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Millennial or Generational Divide: all Baby-Boomers’ Fault

MILLENNIAL OR GENERATIONAL DIVIDE: ALL BABY-BOOMERS’ FAULT
Monthly IWSG Writerly Hideaway for All Generations

Ernst & Young report on Rise of Gen-Z shows 2001+ iGen overtaking Millennials worldwide

“Millennials are more focused on what’s in it for them. They look outside to others—companies and colleagues—for solutions; whereas the younger people naturally seek to create their own solutions.”
Marcie Merriman, Exec.Dir. Ernst & Young LLP

Children born in 2001 will turn 18 next year. In U.S. many will enter university, vote and, depending on their choice, may smoke and drink alcohol without breaking the law. These are the Gen Zers or iGens. They have never known a non-digital world and have grown up amid a world aware of terrorism and global recession.

They are grandchildren of the Flower Power peace people of the ‘sixties Boomer breakaway. They have seen mistakes made by parents and grandparents, and are determined to do things better.

Psychedelic Dragon by 12-year old GenZ artist

And they have the IT capability to make it happen.

Baby Boomer Baggage
Boomers, born after their parents returned from war in 1945, were radical—not rad like their great-grandkids, but countercultural enough to up-tentpoles and follow their rock idols (as groupies) anywhere; some experiencing Vietnam, took the advice of Berkeley guru-of-all-trades, Timothy Leary:—

“Turn on, tune in, drop out”
Timothy Leary, UC Berkeley, 1966
Mantra of the ‘Sixties psychedelic generation

Millennials, on the other hand, are accustomed to external motivators, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young. Time Magazine called them “The Me Me Me Generation” because they want it all. To Psychology Today they are known as confident, entitled and depressed.

Apex hippie flower power Boomer music curve, Altamont 1969:— “If U remember, U weren’t there”

Born between 1980 and 2000, incentives, trophies, and praise were used [by their parents, the Baby Boomers, themselves struggling to survive] to motivate Millennials as they were growing up. Many Millennials lack internal motivation to overcome career impatience.

iGens are DIY-motivated, independent; i.e. if you want it done right, do it yourself—75% of them believe there are alternative ways to get a good education than attending college, according to Sparks & Honey 2018 survey. Nielsen’s recent research survey finds:

“Each generation comes with a unique pattern of behavior, presenting challenges for those targeting them. Gen Z are bombarded by messages and, as a generation, can quickly detect its relevance to them.”

Demographic switch-over is welcome news for delivery services, gadget makers and the so-called gig economy.
But it means headaches for educators, event planners, luxury brands and travel companies. Golf and world cruising are relegated almost exclusively to Baby-Boomerdom. Golf is now a game where the average age of players is 50+. Tiger Woods, 42, would be pleased to know he is an anachronism.

Rôle-Hopping or Job-Hopping

Which generation burns the candle at both ends? CatGen, of course

Growing up fast in an on-demand culture, the Millennial generation [b.1980-2001] has little patience for stagnation, especially when it impacts their careers. They switch jobs. Or hold down multiple after-hours work themes.

Generation Z don’t want to miss any valuable experience. They flex their super-aware learning antennae by multi-tasking: marketing, accounting, human resources—always with IT—within an organization. Or work from home.

iGens say they’d rather have a reliable internet connection, than a functioning bathroom, according to Nielsen. They make do with what is—while continuing to communicate with a network of roughly 150 friends—see Dunbar Numbervia Memes, wordplay, game slang and graphics.

Global Citizens or Spectators

IWSG Anthology contest continues thru Nov 4

Nielsen states 58 percent of adults worldwide aged 35+ agreed “kids today have more in common with their global peers than with adults in their own country.”

Millennials were the first global generation. They saw significant world events in their life times and share character traits and international values across borders.

Gen Z interacts with global peers with greater fluidity than any previous generation. As more people come online and geography continues to shrink, Gen Z see themselves as global citizens.

