Much has been said about millennials: that we’re lazy, selfish, creative, short-sighted, the list goes on. As a member of the millennial generation, I don’t think it’s fair or right to lump us all together and label us with the mistakes of the few. I’m fairly certain that the baby boomers and their parents before them were just as rash and cocky and, to an extent, naive. We just have a public social network that broadcasts our often quickly-formed opinions fast and far that older generations didn’t have. We’re an odd combination of both consumer and performer, aiming to be heard more than just to hear.
I’m sure, you millennial reader, heard phrases like “you’re all winners” or “you can do and be anything you want” frequently in your childhood. Emphasis on the individual over the collective is the trend. This sort of focus has given many millennials a sense of subconscious entitlement.
For some reason everyone thinks they can write now. With platforms like Elite Daily, Odyssey, and Thought Catalog, promoting opinion–necessarily extreme opinion–through the medium of writing is the norm, and almost the necessity if one wants their voice heard. The goal behind these websites is a logical one, and formed with great intentions I’m sure: bring media voices back down to the “people.” This goes off the principle that millennials are an under-voiced and under-respected generation. And maybe insight can grace a millennial just as much as a life-worn elder.
But not all millennials all the time.
Not all millennial thoughts are worthy of publication. The problem, how I see it, is the extremity and swiftness with which these ideas are often formed. Millennial-written articles are published within hours of thought-provoking events, filled with calls to action and precise viewpoints. That leaves no time to marinate, to mull over the information, to even edit the articles before they’re published. The reaction of millennials in the face of information is to speak, not to listen. So the purpose of these social writing platforms is a good one– to have conversation– but millennials don’t often use them that way. Their articles are shouts, not measured responses.
In addition, not all pieces millennials write are worthy of publication. Writing is the medium of communication nowadays. Combine that norm with that entitled mindset many millennials subconsciously carry and you’ve got everyone and their brother published on the internet. The very idea that writing is a skill, let alone an art form, is becoming lost in the onslaught of millennial articles. Writers work passionately to craft articles, stories, narratives, and verse. The art of writing has been used for expression and entertainment certainly, but equally so for the movement of an agenda. All time-weathered works are the ones that speak to our souls, that call us to action, implicitly or explicitly. In our era of instant gratification and sensationalism, the art and power of writing is quickly being smothered.
At the very least, writing has rules (called “grammar” for those of you who may not have realized that those mechanics you learned in 4th grade are really used in the English language) that need to be followed. I continue to be saddened at the quality of writing that has become standard for many large writing platforms. I’m still surprised at the anger many millennials feel when turned down, as if they’re entitled to publication for taking the time to jot their ideas down on digital paper. Excuse my bitterness, but just because I took one art or math class in college doesn’t make me an artist or a mathematician. In the same way, not everyone can write. And that’s really ok, you don’t have to write. You don’t have to say (read: publish; I’m not jumping on your first amendment) anything at all, actually.
If you have something that you just need to say and think that writing it is the best way to accomplish that, let me challenge you to keep your post to yourself for a moment. Listen to the posts and thoughts of others. Have genuine conversation with friends and adults (yes, adults) you respect. If you conclude that what you have to say is helping to create conversation, then go for it! Publish away! But please, for the love of all things good, proofread your work.
In closing, let me add that I love fluff articles because humorous breaks are so necessary in a social media world filled with extremes, negativity, and the terrible 24-hour news cycle that makes all this internet-screaming appear necessary.
Long live the Kardashian GIF posts.