Years ago, Gen Xers watched with interest as Baby Boomers struggled with the rise of technology while the popular culture morphed, languages changed, sensibilities shifted. Some Boomers scrambled to figure out Internet browsers, decipher acronyms and emoticons while others were just trying to answer the oft-repeated question: "What's with kids these days?"
That same question, "what's with kids?" can be repeated as Boomers head toward retirement and Gen Xers entrench, firmly rooted in careers, family and positions of influence. Millennials, who were shaped by technology and grew up in a more progressive society, are reaching a critical point -- true, there are "kids" among them, but the Millennials are not on the margins. They're not kids any more.
The now mundane emoticon -- the digital offspring of that Smiley face that was itself born in the 1960s -- recently celebrated its 30th birthday, a sign that the digital era is no longer the new thing. Technology and the generation it shaped have come a long way.
Millennials, too, are coming of age, the oldest within the cohort born after 1981 have reached their 30th birthday. A staggering five million of them are adults. Media coverage typically mentions the cohort in terms of its emerging political clout, their impact on the work place or how marketers see them. Millennials gets the side-show treatment as most day-to-day coverage is aimed at Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
We're setting out to change that.
Today, we launch our series Asking Y, a long-term commitment from HuffPost Canada and AOL Canada to report on Generation Y, Millennials, Echo Boomers or simply, those 30 and younger.
Our survey highlights. Post continues below the slideshow...
With our first pieces in Asking Y, we've taken a rare look at the generation. Last month, we commissioned Abacus Data to survey 1,004 Canadian millennials to provide one of the first national snapshots of those aged 18-30. The findings make clear the challenges the generation face, but also reveal a picture that is at times unexpected.
This week you'll find:
- A Tumblr that we're using to curate the best of Millennial content. Visit it at askingy.tumblr.com
- Christian Cotroneo writes about a generation with high hopes and how it is faring in the face of The Great Recession
- Our infographic provides an overarching view of Millennials and how they view politics, citizenry, home ownership and marriage
- Millennial Jaime Morrison from Abacus Data writes about what keeps her up at night
- Our Life of Y video is a fun look at some of the findings from our national survey
- And we are turning to you -- our readers, many of you Millennials -- to tell us your stories.
In the coming weeks, we will be writing on the millennial view of home ownership, food choices, language and politics. In the following months, we are tackling many more topics. And we're excited to spark some debate and discussion.