We Insecure writers are mostly head down tunnel-visioned introverts. Our Ninja Cap’n.Alex helps us draw inspiration from the future—his prequel CassaDawn is reviewed as rivaling Asimov’s Foundation. Asimov (1920-1992) was of the classic “Silent Generation”. Think Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and the Ocean’s-11 Rat Pack—themselves prequel to 2018’s Ocean’s-8.

A great way for us—in-between Boomer groups—to cherish our ancestors!
©2018 Marian Youngblood

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October 3, 2018 Posted by | authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, novel, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

All the Numbers for the Fourth—Maybe a Few Special Ones?

ALL THE NUMBERS FOR THE FOURTH
Monthly Corner Hideaway for Insecure Writers—and others

Royal Bedchamber has not changed much since Domesday 11thC England, courtesy HM The Queen

Back in the ‘Nineties, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar noticed a remarkable correlation between primate brain size and the social groups they formed: His theory was simple—the bigger their brains, the larger their social groups—because animals with bigger brains can remember, and interact meaningfully with more of their peers.

Dunbar’s famous prediction achieved by correlation of his extrapolation curve to the size of the human brain, stated that humans could have no more than about 150 people in their social sphere.

Recent research has since found more evidence for Dunbar’s Number, from the size of hunter-gatherer societies, Roman legions—130-145—to effective modern businesses.

Dunbar’s Number—backed by recent internet/iCloud/social media statistics is even more apt for modern exchange via social networks, where we humans gravitate to a natural limit of meaningful relationships we can sustain—around 150.

Dunbar is Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology—the study of how we evolved as modern humans—at the University of Oxford and author of How Many Friends Does One Person Need? (Faber). His research has gone on to find ‘Dunbar layers’, from family intimacy—five—outward to once-a-year contact with the acquaintance layer—beyond 150.


Social Behavior Rooted in Human Biology and Layers in the Digital Age

Mediaeval Warrington & Cheshire villages, on banks of River Mersey, map courtesy John Speed

The way in which our social world is constructed stems from our biological inheritance. As primates, together with apes and monkeys, we have developed a general relationship between brain size and size of our social group. There are social circles beyond the group and layers within—but there is a natural cluster of 150.

This is the number of people you can have a relationship with involving trust, obligation—and usually—some personal history.

That’s the Dunbar number.

In updated research in the digital age, other patterns emerge for the average human—most people have a small group of three to five very close friends. Various layers of friendship – which increase in number but decrease in intimacy and frequency of contact are on average:

Dunbar Layers
Layer 0. Nucleus/very close friends—those you turn to in a crisis, ask for money, lean on for support—on average 3 to 5 people. Likely keep in touch once a week.
Layer 1. Close friends/sympathy group—12-15 people (number of Apostles, members on a jury). Contact once a month.
Layer 2. Distant friends—45 to 50 people
Layer 3. Maximum number of friends/acquaintances: 150 people (Dunbar’s Number)
Layer 4. 500 people
Layer 5. 1500 people
Layer 6. Plato’s ideal size for a democracy—5300 people

Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything… number according to Douglas Adams

“I was working on the arcane question of why primates spend so much time grooming one another, and I tested another hypothesis–which says the reason why primates have big brains is because they live in complex social worlds.

“Because grooming is social, all these things ought to map together, so I started plotting brain size and group size and grooming time against one another. You get a nice set of relationships.

“It was about 3a.m., and I thought, hmm, what happens if you plug humans into this? And you get this number of 150. This looked implausibly small, given that we all live in cities now, but it turned out that this was the size of a typical community in hunter-gatherer societies.

“And the average village size in the Domesday Book is 150.”
Robin Dunbar

“It’s the same when we have much better data–in the 18th century, for example, thanks to parish registers. County by county, the average size of a village is again 150. Except in Kent, where it was 100. I’ve no idea why.”

