Baby boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y, Millennials and now, Xennials. It seems that some are extraterrestrials or AI characters by the sound of their labels. Kidding aside, they are the people born between the years 1977 and 1983, between Gen-X and Millennials. Others call them “older millennials.” Should you rejoice?
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact dates when these generations started and ended. Baby boomers were listed to be born between 1946 and 1964 while Generation X were from 1961 to 1981 or thereabouts. Generation Y, or what is called now as Millennials, were born between 1980 and 2000. They are the sons and daughters of baby boomers.
If you were born between 1977 and 1983, which means you are in your mid-30s and early 40s, the right generational term for you is Xennial – coined from Generation X and Millennial. The term is very hot today, but the story about its coining actually came out in 2014.
Another term used to refer to the people born during the intervening years was Oregon Trail Generation, referring to the game called Oregon Trail, which schoolchildren born in the late 70s or early 80s played in the computer labs in their school.
Also a popular term was Generation Catalano, referring to Jared Leto’s character, Jordan Catalano, in the TV series “My So-Called Life.” This was the time of the presidency of Jimmy Carter. They were individuals in their high school years, when they left handwritten notes in books and lockers, no Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram and some receive regular (instead of cyber) bullying.
According to Sarah Stankorb, a Xennial is not a true Gen-Xer or a true Millennial that is why she called the micro generation as Xennial, in her article published in GOOD Magazine.
Are you proud to be called a millennial? It’s been said that persons born in this generation are generally mopey, entitled and narcissistic. However, the older millennials are not happy to be lumped together with the younger millennials. They did not grow up with the Internet, smartphones and even social media.
What sets them apart is that they are well acquainted with the digital culture of today and able to use social media, but they still appreciate a life that is not glued to a smartphone or other communication devices. There were already computers during the time they were born and it was still a special privilege back then to be have access to one.
They typically do not have the cynicism and apathy of the Gen-X people but they also do not have the millennials’ tenacious optimism, which had them often overestimating their potential, because they believed they were a ”special” group.
For the Xennials in the U.S., they have seen almost everything. They can remember the end of the small recession of the 1990s, the bursting of the dot-com bubble as well as economic recession during the 2000s.
They are the individuals who went through an analog childhood and enjoyed the perks of a digital adulthood. Associate Professor of Sociology Dan Woodman from the University of Melbourne, Australia said that Xennials combine the optimism of the Millennials and the pessimism of Generation X.
They lived through a particular experience, because they did not have to worry about mobile phones and posts in social media. They were already in their 20s when the boom in IT digital technology and social media became a phenomenon.
It was an age when they can smoothly transition to adopting new technologies selectively. Let’s say that they are not as tech-savvy as the digital natives a.k.a. the Millennials, but have enough knowledge to wade through.
Do you consider yourself lucky or unlucky if you are a Xennial? You were able to get a cell phone; however it was only good for making calls, so you do not exactly tote it wherever you go. It’s more likely that it stayed inside your car’s glove compartment, to be used to make very important or emergency calls. The cost of making a call at that time was also prohibitive. But Instant Messenger was already available, which was a big deal at the time when dial up Internet was the ”in thing.”
Texting later became the newest craze and it was a precious moment being able to send or receive a few lines of text. It took almost forever to compose and type a single text message because of the limit in the number of characters.
Xennials were in their early 20s when iPods came out and cell phones were able to connect to the Internet. Yet they were also the persons who grew up reading newspapers and listening to news, reading printed books, writing letters and sending them by snail mail, mailing postcards and pictures taken by handheld cameras and processed at photo shops. They also found directions by checking actual maps.
Overall, Xennials straddle two worlds – one without technology and the other, a tech-dependent world. They grew up learning things traditionally. But they were able to adopt new technologies and acquire new tech devices and technologies, including smartphones, tablets, faster Internet, online shopping, social media and online communication. They can even find their way around using online maps, take photos using their phones, and upload them for sharing.
Can you identify with Xennials? Do you have any other experiences that make you a Xennial? Please let us know.
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