I enjoy talking about, reading, and debating the broad characteristics that define the generations we belong to. The one universal take away from these discussions with friends and coworkers is: The broad characteristics assigned to generations are very broad and, if you're born at the start or end of a generation, you may very well identify with the generation you're not apart of. That's very apparent for those born at the end of Generation X and the start of the Millennials. So much so there's a new micro-generation name for these people. Xennials.

Xennials were born between 1977 and 1983. According to mamamia.com.au Xennials had an analog childhood and experienced the digital revolution in college or post college. Professor Dan Woodman of The University of Melbourne told Mamamia:

The idea is there’s this micro or in-between generation between the Gen X group – who we think of as the depressed flannelette-shirt-wearing, grunge-listening children that came after the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – who get described as optimistic, tech savvy and maybe a little bit too sure of themselves and too confident.

Around technology they do have a particular experience – we hit this social media and IT digital technology boom in our 20s.

At first I got excited thinking hey I fit this definition. And those of us three or four years older than the Xennnial age group do fit part of the definition. We did experience the rise of the personal computer and going online. The rise of pagers for all, and then cell phones. A lot of that while we were in college or just post college. We didn't however, experience social media in that time. That's the other part of what makes a Xennial.

It's true. I've worked with younger Gen Xers and Millennials. Millennials have an innate ability to navigate social media. I sure don't. Gen Xers a few years my junior have a leg up on that too. They're not as good as the Millennials, but still better than myself and a lot of folks my age.

Another thing I've learned from discussing generations with friends and coworkers: People identify strongly with the generation they feel they belong to. They'll also defend that choice regardless of what box someone else wants to put them in. So who knows if the term Xennial will ever be accepted outside of marketers trying to put us in a box and sell us something. The interesting part about discussing generations for me is comparing and contrasting each generations' experiences and learning about how we perceive ourselves. That's truly the fun part of this discussion. Not the labels or broadly drawn stereotypes that define the labels.






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