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Ormond

Generational Labels -- should we abandon them?

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4 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

My kids are Zoomers (2003; 2006).

I'm a Zoomer? Thanks. Gen z hmm

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Posted (edited)
On 8/9/2021 at 11:28 AM, aceluby said:

I was born in 1983 and computers in school were common by the early 90's - number munchers and oregon trail were daily prizes for finishing early.  It was definitely a transitional period, but I have far more in common (generationally speaking) with my wife who was born in 1990 than I do my brother, who was born in 1975.  Maybe my schools and upbringing weren't common, but I've pretty much always had access to technology since my grandpa built our first computer in 1988 and I built my own in 1992 that was finally powerful enough to run Windows - everything before that was DOS based except for the Commodore my mom used through the late 90's that saved data to cassette tapes.  I remember biking to my friend's house to play DOOM in middle school.  I feel like 'Digital Native' is a pretty apt description TBH

I was not trying to say that computers didn't exist for us growing up. They certainly did. I should have been a bit more clear.

What I was trying to say is that they didn't dominate like they do now. We played video games and did use computers, but by no means did everyone own a personal computer in the 1990s. And if they did, there is no guarantee they had access to the internet. Many people at my school had to go to the library to type up reports and access information.

And today, kids have access to all of this from the time they start walking. For us, that was not the case at all. To me, those kids are true digital native, and it will certainly have an impact on their learning and development in different ways. That's a better marker of a generational divide IMO. 

Edited by Lord of Oop North

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Lord of Oop North said:

I was not trying to say that computers didn't exist for us growing up. They certainly did. I should have been a bit more clear.

What I was trying to say is that they didn't dominate like they do now. We played video games and did use computers, but by no means did everyone own a personal computer in the 1990s. And if they did, there is no guarantee they had access to the internet. Many people at my school had to go to the library to type up reports and access information.

And today, kids have access to all of this from the time they start walking. For us, that was not the case at all. To me, those kids are true digital native, and it will certainly have an impact on their learning and development in different ways. That's a better marker of a generational divide IMO. 

Yea when I think about when I was a younger kid, I do not think about the internet or computers or phones or video games - though consoles were well established and I had one. It was riding bikes, playing ball, walking on the railroad tracks, throwing rocks at things, and when I left the house to go run around with friends my parents only vaguely knew where I was and could not just call me.

a couple examples - In 7th grade an entrepreneurial young man in my class made money selling individual nude pics of women cut out from porno magazines. I can remember making prank phone calls. These are things that technology has rendered pointless.

I do think about these differences with regard to my son sometimes. Granted he’s just a baby, but imagining him riding his bike around town without any way for him to call me, or I him, actually gives me a little bit of anxiety. Now we are all so connected all the time that the idea of him simply doing what I did as a kid and roaming around town with friends without the safety net of a phone feels borderline negligent. Not that it is necessarily, but it feels that way. It’s a major shift in mindset that was in the works but not fully realized until after I was not a minor anymore. You get too much younger than me and you get people who have always had a high degree of convenient connectivity via the internet and phones and don’t really remember what the world was like before that. I do remember that, so while technically, sure, I am a millennial I do agree there is a subgroup of older millennials that you could almost put with genx, but we aren’t fully in either camp.

Edited by S John

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On the cut-off between GenX and Millenial; the major point of interest would seem to be around 1994-1996.
2G mobile phones (first launched in 1991 taking a few years to disseminate) first had the capacity to do anything more than making phone calls - and were becoming smaller and cheaper to the point that more-or-less anyone could have one. Alongside that, the world wide web was starting to mature, with the internet being useable for more than just academia and work - (first webpage and first browser both dating to 1993, taking a few years to popularise).
Then it's a question of "how old counts for that turning point" which is typically (far from exclusively) somewhere around 10-12 years old as being old enough to really feel and remember the change.

On top of that, GenX is named for the X-files (1993-2002); so old enough to be watching and following that as a young adult (18-30) so using that definition puts an older Gen X as being 30ish in 1993, whilst a younger GenX as 18ish in 2002.

Which puts the GenX : Millenial turning point firmly in the mid-1980s (and starting mid-60s) - right where it always was before the name "Millenial" was landed on (having initially been Y due to lack of imagination, or XL as a bad-taste joke on the reducing age of onset for the obesity epidemic).

As ever though, anyone trying to put hard dates on these things is missing the point. Each generation would be approximately 25 years long, and overlaps with the ones before and after, and only shares gross experiences, not processing of those experiences.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DMC said:

Pretty sure the moniker preceded the show.  Maybe you mean the other way around?

Interesting, I'll have a look - I was certainly aware of the X-files before GenX label - it had been "latchkey" or"MTV" previously. You're certainly right that the phrase "generation X" had been used for an alienated youth from well before any GenX had been born - I don't know when it became popularly used as the moniker for my generation.

