September 1, 2015
For years, I’ve talked about, discussed and made presentations about the five existing generations that share the earth. I would begin with the oldest group – the “Seniors” (born 1921 and earlier). They’re full of fading wisdom and due to age, are moving off the scene. The youngest in this category are in their 90’s. If you’re interested in their stories, I suggest contacting Betty White – sometime within the very near future.
Following on their heels were the “Builders“ (1922-1944). The Great Depression and World War II influenced their structured, conservative, “don’t rock the boat,” philosophy. They got married young, they stayed married and they took care of business when necessary. Indeed, they are still known as the “Greatest Generation.”
The “Baby Boomers,” (1945-1964) changed everything with their 4 million live births in a single year – so many more schools, hospitals and houses needed to be built. As a group, had to figure out how to work together, and they continue to have a penchant to “find themselves,” to refuse to admit birthdays, to overuse Botox and to propagate the idea that 60 is the new 40.
1965-1980 gave birth to “Generation X” with all their skeptical and survivalist ways. They prefer informality, casual dress and freedom. If it weren’t for them, we’d never have the educational concept of “Is this going to be on the test?”
From 1981-2000 we have focused on the cultural changes that “Millennials” have waded through. During their journey, feelings of entitlement and tolerance have grown. They have been championed, awarded, and loved. While they struggle with a bit of self-focus, they do have a desire to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Just remind them from time to time that you don’t change the world by clicking “like” on Facebook. 🙂
But now, finally – with their oldest members reaching the age of fifteen – the next generational has started to emerge on the scene. While there is debate over their official name, it appears that “Generation Z” will be how they will be identified. Personally, I like to call them “Gen-Zen-Babies.”
Recently, while speaking at a leadership event in Lexington, Kentucky, I experienced my first group of Gen-Z’s. At fifteen years old, they are now eligible to attend Global Next’s events at home and abroad. And I found that much of what I had already read about them was absolutely true. They are intriguing, surprisingly well-informed and smarter than I had expected. Here are some of their highlights:
- They are a visual generation – 1.5 billion google searches per day.
- They are truly a global generation – with music, celebrities, technology, cultural diversity, fashion and travel.
- They are excellent “self teachers.” They are adept researchers who can “figure it out.”
- They’re done with Facebook. It’s all about Instagram and Snapchat. (Mostly because their moms are on Facebook.)
- They have an attention span of 8.25 seconds -which makes their attention span officially shorter than that of a goldfish (which enjoys a focus-span of a full nine seconds.) Some call this abbreviated attention span a “filter,” necessary for a world of too much information. I call it exactly what it is – a short attention span.
- They’re “do-gooders,” Sixty-percent of them want jobs that impact the world. And I saw the evidence of their desire to “help the helpless” in their interaction with me…
…They were only too eager to point out how awful my Instagram account is. Apparently, I am not using it, or my life, to its full potential. I was sent an eight point DM, from one of the Gen-Zen-Babies, instructing me on how to make the appropriate changes. It was pretty comprehensive and direct. And just like “time will tell” if I attend to the deficiencies of my social media life, time will also tell how this new generation progresses. They will officially encompass the group that is born between 2001 and 2020. Speaking for myself, I will be watching with great interest.
Some sources for Generation Z:
“15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Generation Z” http://www.cmo.com/articles/2015/6/11/15-mind-blowing-stats-about-generation-z.html
“Generation Z” http://generationz.com.au/blog/
“Gen Z, Gen Y, baby boomers – a guide to the generations” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11002767/Gen-Z-Gen-Y-baby-boomers-a-guide-to-the-generations.html
“Who Will Succeed the Millennials?” http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/who-will-succeed-millennials-let-s-call-them-post-generation-160545