As Generation C is the most digitally conected on the planet, maybe the “C” in our recently renamed generation stands for “cool” representing people from the ages of 18-34 in various fashions. I just turned 23, but I’m thinking it’s just not cool to represent the old ethos of what cool used to mean anymore—which is generally doing nothing, chillin’ out and maxin’ out like Will Smith on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air versus his nerdy counterpart Carlton Banks.
But before I mistakingly think my generation is special, the number one trending hashtag Friday in Toronto for a time was #InThisGeneration. The hashtag launched a protest against my own generation and what they have become—loveless, alcoholic, judgemental, disrespectful, disloyal, tatted, anti-authority, untrustworthy, and pregnant.
It seems to me today’s youth must change the way they are to fit into society or band together because youth unemployment (24 and under) has easily surpassed 20% in most Western countries including Canada. Maybe it has less to do with the world’s economy or a lack of retirement savings and more to do with the attitudes of today’s youth more than a lack of specialized skills. Our sense of entitlement is off the charts towards money, material things, and jobs just because we have a university or college degree—which more of us have than ever before.
The Canadian publication AdBusters, perhaps largely responsible for the Occupy Movement moving overseas into North America from where it began in Egypt has suggestions. They recently came out with what “post-cool” means in their Big Ideas of 2012 issue no doubt influenced by a digitally connected world.
Ted Gioia says: “The cool was a demanding deity, requiring its adherents to keep up with the times, to maintain a retinue of admirers. But postcool, by nature inward focused and self-directed, will not be so easily budged. From now on, the game will be played by different rules. Postcool will be more intense than cool. Higher strung. More determined and less easily deflected and distracted. For this reason, many parties will strive to win the allegiance of this rapidly growing constituency.
“But old-school cool will not come back,” he continues. “The cool is dead … at least as we knew it back in the second half of the 20th century. If aspects of it still hold center stage from time to time, they will do so because they have adapted to the new state of affairs. As with all passing movements, the age of cool will inspire nostalgia and retain a few adherents, those folks who always look back dreamily at the past, lamenting the loss of the good ol’ days. But the future belongs to a different personality type and hard-nosed assertiveness”.
A type of assertiveness we’ve seen in so many young Canadian entrepreneurs in the tech world who have experienced success. With technology you can disrupt industries and change the world as you see fit if your ideas are good enough.
I’ve heard that employers are amazed about the people who do actually try to make an impact from this generation because they try so hard. Wouldn’t it be cool to be Mark Zuckerburg on the brink of an IPO that stands to net him billions and put him among the world’s richest?
The thing is he didn’t get there without the help of venture capitalists. He didn’t get there without the help of an older generation that just can’t understand the way we are.
So I think we have to be more respectful, more human, and learn to love again instead of just saying “fuck the world” and getting bombed every weekend for no good reason at all, completely scared of breaking the rules of social convention because we’ll be judged by our friends later.
Lose that fear and anything’s possible. I find that too many people are just waiting for the next big thing to happen to them rather than trying to make it happen themselves.