I have been reading so many articles about generation Y, the millenials and how millenials are so different and sensitve and how they demand different treatment - apparently there are special ways to appeal to millenials - "let them choose to be part of the conversation" and "you cant forcefeed millenials - they wat bite size and small portions" etc etc.
I am the tail end of generation X - my father was born at the end of World War 2 - thats a boomer, thier kids are X'ers - I am certainly part of a generation, what they call generation X. Its a very broad swathe of people born to parents who were born in the child rush between 1945 and 1955.
These Boomers are people who had a role to bring back hope to a world seriously scarred by a global battle. They are the hippies, the ones who sold the world, the ones who pioneered advertising and the commercial culture that is the dominant model today, these are our political elders and wise old folk. Their kids are screwed up - born with no reason to be dispossesed, no fight to fight, no cause to stand by. These kids often ended up fighting other peoples battles instead of their own all rebels without causes.
So as I understand this, the Generation X'ers kids are supposed to be Gen Y or millenial kids. unfortunately there is not a clear cut enough population bump for the Y generation to be classified as a proper generation at least in most western countries. What we are seeing now is something else, something far more incredible - the hyperculture.
Let me illustrate why I think that this current generation gap is something much bigger than all of the others that have come before.
Looking at population pyramids from around the world, we can see that the clear population cohorts from days of old have flattened a bit and we are experience the most homogenous population pyramid since before the industrial revolution.
I reference an interactive population pyramid from the Office of National Statistics in the UK. The United Kingdom probably has one of the clearest generation gaps as they have been heavily involved in the big world wars. Germany and the Russian Federation also have some nice clear generation lumps.
Notice how the Y generation is hardly even a bump compared to the other two. This means that there is no huge gap between the emerging adults and the existing ones - this difference is the reason for the massive generational awkwardness - the curvature is almost flat.
Graphic by Office for National Statistics (ONS)
I also inclued some imagery from populationpyramid.net - these illustrate the difference between the countries and their generational gaps.
Most of the world has smoothed out - the medditerranean countries are pretty screwed, there are loads of oldies and no youngsters - I suspect there is a new boom coming from these countries - greece included for illustration. Russia still has clear gaps, the UK still has them but they are averaging out quickly. Most African countries have perfect pyramids, this is because of a lack of large scale conflict (there are wars but generally not including more than two countries and the scale is much less than the global conflicts). South Africa has a column - there is almost no generation gap, it is as smooth as they come - there are many reasons for this but lets not get into that. The most important graph is the global curve - it is smooth, no bumps. Where is the generation gap?
There is no generation Y - generation Y is something new - it spans the continents - helped byt the weave of the web and the social connectedness - the generations are teaming up with others from accross the world. The parents stand no chance against the hive teenager.
The problem with identifying or nailing down the Millenials or Y-Gens is an overpowering availability of everything - there is so much choice, the pace of the pop-culture is changing so rapidly. Compared to the detective comics in the 50's to the global connectedness of platforms like 4chan in the tweens its like comparing spears with nukes.
We live in a evermore homogenous global society - Yes.
There is a clear undercurrent of a cohesive generation gap - Yes
This is bigger - the start of something new and exciting, the hyperculture. A culture where its no longer the parents and elders of the word determine your moral position, it is now the collective conscience. The hive brain often picks up its pitchfork, but the overwhelming tide is generally benevolent and irrefutable.
Do not be afraid - take part - this is the most exciting chapter of humanity and I am thrilled to be on this ride.