Guest post by Cyber Millenial
How do you understand the minds of the younger generation(s)? Here is part of what I am going to say. It isn’t easy, but nothing this important ever is.
The language of the younger generation is digital. We communicate and make ourselves heard in seconds. Our challenge is to pause before posting, making sure that what we want to say to those who are our avid listeners is good for them, for us, and for our future, since what we say is kept forever, even if it’s a throwaway comment. In some ways, we’ve become more reflective because of it. Sometimes, we haven’t said anything because we are still thinking of how it will affect us in the future. That does not mean we are not interested or don’t have anything to say. We have learned to take our time.
Also, we are community based. We build our own communities. We don’t have borders for our communities. For example, I can communicate with a friend on the East Coast or Germany or Canada. They may be my best friends because of shared interests. Therefore, our views are oddly broad and oddly specific. We aren’t always tied to place. “Working for your community” isn’t the same to us as “working for your hometown.” We’ve defined that community and it is an individual one. If someone doesn’t fit our communities, we step away, or push them away.
Many of us are gamers. We enjoy our entertainment as interactive. Much like a sports game where everybody plays, we are used to building teams with people who may not be the best for the community, but can get the mission done. Beyond that, we feel no expectation toward them. We’ve met for the necessary moment, and we’ve done things. We’ve gone on.
As gamers, we also abhor “pay to win” or “pay to play” games. If we are required to spend money to get the game (or start the project), then we want to know upfront. We’ll spend our money when we know what we’re getting out of it. We’ll even pay for additional parts later if we know what it supports later. However, we want to build a community with it, and we need to have a voice. To say either, “you don’t have enough time in the community” or “you haven’t put enough resources (read money) into the community” are sure fire ways to drive a youth off, because they have paid, whether with time or voice, and they will find another community easily. It just will not be yours.
We are also the children, grandchildren or relations of the creators of the Tea Party. We are more conservative than we like to admit out loud (read above paragraph about affecting our future). Our buzzwords are “tyranny,” “Constitution,” “RINO,’ and various other strict constructionist ideas. One of those ideas is that the representative government must actually represent. When we have no opportunity to voice our opinions, it’s not grassroots, it’s “the machine.” We want to sit down, get to know people, talk about what’s important to us, and be actively involved in making decisions. We don’t want the big seats right away; we know we are young. However, we’d like the say in who sits there. They do represent us, and we don’t think that representation without communication is wise or accurate. How can you be the one making the decisions for me when you don’t know what I think? To us, that smacks of the Tyranny that fomented the creation of this nation in the first place. Old people sitting in chairs making decisions for us without our input, but expecting us to carry them out. This is not involvement. It is parenting or a job, or, since no familial link or compensation exists, slavery. “For the good of the tribe” only works if the ones working are an actual, accepted member of the tribe. If we’ve helped decide what to do, we will work tirelessly to get it done. See how long we’ll spend trying to beat a certain game or perfect a certain art or craft. We have the attention and the tenacity. We just don’t want to work for a community that won’t learn any of our language, won’t understand how micro-globally we think, and we won’t pay to play or pay to win. By your usual procedures, you hit almost every single one of our core values, stomp on it, and say, “Those horrible kids. They won’t help us.” Now, you know why.