Generation Gap

One of my sisters & I have discussed the fact & agreed that we are, in fact, of different generations, even if she only has 10 years on me. The Brazen Careerist has come up with an amusing test for identifying cultural generation based upon (perhaps biased) current-culture abilities and knowledge-sets (copied whole-sale from the above link):

  • Do you have your own web page? (1 point)
  • Have you made a web page for someone else? (2 points)
  • Do you IM your friends? (1 point)
  • Do you text your friends? (2 points)
  • Do you watch videos on YouTube? (1 point)
  • Do you remix video files from the Internet? (2 points)
  • Have you paid for and downloaded music from the Internet? (1 point)
  • Do you know where to download free (illegal) music from the Internet? (2 points)
  • Do you blog for professional reasons? (1 point)
  • Do you blog as a way to keep an online diary? (2 points)
  • Have you visited MySpace at least five times? (1 point)
  • Do you communicate with friends on Facebook? (2 points)
  • Do you use email to communicate with your parents? (1 point)
  • Did you text to communicate with your parents? (2 points)
  • Do you take photos with your phone? (1 point)
  • Do you share your photos from your phone with your friends? (2 points)
  • 0-1 point – Baby Boomer
    2-6 points – Generation Jones
    6- 12 points – Generation X
    12 or over – Generation Y

    Incidentally, this puts me excessively (17) in “Generation Y” and all of my sisters in “Baby Boomer”. So perhaps this ought to be more of a pass/fail test for the “Internet Generation”, which is what I would say I self-identify as. Do you pass?

    15 Comments

    1. 3 points – Generation Jones.

      Which locates me exactly, as I was born in 1956. Yeah, I’m old. πŸ˜‰

      Actually, I’m glad this came up, as I’m interested in the whole Baby Boomer phenomenon for a writing project I’m working on (when I have the time *sigh*), and I wasn’t aware of the “Generation Jones” designation as a component of the Boomer generation. I’ll have to become more familiar with the theory behind this classification system, see how much validity is has. I suspect that the whole idea of a forgotten segment at the end the Baby Boomer generation isn’t too far off the mark.

      I probably should have claimed 4 points, now that I think about it. I have IM’d on occasion, but I don’t make a practice of it. Still, a score of 4 would have kept me in the same category.

    2. The amount of stuff these generation categories don’t take into account could fill more wikipedia entries than the generations themselves have, but I suppose they are useful identifiers in the same way that “race” and “gender” are useful identifiers: they give you a better likelihood of knowing who the person in question might be.

      This is also the first time I’ve heard of Generation Jones…what is your take on the Baby Boomer generation? I note that my aunt has a different worldview than my father does (she is technically BB while he is not), but there are many other social factors (gender, marital status, education, job) that could account for that, so I was never certain (despite my mother’s assertions that it was the reason) that my aunt’s status a sa BB could account for all of those differences.

    3. Demographically, I’m as GenX as one can get, but I got 19 points: I’ve yet to remix videos, I don’t text my parents, and I don’t blog professionally (unfortunately).

      This probably is more indicative of tech-savvy than age. I can think of plenty of older IT and blogging types who would score high on this, and some younger Luddites who would score lower.

    4. I think that “Baby Boomer” is a good category description for the group born during that time (usually defined as being born between from 1946 to 1964) in some ways. Things were different then…the war was over, people were reproducing like bunny rabbits (and not just here in the US, from some things I’ve read, but I don’t know to what degree that was true outside the US), and those babies got raised in different ways because a) things were more crowded by the time they got to school, b) the country was becoming more urbanized and c) smaller due to the growing media, and d) the country was more prosperous in many ways. All of that tended to make people born during that era have some things in common. Also, it was the first “generation” that was self-conscious of being that.

      On the other hand (you did see that coming, didn’t you?), I think that span of time is just too long to be as monolithic as some people have tried to make it. Eighteen years is a long time; the first baby boomers were in the process of entering adulthood by the time the last boomers were being born. There are going to be clear differences in outlook between those born at the beginning and those born at the end of that long a period of time.

      Using myself as an example, I was (as I said before) born in 1956, which is just after the middle of the boom. I have a lot more in common with people I know who were born toward the end of that time period than I do with people I know who were born at the beginning of it. My own take on it is that while I remember bits and pieces of the 1950s (enough to know that it really was a different world then), I’m not really part of that decade because I came to social and political awareness in the 60s and so have more in common with people who were also born closer to that time of upheaval (and it was that) than with those who first became aware of their social and political environment in the 50s.

