Hi, I’m a Gen Y stereotype

Trespass Magazine

HI! I’m Greg, I was born in 1983, which kind of makes me Gen Y. Being Gen Y is really cool, ‘cos we’re ‘technologically savvy’ (I just looked up ‘savvy’ on my iPhone dictionary app) and ‘globally aware’ (I’m going to South-East Asia next year), and we’re the most ‘materially endowed’ generation, like, ever.

It’s true, I read it in The Age on Saturday, even though I didn’t finish the whole article ‘cos I had to check Facebook and tweet my friends to let them know what I was up to, just in case they were wondering. And then I got the BIGGEST laugh when I went back to the newspaper ‘cos the journo wrote that Gen Yers have ‘nomadic online tendencies’ and I thought, that is totally me right now.

The article also said that Gen Yers don’t read newspapers, which is kind of true but kind of not, ‘cos sometimes I’ll pick up some dead tree news if I don’t have my iPhone with me and I’ve got nothing to do on the tram. I HATE being bored. I’m Gen Y, and I need to be stimulated all the time.

I don’t read much at all, though once I did pick up this book in the library. Don’t remember what it was called, but it was about how the digital age ‘stupefies’ young people, and it was written by this professor-dude. His name was Mark B-something, might have been Bowerleen, or Bauerlein, I’m not sure. Anyways, he’s what demographers call a ‘Baby Boomer’ (I know about demographers and Baby Boomers ‘cos I looked them up on Wikipedia). Baby Boomers were born before the 60s so they’re old, really old, and they like to bag Gen Y, but sometimes I think they’re biased. Like this Mark B guy, for instance. He goes on and on about the importance of books, but it turns out HE’S AN ENGLISH PROFESSOR, so of course he’s going to defend literature. I mean, it’s his job to talk about the relevance of books. And though he says reading rates are falling, he doesn’t even mention the 100 million or whatever blogs, which is a total oversight, in my opinion. Big-time fail.

Baby Boomers also say that Gen Yers have short attention spans. Like in this article, where the journo wrote that Facebook and Twitter and Bebo ‘shorten attention spans’ and ‘encourage instant gratification’. Apparently this professor-chick, Susan G-something, from Oxford or somewhere, spoke before the House of Lords, which I learnt about on Wikipedia. Anyways, she gave a long speech about the impact of screen time on concentration, but the journo only quoted a few sound bites, which kind of makes me think newspapers might be shortening people’s attention spans as well. But I’m Gen Y, and I’m not so good @ that sort of analytical-type stuff, so what would I know?

The other thing I learnt from the Age article is that Gen Y might be self-centred, which doesn’t add up to me ‘cos although I look out for myself, I also give a lot to charities and stuff, though I guess I could be doing that for selfish reasons too. Whatevs.

Sometimes I get sick of people typecasting Gen Y. The media portrays young people as technology-obsessed narcissists who scrounge off their parents, spend every dollar they earn, flit between relationships and jobs and can’t string a sentence together. But the truth is, I rarely use Facebook, and I don’t have a personal Twitter account or an iPhone. I moved out of home when I was 19, I save more than 60 percent of my income, I’ve only worked a few jobs in my life, and I’m in a long-term stable relationship. I’ve been a professional writer since the age of 20 and have been published in major newspapers. My day job involves correcting the atrocious grammar of Baby Boomer bureaucrats.

But none of that matters, ‘cos I’m Gen Y, and all Gen Yers are the same. We act stupid and, like, talk in this vague way, and have this totally dumbed-down vocabulary, and so when people see me on the street they think I’m ‘tech savvy’ and ‘self indulgent’ and part of the ‘Me Generation’, even though they don’t know me. ‘Cos I was born in 1983, and that makes me a Gen Y stereotype.