An Australian Sociology professor has made up a micro-generation between Gen X and Millennials and is calling it Xennials. Fact Check: Xennials Don’t Exist.
There’s been a wave of articles – and one really persistent Facebook post – that’s been going around lately regarding Millennials. There’s an idea being spread across social media and the internet that is claiming there’s a micro-generation between Generation X and Millennials. One sociologist is calling them: Xennials. This is completely made up, but more on that later. As we cover Millennials and Millennial issues regularly here – including what a Millennial is – I thought it’s something we should discuss.
The Short History of The Term Xennial
It all started with one man. Dan Woodman, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Melbourne, when he recently told MamaMia:
The idea is there’s this micro or in-between generation between the Gen X group – who we think of as the depressed flannelette-shirt-wearing, grunge-listening children that came after the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – who get described as optimistic, tech savvy and maybe a little bit too sure of themselves and too confident.
From there, blogs, websites and media outlets all over the world hopped on the Xennial generation bandwagon to see what their audiences thought. Comments seemed to be split between people laughing at someone making a micro-generation in the first place, to some Millennials saying they agree.
Why There’s No Such Thing As A Xennial
A Millennial is generally thought to be someone born between the years 1980 – 1995, although many researchers bring it back to 1977. Xennials, as defined by Woodman, are born from 1977 to 1983 and are a micro-generation (a made up term) that fit in neither generation because they are a mix of both.
A generation is typically defined as the people born within a 15 year span. There is no such thing as a micro-generation. It is completely made up. If we began using it now, we would find common traits within specific years of every generation before us, which would then find the whole generation classification system collapse.
The problem is, that every generation has a mixture of the nearest generations in their traits. We take things from our parents and our older brothers and our aunts and uncles. Our best friends Mom still has a record player she uses and you both sneak into the basement and put on some vinyl. This doesn’t mean Millennials grew up in the time of vinyl – it means we were exposed to relics of previous generations.
Technology Is One of the Defining Traits of Millennials
The first DVD came out in 1995. The oldest Millennials were 15. VHS movies were still being released all the way up until March 14, 2006 when A History of Violence became the last VHS commercially released. The youngest Millennials would have been 11 when the last VHS was released. The first CD player, the Sony CDP-101 was released on October 1, 1982. The first commercial cell phone, Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, came out in 1983. The first cell phone to sell millions of units was the Mobira Cityman 900 in 1989. The oldest Millennials would have been 9. The first digital DSLR, the Nikon SVC, was released in 1985. In 1988, Fuji released the first consumer compact digital camera – the oldest Millennials would have been 8. Millennials were the first generation to use computers regularly in the classroom. We were the first generation to use search engines to do research. Waiting for songs on the radio? Pshhh! We had CD singles and a few years later, Napster. Online gaming was started by AOL in 1983. Millennials were in chat rooms when AOL hit the PC market in 1991. The list of Millennials being married to technology goes on and on.
Yet, none of these traits are even remotely close to the experiences Generation X had growing up. In fact, thinking you’re a special group that doesn’t fit into a normal generational period so you actually have to create a thing called a micro-generation is itself such a Millennial thing to do. I mean, what could be more of a Millennial trait then creating your own generational classification? It’s something that other generations would call us a special little snowflake for doing.
Xennials Is Made Up, You’re A Millennial
There’s no such thing as Xennials. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t exist. Technology was embedded in our lives from early on. We stay with our parents longer. We delay having kids. Most of us don’t get married. We give our time to help others. We have tattoos. We don’t value religious doctrine as highly as previous generations. We bounce around in jobs and careers. We have mountains of student debt. We take lesser paying jobs for more flexibility. We grew up in and around the Millennium. These are all traits that are unique to Millennials. It is why we are and always will be, simply, Millennials.
The Profile of a Millennial series goes in depth on demystifying the Millennial generation, answering questions worth asking and shedding light on a highly misunderstood generation. The Profile of a Millennial series is produced by Kyle McMahon – a leading voice on Millennials, trusted by the world’s top media outlets, global brands and most importantly – other Millennials. Explore The Profile of a Millennial Series.
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