Clifton: The generation of understanding

September 4, 2018

A majority of our generation has worked in customer service at one point or another, and that mass can probably admit to a recurring theme with many older customers: They allow less room for error.


From my own experience, I have noticed that baby boomers and even Gen Xers seem to get upset about service issues much more often than millennials, which made me wonder why.


Maybe it’s just their patience thinning, or maybe it’s a little more complex than that.


According to Pew Research Center, millennials are the most racially diverse, least religious and on track to be the most educated generation in American history.


On top of these new characteristics, this generation has access to technology like never before.

The internet has a huge impact on millennials’ understanding. We no longer have to tune into the daily news to be aware of what’s happening all over the world. Simply logging onto any of our favorite social media accounts keeps us in the know.

This allows a younger demographic to be aware and when individuals are aware, they are more likely to act on issues and improve.


For example, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the site of the horrific school shooting on Valentine’s Day that killed 17, organized a National School Walkout on March 14 of this year to draw attention to gun control.


Nearly a million students across the country left class to protest the school shooting epidemic. Because of our younger demographic being informed, the numbers of those participating are higher.


There is a better chance for our generation making change simply because the internet is educating us.

Although, millennials have been fed news our entire lives, and our generation has unfortunately experienced many public traumas.

Because of our technology, we have been forced to live and relive these events as they are displayed all over our TVs and computers over and over again. Images of 9/11, Columbine and natural disasters are cemented into our brains at a young age.


I believe that being exposed to these public traumas in a new medium led to a generation of not only understanding, but empathy.


The internet has the power of connecting people and showing us just how similar we all are. Relatability is important in a society that is becoming increasingly divided, and social media is improving this.

It also allows us to note our differences. The better we understand our society, the more empathetic we will be as a whole.


Our generation is normalizing previously unorthodox communities and ideas due to this understanding. For instance, LGBTQ communities are becoming more widely accepted and talked about.


Thanks to today’s technology, millennials have the resources to live in a world they understand: A world that isn’t perfect, but at least we are aware of its imperfections.


We can use this understanding to improve our future. We can use this understanding to relate to others and, most importantly, we can use this understanding to accept mistakes.


Riley Clifton is a third-year student majoring in communication. 



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