      I don’t know…all of that is part of what I’m looking at in my writing project, and that all could just be part of my unique point of view rather than a universally valid assessment.

    5. I came to social and political awareness in the [insert decade]

      I think that’s the most important part of being identified with a “generation”. To me it seems less when someone was born or how they were raised than when they became socially & politically aware.

    6. Good point indeed, Miko, about sociopolitical coming-of-age. I’m a “Late Boomer” (Gen Jones, post-hippie, space baby) myself, born in ’61; my sociopolitical awareness began in the late ’60s but mostly took place in the early ’70s. I have a friend born in ’69 whose parents cultivated her s/p awareness pretty much from the cradle. She’s not Gen X except chronologically (and tech-savvily, but that’s because she’s… here it is again… a geek), she’s my generation – she and I actually had a long discussion about this a couple of years back.

      Sunflower

    7. John

      Here’s a couple more non-tech things to add to the quiz: how many piercings do you have? How many tattoos?

      Going to high school in the 80s, multiple tattoos and non-ear piercings were kind of the exception–now they seem to be the rule.

    8. I think a differentiating factor between the Gen X’ers and Gen Y and beyond is the type of language used in communication. If you use short text language, you’re solidly Gen Y.

      if u cn kEp ur hed wen all about u r losin thers & blamin it on u if u cn trst urself wen all men dout u, bt mAk alowance 4 ther doutin 2

      *claws out eyes*

    9. I’m a baby boomer, but this quiz puts me in Generation Y. I think John White is right, the short text language is the real identifier. I can read it, but I still see it as a sign of intelligence that I capitalize my letters.
      Incidentally, I have about 50 friends on my myspace, and the oldest one was born in 1982. (13 years younger than me!) Most of them are my kids, their friends, my swim team kids, my seminary students, etc. I would add my own friends, but they don’t have my spaces.

    10. You know, I looked at MySpace when it first started to become “the thing”, but I really couldn’t see the point. Maybe it’s my generation. Maybe it’s my anti-social tendencies. But I’ve got a blog. I’ve got places like this where I find like-minded people. I mod on a forum. There is a limit to the numbers of ball I can keep in the air at one time and it didn’t really seem like my thing, so I decided to skip it.

    11. There really must be a limit to the number of balls, plural, I can keep in the air…that was supposed to be “balls”, not “ball” in the final sentence of my previous post.

      That’s what I get for trying to transition directly from work to doing anything else. When you hit the half-century mark, the brain doesn’t do 90-degree turns like it used to. πŸ˜‰

    12. John W: I can read that but generally limit myself to “IM” English, as opposed to “txt” English. That is, I’ll say things like “prolly” and “s/t” because it’s just faster to type than “probably” and “something”. I also save it for IMing and replies to blogs. My capitalization is iffy. There are times when I feel like somethings should never be capitalized, even at the beginning of a sentence. Proper names like “de la Cruz” I would not capitalize at the beginning of a sentence unless Word did it for me…and it does…

      Maybe needless ellipses and parenthetical comments are likewise signs of the internet Gen.

      I’ve got a tattoo and an extra earpiercing…what does that say?

      MySpace is not work the…well, the screen real estate (I was gonna [

    13. I seem to come up as GenY, but I think as a SysAdmin (or anyone who works heavily with computers) is sort of skewed on the quiz.

      I think with the tattoos and extra piercings, a lot of GenX’ers might have waited will after highschool, where as now, kids are getting them in highschool. I could be wrong, but this is what I’m seeing these days with my Army experience.

      As for txting and im’ing language, I like to use full, or nearly full words. Thats why my phones usually have qwerty pads. πŸ˜› I’m just not all that hip to the super abbreviated lingo… tisnf.

      The funny thing about these quizes for me, is my Sociology training always tries to ruin the fun for me. I can’t take one of these without criticizing how little data its working off of, or some other problem.

    14. I can’t take one of these without criticizing how little data its working off of, or some other problem.

      Sometimes that’s half the fun! πŸ™‚ When tattoos were acquired is probably a better gage of generation than the simple acquisition thereof: if it involves any kind of military service it should be removed from the equation.

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