The book "Generation X" by Douglas Coupland impressed me when I read it and it led me to read most of the author's work compulsively. Although it was set in a different social and cultural environment, the lives and worries of the characters were the same as mine and I identified with them. I now found out that there already is a Y Generation and I try to, quietly, find out whether I can get there.
First of all, I find the choice of letters scary. Does the fact that we're already in the Y Generation mean the end of the world is nearing? Will we reach the end of the alphabet and start over again? Will we have a Generation A? I don't know. I do know the market researchers define the Y Generation as being between 18 and 27 years old, with three main traits: they're continually connected; they speak their own language; they're influenced by their peers. (I think there's hope for me)
Another noteworthy fact: the X Generation was described by a writer and subtly defined by his own words, by a story and a roll of characters. Whereas the Y Generation is being defined by Marketing researchers. And it's truly a marketing dream. Members of this generation are always connected in some way or other, which means they are always up to being bombarded with messages. They're emotionally insecure, permanently in search of recognition and fame, in a never-ending adolescence that one day will mold their personality (even if it is one based on iPods).
On a second level, it is more complex. The attention of this generation is harder to grab and its members are bored easily, they demand a quick pace and change is a click away. One minute they're here. The next, they're not. Their language is hard to imitate and seems difficult in the eyes of outsiders, it is often dominated by nonsense and by a network of cultural references that is spread as quickly as fire in a savannah.
On a third level, things get even worse for the marketing staff. As it turns out, the Y Generation actually has an opinion. Worse. It has several opinions. And those opinions change easily and constantly. It's faithful to the opinion of friends, but not to brands. Today Nike, tomorrow Adidas, then Element and Carhartt next week. Its tribes are in permanent mutation and interaction: Emos, Gamers, Punks, Alternatives, and I don't know who else... And, to top it off... They're creative. Not in an orderly and easy to understand way, but rather in a nonsense logic, without any sort of boundaries.
This is the audience of a significant part of the Internet. In Portugal, Brazil and the rest of the world. Did you notice how I've started using shorter sentences? It's so I don't bore you. Peace.