How the Millennial Generation Is Shaping the World

Thursday, February 21, 2013

David Burstein discusses how the millennial generation (people who are today eighteen to thirty years old) is shaping politics, business, media, and activism. The so-called millennials have been called entitled, narcissistic, the worst employees in history, and even the dumbest generation. But in his book Fast Future, Burstein argues that the millennial generation’s unique blend of civic idealism and savvy pragmatism will help us to overcome a deeply divided nation facing economic and environmental calamities.


David Burstein

Comments [25]


"A virtual lottery winner (Zuckerberg) as generational exemplar? Turn out the lights."


Feb. 21 2013 02:03 PM

Talk to...or, just have a look at the person sitting next to you on the subway!!!

Technology and "social" media has made us all a Kulture™ of self-obsessed navel gazers.

There's a world outside the heavy blanket of earbuds and iFones®.


...and most of all, get out of my way whist doing your naval gazing!!! Your device-addled posture resembles that of a real, "analogue" junkie of yore!!


Feb. 21 2013 02:02 PM
Yoyo from nyc

I share on flickr by making my photos non copyright.
And my name doesn't appear on the flickr page.
It's only marginally narcissistic.
I don't know how much it's generational, as it is a personality defect in people.

Feb. 21 2013 02:00 PM

A virtual lottery winner (Zuckerberg) as generational exemplar? Turn out the lights.

Feb. 21 2013 01:59 PM

I have reservations about generalizing too broadly about an entire generation, but I'm very impressed with the young folks I meet. The greatest social contribution of the Boomers may turn out to be their kids.

Feb. 21 2013 01:56 PM

Social media:

Sure, it sharing but, it's "narcissistic" sharing.

It's "sharing" amongst a VERY narrow, VERY concentrated, LIKE-MINDED narcissists!!


Feb. 21 2013 01:51 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Luna - Take a number. Your generation's not the first to put off having children into the 30s and 40s. Moreover, that's not what makes Millenials particularly "selfish" (your word). Knowing a swath of people who educated your cohort, as well my having employed a cluster of them, has taught me that the assessment comes more from the sense of entitlement imbued your generation by your generous-to-overindulging Boomer parents. They're the last to enjoy a pretty long and high-earning career ride, which afforded you advantages that sometimes don't make for work readiness, general independence or the patience required when taking those first jobs following one's undergraduate years. Having children later has been a long-established trend since the back end of the Boomer generation.

Feb. 21 2013 01:51 PM
john from office

Facebook is all about how great my life is, when the average person has a simple life, with problems. i hate facebook, it is all about MMMMMEEEEEE

Feb. 21 2013 01:50 PM

Oh those kids!

Feb. 21 2013 01:50 PM
John A.

I have to think that millennials owning less has to be because of college debt. This is a huge thing that the guest doesn't talk to.
Social media is about collecting followers like Pokemon. Nobody can manage more than 25 friends in real life, and these people need 250 so-called friends online. Misnamed term.

Feb. 21 2013 01:49 PM

So when he posts on Facebook, he is 'sharing' but when his dad does he is bragging?

Feb. 21 2013 01:49 PM

Oh you kids!

Feb. 21 2013 01:47 PM

Oh you kids! ;-)

Feb. 21 2013 01:43 PM

This guest is validating some of the concerns that we older folk have about the Millennials. For one, that a persona can claim reality to be whatever they choose without the need to support that view with anything more rigorous anecdotal musings. If it's on Wikipedia, that's all we need to know about it.

Feb. 21 2013 01:41 PM
John A

Can't say I envy them all their distractions. If cable was TV on steroids, then the Internet is that to cable. I see people spend 30 hours a week on just on tumblr, for example.

Feb. 21 2013 01:32 PM
Bon Abate from Yonkers

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 55 million 18-30 year old rather than the 80 million the guest quoted ...

Feb. 21 2013 01:25 PM
jp from NYC

Taking a sec form my engineering tasks, I find that this gen has no different issues than my own boomer gen. They do come to work a bit scruffy, but they know a lot of stuff and we older people try to make them more responsible while here.
I do need to mention b4 I go off into code land that they are much more tolerant of races and race issues, very tolerant of sexual orientation and over all more health conscious and not necessarily committed to working 70 hour weeks like we did which I find refreshing. They seem to be more respectful of us older folks then when I was their age and anyone over 30 was a reactionary.

Feb. 21 2013 01:24 PM
Matt from Sunnyside

I absolutely disagree with the guest's claim that technology has been the great democratizer across class and race lines for the "millenials." I am a 35-year-old teacher at a local college whose population is largely minority and lower-middle-class, working class, or poor. In my experience, a large portion of my students are not at all savvy with all the technology that has been made available to them. Often, for example, I find myself teaching young students something as simple as how to double-space a document, how to send an email to more than one recipient, how to do a simple Internet search, or how to read a Wikipedia entry.

I'd be interested to see what hard evidence the author has to support his view that these technologies have empowered the traditionally disenfranchised in our country, because in my anecdotal experience, it's not true.

Feb. 21 2013 01:22 PM

Come on Leonard pin this guest down on at least one generalization please.

Feb. 21 2013 01:20 PM
Chuck Finkle from NYC

I was at the rally against the Keystone XL Pipeline in Washington on Sunday, and there was a surprising number of college kids and other Millenial-age people protesting.

Feb. 21 2013 01:18 PM
J. Elizabeth

I am perfectly willing to accept and embrace the idea that this generation is aware, much more accepting of other cultures and groups, and technically progressive. My worry is that their narcissism and seeming inability to relate to others in real time ie converse face-to-face, is going to be the long term problem. Too much access to too much information without any concrete action is my worry.

Feb. 21 2013 01:17 PM

Come on Leonard pin this generalization-ist down on at least one point please.

Feb. 21 2013 01:17 PM
john from office

I am 52, I dont understand the need to always be in touch, have every electronic toy, and constantly listen to music. Maybe I am just Old.

Feb. 21 2013 01:16 PM
Luna from Little Neck

As a Millenial myself (I'm 31), I think that our generation gets a bad rap for for feeling "entitled" because we are waiting later to have children and start families. I don't have kids and I just got married last year so I have had lots of time to devote to myself. This was a personal decision for me. I think this is VERY different for my parents who are both baby boomers.

Feb. 21 2013 01:12 PM
Eric from Brooklyn

It's a tall order to posit that this generation in the West (which is my own, I suppose - I'm 31), has the potential to shape the world in a positive way.

While it is the most socially progressive generation in history, a very good thing, it is also a generation too consumed with self-importance, inherited and entitled privileges that are unearned, and too distracted by modern tools of communication that shorten attention spans and over-expand the ego.

It is more likely that those of this generation who shape the world will be those from China and India. They have more for which to strive, more to benefit, and have more practical education and skills than the spoiled offspring of Western babyboomers possess.

Also, all the uptalking and vocal fry business. Very distasteful.

Feb. 21 2013 12:59 PM

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