The number evolved as tribal societies did. Dunbar believes his Number probably dates back to the appearance of anatomically modern humans, 250,000 years ago, from Australopithicus to Neanderthal. Prior to that, by estimated brain size, community size declined steadily.

A key evolutionary adaptation of primates facing survival out there on the plains and in the forests was group living within a hierarchy, with explicitly communal solutions to living as a unit—an ape strategy, evolved very early in the timeline.

Most species of birds and animals are not as intensely social. Socialability for them hovers around pair-bonds, which is as complicated as it gets. But the species with big brains mate monogamously.

Has the Dunbar Number Increased with the Internet?
“We’re caught in a bind: community sizes were designed for hunter-gatherer societies where people weren’t living on top of one another. Your 150 were scattered over a wide area, but everybody shared the same 150. This made for a very densely interconnected community, and it also means the community polices itself.

“You don’t need lawyers and policemen. If you step out of line, Grannie will wag her finger at you.”


Rôle of the Internet, Smart Devices, & BFFs in the (Wired) Generational Divide

Can we extend deep relationships beyond the old numbers?

Magdalen College Oxford Prof. Robin Dunbar

Dunbar says he can find out what you had for breakfast from your tweet, but can’t really get to know you better. Digital developments help us keep in touch over distance, when in the past a relationship might have faltered and died. Now it can be extended. But we can only maintain Five Close Friends

Current statistics compiled by consumer research specialist, Paul Hudson point to a generational divide—younger teenagers aged thirteen to sixteen–the fastest-growing social media generation—have an average of 450 social network “friends”.

Figures rapidly reduce between decades—people in their thirties have on average between one and two hundred friends; those in their forties between fifty and 100; and over-fifties—if they are internet-savvy—form the lowest stat-curve, the majority having fewer than twenty friends.

Seventeen Hugs a Day—the Touchie, Feelie Solution
Dunbar stands by his ‘grooming’ theory: that we actually have to get together to make a relationship work. Tablets, iPads and smartphones still haven’t figured out how to do virtual touch, which humans rely heavily on—the ape hug, the elephant caress, lioness’s kiss, dolphin’s smooch.

In a widening social network, intimacy becomes more important—and apparently less available, considering the number of dogs in the United States equals the human population! That, my dear Virtual Cap’n and fellow Insecure Writers, must hold for another day.

One hopeful statistic: Writers—as we IWSG-ers all know—are mostly introvert, so we keep our BFFs forever!

Words are slippery. A touch is worth a thousand words—always.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

July 4, 2018 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, belief, blogging, culture, Doomsday, fiction, history, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Who Do and Those Who Don’t

Monthly IWSG

Is the human brain ready to be hot-wired to the Internet?

I know a lot of Alex’s Insecure Writers—IWSG—don’t plug into the Facebook scene; perhaps consider the social network game a little too time-consuming [?], when there are queries, edits, pitches and contests to prepare for. After all, the writer’s day is never long enough, is it? And think of how many words we might punch in on the keyboard during the (lost) time it takes to tweet!

Oh, I know we can’t all be like Amanda Hocking, who seems to have written everything online; tweets incessantly, even holds meetings on Twitter, and yet still manages to churn out several e-books per year.

So it got me to thinking about this new ‘instant’ form of communication and how it affects our lives: nay, how it splits us—into expiration dates: those who do and those who don’t—and into media groups: ditto.

I did feel grossly insecure after my first attempts with Smashwords —my March self-publish post for Alex’s IWSG. MSWord not being my favorite program, and with no Apple-friendly interface on offer by that self-publisher, I felt that ancient tweak of ‘fear-in-the-forest’, that feeling of being a stranger in a totally alien landscape (I held myself back there from quoting Robert Heinlein! but give me a moment). We all go through nerves with a new communications tool. Realizing that the old ways are still in there competing with the “new”, I figured I had to find a way around my nerves, because in the world of Big Publishing, MSWord isn’t seen as the code-cluttered behemoth viewed by Macintosh-lovers; it is just the program the industry grew up around; Competitions (Dundee Book Prize, Hay House Visions Contest) assume you know how to use it; so I have learned to live with it—until the next change comes along.

