The internet and society at large is a little sick of the term “Millennials” because, frankly, it’s used too often and doesn’t accurately represent everybody who is technically defined by the terms of the demographic. So, self-aware Millennials do what they do best and sub-categorized themselves into two new groups: Millennials and Xennials. Here’s everything you need to know about Xennials:
Xennials were born between 1977 and 1983 and actually remember a childhood of dial-up internet and brick-like mobile phones. Xennials, however, were young enough to embrace the first wave of social media in their twenties. While not quite young enough to be “digital natives”, Xennials grew up with technological advances, and tend to be more comfortable with them than mature Millennials. Xennials experienced an analogue childhood and a digital adolescence.
Xennials are both cynical and optimistic
Xennials possess both GenX cynicism and Millennial optimism and drive. They are considered less cynical and pessimistic than Gen X, variously defined as being born from the mid 1960s to early 1980s, but not as optimistic and even entitled as Gen Y, born from the early 1980s to late 1990s.
The term is a solution to recent complaints by “mature millennials” that they don’t feel as though they fit the avocado-eating, Snapchat-loving mould of the endlessly dissected generation — but also don’t really remember the first Star Wars movies.
Every generational shift tends to create a “swing” section, or micro-demographic on the cusp, that doesn’t quite fit with the previous or next cohort. But experts believe the sense of isolation is particularly relevant for the X-Y in-betweeners.
Xennials have everything to do with technology
If you grew up with high-speed internet and social media, it’s likely to have shaped you in unprecedented ways. For Xennials, September 11 was formative and sexting was a brand new phenomenon. They also didn’t really get grunge because they were a little too young for Nirvana and Soundgarden.
Xennials remember the agonizing wait for dial-up connection, asking A/S/L (age/sex/location) in chat rooms and graduating high school and university safely without the embarrassment of social media. Xennials probably didn’t have their own cell phones until they had graduated university, they weren’t necessary yet. Then, when mobile phones happened, their first device was a Nokia or Blackberry Pearl.
Want to know if you’re a Xennial? Here are 11 ways to find out:
- You didn’t get your first mobile phone until your late teens or 20s, and it was a brick
- You used a dial-up modem for school or university work
- You watched Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, My So-Called Life and Friends on TV
- You seminal movies were Heathers, The Goonies, Jurassic Park, Clueless, Empire Records and Dazed and Confused.
- You loved Nirvana — but were too young to ever see them live or really get what they were saying
- You had a strong allegiance to either Oasis or Blur in the Britpop era
- You downloaded music on Napster
- You had a MySpace, ICQ or MSN Messenger account
- You made mix tapes on cassettes, and you owned a Walkman
- You had or still have a Hotmail account
- You can remember when you first heard about Google and Facebook, but there was always internet — even if it just contained an encyclopaedia
- You listened to Blink 182, Incubus, The Offspring and Spice Girls