Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Millennials Grew Up With The World At Their Fingertips
By Raquel A. Castillo

It's 1993 and you’re kicking back after school while eating your Lunchable and drinking Capri Sun left over from snack time. You plop down in front of the TV after surfing past little Michelle from Full House saying "You got it, dude" to uncle Jesse then on to the next channel where you stop to rap the entire opening theme song from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire.

Suddenly, you know you can't go wrong with the Nickelodeon channel because there is a loud buzzing sound blaring from the TV. But you saw this coming all along. You know the buzzing only means one thing -- that kid "is toast." Anxiously anticipating his fate you slurp the last drop of juice from the silver Capri Sun pouch and then it happens, the moment you have been waiting for. That "total loser" gets splattered in slime! "Boo-ya!" Everyone got "slimed" on Nickelodeon.

If you can't relate to the story above then you are most likely not a parent of, or a member of the coolest and most popular generation to hit planet earth, the Millennials, also known as the Echo Boomers. According to the CBS News 60 Minutes report, “The Echo Boomers” there are about 80 million people in the generation born between 1982 and 1995.

Jeff Aldna (left) and Chetra Nhem. Aldna says his values differ from the "traditional
spoiled American kids."

Jeff Aldana, a 22 year-old Echo Boomer says that his favorite things about our generation are fruit-roll ups snacks and the Internet. "The Internet has impacted our generation big time and has provided us with originality,” Aldana says. “We literally grew up with the world at our fingertips" When asked, what he would like to change about our generation, Aldana said, "I wouldn't change a thing." He stopped to think about it again, and added, "well except for our current recession, I would definitely change that!"

Aldana’s confidence and pride in his generation is admirable, yet eerily consistent with the studies that have been conducted on the “oh so hot topic” of the Millennials. The 60 Minutes report said that, "they were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners."

Although Aldana says that statement could not be further from the truth in his case. Aldana says that being the first generation of his family to grow up in the US has affected his "Millennialism" a bit. Good grades needed to be the best grades, and a better life for their family was the eye on the prize while maintaining strict cultural values which Aldana says differ from those of "traditional spoiled American kids."

The 60 Minutes report boasts tons of valuable information that proves that the Millennials claim to fame is going to be more than just 15 minutes. The documentary states that although, "only a small percentage are eligible to vote, they are already one of the most studied generations in history by sociologists, demographers and marketing consultants."

Why the scientific interest? Sociologists are interested in Echo Boomer’s numbers because they make up nearly one-third of the US population. Marketing consultants are very interested in learning about Millennial lifestyles because they spend $170 billion a year of their own and their parents' money.

Along with Aldana's echoing voice booming with praise for the Internet’s impact on creating a savvier, well-rounded generation, the impact of instant gratification could be one reason for the perception that Millennials have had it a little too easy.

We will be the first generation to not have to wait for our 25th high school reunions to catch up and see how old friends and foes ended up. Within a couple of minutes on Facebook.com, one can pretty much find their entire first grade class if they really wanted to.

Joanne Morton, an entrepreneur and artist living in New York City, and a member of Generation X, says, "10 years ago, the only face books we had were books about faces."

Now that the era of the year books are gone, even non-Echo Boomer generations are benefiting from the new social networks.

Are there just as many disadvantages to instantaneous information and instant gratification that we receive as there are perks? According to Aldana who just logged into his Facebook account from his Blackberry and became the 337th member of a group called "The Fruit Roll-ups Fan Club," the answer is no.

"Life just doesn't get better than that."

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