Edited by Which Tyler

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2 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

Interesting, I'll have a look - I was certainly aware of the X-files before GenX label - it had been "latchkey" or"MTV" previously

Yeah those were definitely earlier names.  According to wikipedia GenX was popularized by a novel:

Quote

Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture is the first novel by Douglas Coupland, published by St. Martin's Press in 1991.[1] The novel popularized the term Generation X, and is a framed narrative, in which a group of youths exchange heartfelt stories about themselves and fantastical stories of their creation.

 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, DMC said:

Yeah those were definitely earlier names.  According to wikipedia GenX was popularized by a novel:

Yeah, I'm seeing that, though I'm also seeing X-files links as well (released 2 years after the novel). I'm also seeing references that it didn't really settle down as the accepted moniker until 1997.
Also seeing a lot of references to Billy Idol's band

I would suspect that it was one of the names floating around at the time (well, I know that bit) and a combination of the novel and TV show popularised it as the moniker.
I've no idea how popular the book was - I don't think I'd heard of it until 10 minutes ago; if I had, I'd completely forgotten.

My usual go-to sources for etymology are more interested in the phrases 1950's origin than as a generational moniker. Wiki is decent, but we all know it's not necessarily accurate for these things - which isn't to say that it's inaccurate here either.

Edited by Which Tyler

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16 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

I'm also seeing references that it didn't really settle down as the accepted moniker until 1997.

Well, the wrestling group Degeneration X was founded in 1997, so yeah, I'd say it was settled by then.  :D

Honestly, I never associated X-files with GenX, although now that you mention it of course it makes sense - if only considering the ages of Mulder and Scully.  Sounds like the novel, though, is explicitly describing the generation that came to be known as GenX.

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Going down the wiki rabbit hole, find it interesting that Douglas Coupland also included this Vonnegut quote in a later book called Generation A (2009):

Quote

The title is also a reference to Coupland's first novel, and it comes from a quote by Kurt Vonnegut. It is listed in an epigraph:

"Now you young twerps want a new name for your generation? Probably not, you just want jobs, right? Well, the media do us all such tremendous favors when they call you Generation X, right? Two clicks from the very end of the alphabet. I hereby declare you Generation A, as much at the beginning of a series of astonishing triumphs and failures as Adam and Eve were so long ago."

— Kurt Vonnegut

Syracuse University commencement address

May 8, 1994[4]

 

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, DMC said:

Honestly, I never associated X-files with GenX, although now that you mention it of course it makes sense - if only considering the ages of Mulder and Scully.  Sounds like the novel, though, is explicitly describing the generation that came to be known as GenX.

Yep.
From what I can tell (20 minutes on google and all that - well, maybe an hour, I do enjoy a good etymological rabbit hole)...

1940s "Latchkey Kid" coined as a name for kids with either both parents working (usually one at war) who look after themselves / siblings when not at school
1952 "Generation X" was first coined as a general descriptor for disaffected youth, with no particular link any any specific generation.
1965 "Generation X" was the title of a book on modern youth culture
1970s "Latchkey Generation" was often used to describe the generational cohort, due to high divorce rates, high rates of women in the workplace, and often fathers suffering from PTSD
1976 "Generation X" was then the name of Billy Idol's band - named for the book above
1981 MTV launched
1983 "Generation x" was coined by Paul Fussell in the book "Class" to describe a future generation disillusioned with status and money
1984 "MTV Generation" was coined by Billboard Magazine to describe the generational cohort, used alongside "Latchkey Generation"
1991 ''Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture'' was Coupland's book explicitly relating to the generational cohort; initially claiming the name came from Billy Idol, but later claiming it came a sociology book by Paul Fussell, despite that book being written after his own
1993 "X-files" became the must watch TV for young adults
1997 "Generation X / GenX" became the accepted name for the generational cohort, and "latchkey" or "MTV" generation faded out of use


So the Douglas Coupland book would have popularised the pre-existing term, and used it specifically for that generation, but for a certain value of the word "popularised". But it wasn't the accepted term until after the X-files, which would have been vastly more popular.
I'm not seeing anything on when "Latchkey Generation" or "MTV Generation" dropped out of use, or saw a rapid loss in popularity to really say when though; and therefore to say which had the greater effect. I'm seeing 1997 quoted, but it's really just a phrase thrown out there whilst talking about the emergence of GenX as a contraction.

Edited by Which Tyler

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It's difficult for me as a USian to separate Gen X from Grunge music.  Doesn't necessarily make much sense, but I wanna say if you were in highschool when Kurt Cobain died you're GenX, if you're younger you're a millennial.    

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10 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

But it wasn't the accepted term until after the X-files, which would have been vastly more popular.

Oh for Scully's sake, Gretchen!  Stop trying to make that happen!  It's never gonna happen!

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