different we are. Now all we have to do is remember.

Millenials In The New Millenium

Are Echo Boomers Merely Outlandish Caricatures Of Each Other?
By Joanna Palmer

A few weeks ago I traveled to Greenwich Village with two friends for a calm shopping day, which commenced at a small pizzeria. As we devoured our overpriced, greasy yet delicious slices of pizza, two young boys entered, the oldest barely pushing 13, and the youngest, most likely his brother, was on the early side of six or seven. We watched as the two boys ordered their slices and then blew right past the register and sat down to enjoy their complimentary food.

After a moment, the woman behind the counter went over to the boys to inform them that, contrary to their own beliefs, the food they were consuming was not free. The eldest boy proceeded to blurt out obscenities at the woman and inform her that “he don’t have to pay for nothing.” All the while, the boy’s brother giggled through his cheese and pepperoni and agreed, using equally offensive obscenities and derogatory terms at the woman.

Roughly ten minutes and two threats to call the police later, my friends and I decided we had had our fill and went to exit the door. Unsatisfied with the outcome, one of my comrades went over to the young men and informed them that if they would merely apologize, she would gladly pay for their food. The boys declined her offer, ran out of the pizzeria throwing pizza, screaming words that made the grown men blush, and disappeared into the night, laughing at their successful dine and dash.

These young boys were members of what a CBS’s 60 Minutes report calls “Echo Boomers.” These boys that ran laughing into the night for stealing food and insulting women three times their age are a part of the generation that Historian Neil Howe called “much different than their self-absorbed, egocentric baby boomer parents.” This isolated incident in itself should call for a rebuttal against this statement.

The report seemed to give the idea that although today’s generation of youth may be na├»ve, they are motivated individuals with drive and ambition and want nothing more than to be a vital part of society. The children I see every day want nothing more than to get rich, answer to their own rules and achieve all of this with a minimal amount of work or effort.

The 60 Minutes report states that because technology has advanced at such a great rate over the past 40 to 50 years, young people of the echo boomer generation have the ability to produce results faster than previous generations, that they have access to more information, thus, access to more skills and that they are indeed “multitaskers” that are “totally plugged-in citizens of a worldwide community.” What sorts of information are these little over-achieves plugging into exactly? I have read news reports, seen documentaries and read entire feature articles about children and preteens downloading, sending, and even creating pornography over the Internet.

One argument could be that this is no worse than children of the 70s and 80s finding their father’s Playboys under his mattress. The Playboys of the 70s and 80s did not include full color video of a 14-year-old girl masturbating for a boy she had a crush on. However, the library at the middle school that this young girl attended did include this piece of art, which was broadcast throughout the school. In the 70s and 80s, weren’t 14 year old girls still passing notes to the boys they liked?

“This is a generation that has long aimed to please,” said Dr. Mel Levine of the University of North Carolina in the 60 Minutes report. They’ve wanted to please their parents, their friends, their teachers, their college admissions officers.” Of all of the friends I had in high school, I would estimate perhaps ten of them actually informed their parents what their plans would be on the weekend, let alone what their plans were for the future. I knew more students that found it more amusing to spit in teachers’ faces than bring them an apple. The youth generation of today does not wish to impress anyone but themselves and perhaps the few peers they deem worthy enough to impress.

Sixty Minutes could not have been more correct concerning one aspect of the secret life of echo boomers: the think tank mentality that flows over the generation as though one step ‘out side of the box’ will end in terminal illness or fatality. “They have been heavily programmed … whose whole lives have really been based on what some adult tells them to do,” claims Dr. Levine.

Perhaps this is true, but somewhere, some way, somehow, one child stood up and decided that parents were no longer the ones that would program him or his generation. Instead they would listen to the ethics of Paris Hilton, the fashion sense of the characters on a preteen drama, the proper social etiquette as mapped out by MTV. Suddenly, what the adults had to say really didn’t matter anymore. Now, the only way to get a message across to these echo spawn is to sew it into the back of Mary-Kate’s designer dress.

The youth of today no longer has the desire to be an individual, as this report so eloquently states. Then there are the supposed ‘radicals’ with piercings and tattoos and clothes that only make sense if you look at them standing on your head while being treated for pink eye and have just been declared color blind. Even these outlandish caricatures of teenagers seem to mirror each other, in physical and verbal messages. They want to ‘stand out’ ‘express themselves’ ‘show who they really are’. Unfortunately, no one has had the audacity to inform these extremists that ‘who they really are’ is just like everyone else.

I weep for the future. Highly motivated echo boomers are few and far between. Everyone looks like everyone else in this generation. They all have the same things to say, they all have the same things to do in order to make themselves unique. With these programmed, one track minded, swearing, spitting, disrespectful, self centered youths entering the real world soon, it will only make the job force more difficult; how will employers tell them apart?

Millenials In The New Millenium

A Generation On A Pedestal?
By Michele Goff

What sets this generation of “echo boomers” apart from their baby boomer parents? Baby boomers grew up in a time when stitching flowers on your favorite jeans was a great after school event. Without cable television, computers and cell phones, baby boomers actually had to find things to occupy their time. Keeping in touch with friends required regular old landline telephones and catching up with the latest gossip required actual face-to-face communication after school.

So what about these “echo boomers?” What do baby boomers think about them?

“Echo boomers” are growing up in a time when writing papers for school can be edited at the press of a button, research conducted at their desks in the comfort of their bedrooms, and staying in touch with their friends can mean text messages at five minute intervals. Pretty sweet stuff, however, the pressures to succeed at everything are much greater than they ever were for their baby boomer parents.

While baby boomers grew up entertaining themselves in the backyard with tree forts and games of touch football after school, the “echo boomers” are busy attending ballet class, soccer practice and hardcore tutoring sessions so that getting into the right college will happen.

There is no doubt that the “echo boomer” generation has set high standards for themselves. They work hard in school, expecting to gain acceptance into the colleges of their choice. They are less a “me generation” than their baby boomer parents, being part of a team is very important. But, it is apparent their baby boomer parents have placed them on a pedestal. Perhaps because baby boomers waited to have children until they were older and more successful, they value their children that much more, along with the fact they can afford to buy them almost anything.

Keeping up with the latest trends is very important to the “echo boomers.” They are fashion conscious, and want whatever their newest pop idol is wearing. The money they make companies manufacturing the items they purchase is astounding. More so than baby boomers they seem to require instant gratification, new jeans today, means new jeans today. It would appear they are growing up faster than baby boomers did, the latest in expensive electronics is purchased by the youngest of the “echo boomers”. Baby boomers spent their summers working at the local DQ saving up for that new stereo.

There are many signs that the “echo boomers” are a much more law-abiding generation than the baby boomers. Teen pregnancy, violent crime and the use of alcohol and tobacco are all dropping rapidly in the “echo boomer” generation. They rarely protest, how shocking that there were no groups of angry teens and early twenty-something’s holding protest rallies against the war in Iraq.

The “echo boomer” generation is growing up in a time when the world is shrinking. With sophisticated telecommunications equipment keeping us in constant touch with just about every country in the world, it is no wonder that this generation feels at home anywhere. They are well traveled, their baby boomer parents are making sure of that. One doesn’t vision them doing the classic summer backpacking trip across Europe, sleeping on trains and in youth hostels.

As somewhat spoiled as the “echo boomers” may seem, they are a generation that has had a positive influence on our society. They are well educated, well traveled and completely “up to the minute” aware about all that is happening around the globe.

Millenials In The New Millenium

How To Use Generation Y Against Themselves
By Stephanie Carino

A growing number of postings have been surfacing on Craigslist recently, regarding the need for individuals to participate in focus groups as companies are realizing more and more how much importance can be put on a general consumer’s opinion. Who better to know what a consumer wants than the consumers themselves? There are certain tactics that seem to work better than others as far as getting Generation Y consumers to buy into products.

The era of advertising is losing its’ battle with the buying group of Generation Y. With all the images that young individuals are exposed to everyday, and the lack of their attention span due to their exposure of our now visual society, it is no wonder that traditional advertising does not get any attention. I

n recent times, public relations firms have been credited for successful launches of new products due to the build-up of credibility, using tactics such as, product placement in movies and television and celebrity endorsement. In order to listen to these messages, they need to be subliminally placed so the consumers think it was their idea to buy the products in the first place.

Generation Y is an army of multitaskers, talking on their cell phones while they instant message their friends about what they are watching on television, as they are commenting on their best friend’s MySpace wall online, and listening to the songs they just downloaded from I-Tunes. If a company tunes into these outlets that are used most frequently, then their message will be heard. Otherwise companies’ messages are falling on deaf ears.

Time Warner’s magazine targeted to early ‘tweens to teens, Teen People, was on to this trend early on and started a group called the Teen People Trendspotters almost nine years ago when the magazine premiered. The trendspotters target that elite group of individuals who have an impact on others’ buying patterns around them using the best advertising -- word of mouth.

The organization constantly polls the trendspotters to see what they think about certain topics, and asks what they think of certain products and news in the media world. The company also uses a monthly email called LiveWire to highlight certain products or events that they think these teens will enjoy. If the teens take notice of any of these items, they tell their friends and the word spreads like wildfire. Other magazines and outlets soon followed suit with this idea.

Another appropriate tactic that companies are using now to reach their target demographic of Generation Y, the largest buying entity, is placing products where they know these individuals will be. For example, magazines, such as Teen People, have in the past teamed up with radio stations, such as top 40 station, Z100, for their semi-annual concerts, hosting free pre-events.

These events include different vendor tables offering chances for free tickets if consumers give in their information, free products, contests, among other aspects. The concertgoers will have these free products and samples, try them out, and if it turns out they enjoy the product, again, the word will spread. Since the consumers stand behind their favorite radio station, and their favorite publication, chances are they will buy into the companies that are intertwined in the event assuming that the radio station and publication are behind the products at the event.

The thing is, Generation Y knows what they want. They know that they want the new Cingular hot pink Razor cell phone with the I-Tunes included, the one-ounce Vivitar Vivicam 3301 digital camera, and the new MacBook Pro from Apple. However, they still need someone to tell them they want it.

Millenials In The New Millenium

The Sad Reality Of The “Echo Boomers”
By Marisol Vargas

It is amazing to think that the “echo boomers” have already become be the must studied generation in history. And there is no wonder why this is happening - they spend $170 billion a year of their parent’s money, and some of their own as well. Everyone in the corporate industry is trying to get a piece of this money, all the ads aim for the “echo boomers”, and for that reason the most targeted commercial audience are the kids within this generation.

These children are seen spending their money everywhere; they are at the mall, at the movie theaters, clothing stores, and the video stores. Not to mention that the kind of clothing and accessories they like to buy are usually the most-famous-for-the-moment name brands, which regularly have a much higher cost than any other item in the store.

These children have been programmed since they can remember. They were thoughtfully taken care of at all times. Something was always left at their sides to entertain them whether it was a toy or a pet. Parents were at all times looking for something for their children to do with their free time such as baseball classes right after school. These kids are not forced into doing anything at home; they have no responsibilities, no duties, no drives, and no goals.

Children are more into video games than ever. They spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars monthly on video games, music and movies. They take their parents money, and rather than sitting at home and reading a book, they spend their entire afternoons chatting on the internet, downloading music, or playing video games. Ten years ago, only adults would have a cell phone, they would use it in case of emergencies or to make calls that would take up no more than two minutes.

Now, whether they need it or not, it seems as if every child as young as age 7, has a cell phone. The constant text messaging among schoolmates, and the long minute calls between each other is costing parents a considerable amount of money on monthly bills.

Technology now, is not aiming for adults anymore. It seems as if every ad on television, radio, or traditional billboard is aimed toward children. Almost every child has a computer at home. The majority of children also have a DVD player and a television in their own room. They own I-pods, portable DVD players, PSPs, gameboys, anything in the market, they own it. And sadly, these children are not the ones to blamed.

Since we are in an era where the culture is looking down on kids, and kids are being celebrated, parents confuse this celebration with making nothing of their children. Parents feel that by buying their children everything there is at the store, and by giving them what they want in order to not hear them cry, they are doing the right thing.

Children need to be taught that they have to work in life in order to get what they want. Parents need to let their children know that the real life is not as easy as they think it is, and should advise their children to have a desire to be the best at what they do, and to be more than just part of a team.

A few years ago, children would still be punished for not having a good report card or for bringing home a failing test grade. Now, parents are not using the same technique and give their children what they want, even if they do not deserve it. Many of these parents work long hours daily, they hardly spend anytime at home with their kids, and they feel that a way of making up this time lost with their children, is by showering them with gifts that will surely make them smile. This is no way to compensate the time lost, and eventually, these kids will never feel they have enough.

Children who start their first job expecting to be rewarded immediately and to become heroes for the simple fact that they are working should no be judged so harshly. When your parents raise you in a world where everything you do deserves recompense and nothing you do is wrong, it becomes very hard for the child to learn there is a real world, and that in this real world you have to work very hard to be worthy of what you get.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Millenials In The New Millenium

The ADHD Generation
By Lindsey Dow

As a product of the Echo generation, I rarely ever watch a television program at the actual time it was shown. I just record it on TiVo, which I, in fact, prefer over watching the TV show live because TiVo allows me to fast forward through the commercials, which have become to unbearably long for me to sit through. My cell phone is no longer just convenient, but absolutely necessary because I see no reason to have a land line, and I feel a sense of panic at the thought of leaving my apartment without bringing my cell phone with me.

Others do not appear to find it strange, for if one does not pick up their phone for a few hours at a time, worried callers often later demand to know where one was that they were unable to immediately get in touch with. For even if we are not able to pick up our cell phones, there is always text messaging and even mobile IM that can be conveniently used at any time if one needs to be reached.

Another interesting side effect that has produced in the Echo generation, however, is the dramatic increase in technology and consumerism. Nothing is ever enough, society tells them. You always need to buy something more to make things better. Things can always be improved. According to the recent CBS 60 Minutes report, “You can never be too cautious and you need everything,” seems to be their motto. “You need your cell phone on you at all times and must keep it on, so people are able to reach you at all times…. You must check your e-mail every day in order to get the latest updates…go online to check the weather…. If you miss your TV show then just watch it later on TiVo….”

Present society has programmed the Echo Boomers in such a way that they should never feel satisfied with things because there is always something more that they need, but should never have to be bored or have to wait for anything.

We are the generation of ADHD with an insatiable appetite to spend, move forward, update and consume and buy. Everything and everyone screams, “What you have now is not good enough! You need more! Buy me, buy me, and you will instantly be good enough again…” Until tomorrow, that is, when you will need to buy something else to improve. The Echo generation has been conditioned not to wait, making us very impatient and, at times, easily frustrated if we are not granted immediate gratification.

“Echo” Boomers are the among youngest generation around, with ages ranging from grade school to early twenties. We are also the largest generation since the 1940’s, the children of the the baby boomers who were born from 1946 to 1965, and the oldest memebrs come of age in the 1960s, which are best known for the hippie era, women’s and civil rights movement, and substance abuse. The women’s movement included burning of bras and not staying home in the kitchen. The civil rights movement ended the segregation laws of black and white people and challenged racism. The hippie era introduced casual sex and regular usage and access to drugs, which was scarce before.

The drugs most commonly used were marijuana, LSD and other hallucinogens and heroin. There was no such thing as Ecstasy or Adderall and cocaine would not become popular until the late 1970’s. Then came the 1980’s, at which time violent crime rose higher than ever before when the crack-cocaine epidemic swept over poor, urban America until the early 1990’s. The 1980’s also put casual sex to an abrupt halt when a new virus, now widely known as AIDS, started infecting and killing people. It was during the 1980s and early 1990s when most of the Echo generation was born. Look how much had already happened.

The Echo Boomers were born at a time much less sexist, much less racist and much more knowledgeable than every other generation. They were also born, however, with a much greater reason to learn and understand, and a greater reason to fear the world around them. Their parents knew this, as they were born at one of the most informed times, but also at one of the scariest, most violent times.

Not wanting their kids to end up addicted to crack, every teenager has taken a DARE course and watches anti-drug commercials by the time they are ten, which would explain why the drug-abuse, alcohol and even tobacco (as their generation is informed of the risks of smoking cigarettes as well) rate has decreased to an all-time low. Theories have come up left and right about the cause of teen drug abuse, and the ever-popular theory seems to be that they get bored and need a hobby, a sport or some sort of structure to keep them occupied to prevent them from having time to get into trouble.

Right around the time of the crack-cocaine epidemic was a violence outbreak, which many say went hand in hand, as crack-cocaine is known to have violent, dangerous side effects. Much of the violence included street gangs, where young lives are treated as casualties, which is very scary for a parent. Wanting to prevent that as well, having a positive community support system is stressed, so that they will not look to a negative support system, like a gang as an option.

Among the good things that have been passed down and inspired from previous generations are the women’s and civil rights movements, allowing the Echo Boomers to grow up in a much more tolerant, equal-opportunity society than ever before. The Echo Boomers are said to be the most diverse generation ever, as 35% of the Echo generation is of minority status.

In my opinion, the Echo generation being so micro-managed, controlled, pressured, over-achieving and less violent and drug-rampant is a result of the parent generation reacting out of fear from what was going on at the time of their birth, and what had gone on in the past.

Millenials In The New Millenium

Advertisers Are Targeting A New Generation Of Spenders
By Leslie DeJesus

It’s not hard to see why corporate America and advertisers have jumped on the catering-to-the-young bandwagon. It’s a marketing strategy that dates back to the years of American Bandstand, if not earlier. Aside from there being over “80 million of them” teenagers have been known to dispose their income just as quickly and easily as they obtain it, and in today’s world it’s no different.

Anchor woman Guliana Depandi for Entertainment News channel E! hosts segments on trends that are taking Hollywood by storm (Trend E!) and for the most part these trends include t-shirts the young stars are wearing and the gadgets the celebrities are seen photographed with. The entire network caters to “Gen Y” mainly because a lot of the moneymakers in Hollywood today are young. Which is why during the program’s opening montage, Depandi’s voice could be heard stating, “It’s your hook up to young Hollywood.”

It seems that these days there’s an emphasis on being young and consequently advertisement is mainly geared towards the younger impressionable demographic. One reason being we’re the “gotta have it now” generation. It’s almost as if waiting is old fashion or a thing of the past. Most service providers offer “get it now” options or provide “Instant downloads” for services dealing with—but limited to music and cell phones.

One can also argue that the Internet also caters to the young. Today it seems as if every household has access to the Internet and/or has at least one computer at home. The Internet serves as a high-tech word of mouth advertising machine. With the click of a mouse one could get weather updates for cities and countries around the world as well as updates on when the latest “must have” products will be hitting store shelves. By linking a friend to a website via AOL Instant Messenger another potential consumer is born.

Marymount Professor Millie Falcaro has often asked her Photo II class “what will happen to photography in the long haul?” Will photography still be deemed as an art form years from now when anyone with a cell phone can instantly snap a picture? She’s argued that it’s harder to teach darkroom techniques to students who are reluctant to wait around for a picture to develop when they could easily correct or dispose of unwanted images with the click of a button on a digital camera. This poses an interesting question: are kids today spoiled by the technological advances, or are they simply acting in accordance to the times?

Some might argue that because this generation has so much at their disposal so quickly they become dissatisfied or bored just as fast, forcing the older generations and advertisers alike to work quicker in order to keep up with the demands. It’s the reason why every couple of months a new Ipod is introduced, and why more advanced or sleeker looking portable gadgets are manufactured, because there’s a market for it and once a young person is seen with this product, many more will soon follow.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Branding America

Restoring America’s Reputation Around The World
By Marisol Vargas

American brands, once popular, have been losing popularity around the world.
According to Keith Reinhard, president of Business for Diplomatic Action, Inc., a not-for-profit private sector effort aimed at improving the standing of America in the world, “the problem is not about the ads, it’s about the actions.”

Mr. Reinhard, also the Chairman of DDB Worldwide, one of the world’s largest and most creative advertising agency networks, a brand is not about what it says and what it does, but “how and why you do it.”

The reality behind these sales drops is that the public no longer sees American brands as having the unique sense of cool. In the rest of the world, the perceptions of America and its citizens are very negative leaving this view of America in the mind of millions who are refusing to buy its brands. In a research followed by Mr. Reinhard, 37% of the British population accepted to be less likely to purchase anything made by America.

Up until five years ago, the Unites States was still seen as the land of opportunities. People from all over the world looked forward to coming to the United States whether to live, work, study or for pure pleasure. After the tragedy of 9-11, Mr. Reinhard and a group of employees assembled a seventeen country “task force” in order to find out what other countries like and dislike about America. This research was made with the intentions of finding out what America is doing wrong, and what we, as Americans should do to change the perceptions people have in their minds.

From this research, it was proved that, in most countries the opinion of America is very unenthusiastic. In some countries such as Italy, Chile, Spain, Indonesia, Australia, Britain, Germany, France and China, Americans are known as arrogant, loud, disrespectful, ignorant, self-absorbent, among other negative terms, making it obvious to figure out why its brands are no longer being accepted by most in the world.

The biggest challenge, according to Mr. Reinhard is getting Americans to care and to do something to change their attitude. Most people in the United States seem to not care about the anti-America feeling in other countries and the problem the U.S. economy around the world is being faced with, but until people become friendlier and change some aspects of their personality, the rest of the world will not perceive Americans any better than they do now.

One of the antidotes to anti-Americanism is to train those who work at the borders and at customs office in airports, making them friendlier and easier to deal with since many of the bad experiences visitors to the United States have had, originate there. In the research followed by Mr. Reinhard, some of the individuals interviewed mentioned they would never go back to the United States because of the excessive hostility they were treated with when entering the country. These experiences offended them and left them not wanting to ever return to the country feeling a sense of resentment and antipathy toward the country and its citizens. Why? Because people’s behaviors are based on perceptions, why go back when you are not treated properly. The solution to this problem is “Change the attitude, not laws.”

The attitude is the main problem in building America to be once again attractive to the world. If everyone makes a small effort to become a bit sensitive to the problem, the world will start seeing the U.S. from a different angle, and then, the rest of the population would become “good American citizens Ambassadors to the world.” Once a small change takes place, once again the United States will stand for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to the rest of the world, Mr. Reinhard said.