Also, I was never any good with the telephone: there—I’ve said it. I somehow managed to navigate through the recent high waves of multiple-choice cell phone packages and NOT become a cell-user. True to my writerly reclusiveness, I barely answer the landline—I use my laptop for all of the stuff people used to handle on the phone—but I’m reduced to jelly inside, when offered a new iPad or iPhone to try out. I am just getting the hang of the Apple tablet, but the swiping and sweeping motions on the little iPhone still leave me stunned.

It didn’t help that in betweentimes I foolishly asked the local Apple Emporium to back up my old writerly projects: articles, magazine interviews, my non-fiction titles, history, book etc., only to discover I’d left it too late and most of my SCSI drives (eat your heart out, anyone who understands me here) were obsolete. How about that for a dip in the insecurity pool?

Believe me, I know how boring this sounds to people who text and communicate all the time with friends and family; I even found myself irritated with poor old Ken Carey, author of all-time bestseller ‘Return of the Bird Tribes’ (Harper, 1991) who had such a hard time setting up his new website—twenty years after he published his seminal works in the 1980s-1990s—that his first months’ comments were almost exclusively on whether posts got ‘thru’ or not. Then his struggles reminded me of the early internet years, where netiquette (no CAPS SHOUTING, personal anonymity) seemed more important than getting the message across; and I became more compassionate towards him and his/my generation.

Bottom line: much of what is happening now—people deleting their Facebook profiles for fear of the newly-publicly-owned-and-listed company selling their private information—is part of yet another ongoing trend which is pulling us closer to our Omega Point, the symbiosis of man and machine, foretold by Terence McKenna before he died in 2000.

“The Universe is an evolving system of habits”
Terence McKenna

So, our comfort zone may move—not a lot; habitual patterns take time to form—but in five years we shall, it seems, be communicating exclusively electronically (and perhaps silently), and I suspect that, sadly, it will also separate the men from the boys; oh how I hate to be ageist: but there will be those that do and those that (er, teach) don’t. And I suspect I may even fall into the latter category, unless I get my mind speedily around the concept of cells, GPS, bluetooth(s) and the need for instant (communicative) gratification.

Jubilee recalls ancient tradition: instant media coverage captures the last of the dinosaurs in world imagination

Or should I lay aside my insecurity and look at it another way? perhaps I already qualify. I am certainly old; not as aged as HM the Queen, 86, or Prince Philip, 90; but it is a miracle I’ve kept pace with electronica through the last decade’s changes; I love my laptop and, as a writer, I might just make it through the next series of electronic hoops and into the Era of Bionic Man; because, wait for it, the writer/author has always been psyched up to be patient. Big House publishing is not going to catch on to this nouvelle vague and become electronic overnight: some publishers still do not accept MSS, except through the post. I can certainly learn to live without Facebook and Twitter. And, because McKenna was adamant that the Universe has purpose towards hyper-complexification, or advanced organization, and is speeding up all the time; I might even be ahead of the game, outlive the Mac-PC incompatibility, and see my internet tinkering as a bonus, rather than a liability. When they wheel out the dinosaurs and number off according to bionic accoutrements, I might still qualify: I already have wifi, have halved the size of computing screen and diminished my keyboard by one third. My hearing aid [don’t ask: 1960s rock music too close to the speakers] already serves as bluetooth; so all I need is a bionic implant to wire me to the ethers, and I’ll be set for 2020.

Did I mention age as my main insecurity? Woody Allen had a different idea:

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not-dying”
Woody Allen

And, thank you again, Alex, for being such a role-model, and for letting me ramble. I know your book launch was a success. Your CassaStorm will be, too.
©2012 Marian Youngblood

June 6, 2012 Posted by | authors, blogging, culture, publishing, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments