What is Generation Y? Nobody really knows. Academics are confused, sociologists are puzzled, and even leading-edge brands such as Burberry are at sixes and sevens, when it comes to this rather special breed of customers.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when Generation Y starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth dates from the latter 1970s, or from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.’
The plot thickens.
I googled the term, and found a handy service from the Financial Times, called Lexicon. Well, I thought, whatever the FT says, it must be at least close to the truth, right? Not so sure about it.
‘Globally, generation Y (gen Y) refers broadly to the demographic cohort born between 1975 and 1995. The group is seen as reliant on new media and digital technology with short attention spans. They expect entertaining and fast-paced information and are assumed to be self-centred, demanding, and hard to integrate into teams.’ The article continues: ‘As consumers, gen Y attracts much attention from market researchers who have realised early on that the group itself has different values, such as placing emphasis on environmental issues, but in other respects gen Y varies between countries.’
The FT describes Gen Y as a pretty capricious, whimsical, quirky and hard to define bunch, then.
The Boston Globe has a little more sympathy for these young fellows: ‘For young people today, the American dream of working hard, saving money, and becoming richer than their parents may be out of reach. Americans in their mid-30s and younger have accumulated less wealth than their parents did at that age more than 25 years ago — a trend that threatens to weaken the economy overall, according to a study by the Urban Institute, which analyzes social and economic problems.’
Now we understand a bit more: Gen Yers have different values, are more narcissistic but also more civic-minded than previous generations, tend to spend a lot of time online – Tumblr, rather than Facebook – and have a tragic sense of beauty. In sum, we can say that: the future seems grim, political correctness is not mandatory anymore, and Gen Y are a stylish, narcissistic, culturally aware and fucked up bunch of souls curating/creating incredibly sparkling and fascinating Tumblr blogs about design, “things I like”, cool stuff, and content that is hotter than a vindaloo.
Here’s three cool Tumblr blogs you should check out, if you want to understand – and eventually sell stuff to, you greedy, impertinent corporation – the Gen Y.
A perfect snapshot of a certain fringe of Gen Y – the ones who read Jean-Paul Sartre, watch Jean-Luc Godard’s movies listen to Tyler, The Creator and prefer Wolfgang Tillmans over Terry Richardson.
Life on Sundays
Stylish interiors, details, beautiful objects, stunning images, with a NSFW twist – because pornography is now part of our online lives, and is also getting classier – and a strong melancholic aftertaste.
Exquisiteness and design for the Gen Yers, constantly fluctuating between the bright and dark sides of life: the yin of bikes and cycling and the yang of booze and cheese sandwiches, well-behaved girls smoking and drinking, all wrapped in a fucked up dandy cape.