For many Millennials, 2016 fittingly could be chalked up as the best of times and the worst of times. While the wisdom of the olds didn’t much curtail their continued fascination with the foolishness of the young’uns, there were definite highlights and lowlights for peeps ages 18 to 34 and the things they did and/or enjoyed. As we turn another page on this epoch of belief and incredulity, let’s take a look at a coupla Millennial-inspired and/or Millennial-adjacent winners and losers of the year:
Millennial Social Platform of the Year
Never mind that the olds simply don’t get the appeal of Snapchat, for Millennials, it’s the photo and video sharing app of the moment, obvs. Because how else can a Millennial overshare his or her every move and/or waking moment except through a social platform where every artfully crafted #YOLO and #FOMO moment disappears once it’s been viewed, amirite? With more than 150 million daily users and a higher ratio of Millennial users than any other social-sharing app, Snapchat has attracted a growing array of advertisers hoping to cash in on this captive, engaged and influential audience.
Loser: Instagram Stories
Snapchat might be where the Millennials are these days, but Instagram’s Stories is tryna horn in on some of that ephemeral pic action. Although Instagram’s 500 million monthly users still outpaces Snapchat’s current reach, the number of shares on average per individual instagrammer has steadily declined over the past two years, particularly among younger users. Copycatting Stories might’ve been a good-on-paper idea for Instagram, but as far as Millennials are concerned, it’s simply not cutting it for them.
Millennial Body Mod Trend of the Year
Winner: Tattoos and Colorfully Dyed Hair
While lotsa Gen Xers have dabbled with our fair share of Manic Panic hair dye and knew our way around the local tattoo shop during our youth, Millennials these days have fully embraced the fine art of colorful permanent and semi-permanent body modification. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half (54%) of Millennials have been inked, dyed their hair an untraditional color or had a body piercing in a place other than their ear lobe. With nearly 40% of adults under age 35 claiming to have at least one tattoo, Millennials are the most inked generation—compared to only 10% of people over age 40 who admit to having a tattoo.
Earlier this year, Whole Foods Market suggested that the upscale grocery chain would add tattooing services at their Millennial-aimed 365 chain of markets, which makes perfect sense for those who always wanted to get that very-meaningful Chinese character permanently etched on their lower backs along with a bottle of artisanal Kombucha.
With nearly 40% of adults under age 35 claiming to have at least one tattoo, Millennials are the most inked generation—compared to only 10% of people over age 40 who admit to having a tattoo. Earlier this year, Whole Foods Market suggested that the upscale grocery chain would add tattooing services at their Millennial-aimed 365 chain of markets, which makes perfect sense for those who always wanted to get that very-meaningful Chinese character permanently etched on their lower backs along with a bottle of artisanal Kombucha.
Loser: Extreme Body Piercings
Millennials may wanna express their individuality with tattoos and Wyldstyle hairdos, but they’re drawing the line lately at extreme body piercings. Wide gauge ear plugs and tribal bones in nose piercings may have been very au courant for stylish Millennials in the earlier part of the Millennium, but many are now yearning for less obvious holes in the bodies and opting to have reconstructive surgery to fix overly aggressive and gratuitous piercings.
Millennial Acronym of the Year
With false equivalencies and lesser-of-two-evils relativism being all the rage in 2016, Millennials have co-opted the heretofore obscure acronym for “on the other hand” to signal their ambivalence about, well, just about everything.
When Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as their word of the year, the final nail was put on the coffin of objective facts, giving way to the emergence of emotion and personal belief as the main drivers for any kinda discourse. Using the acronym for “to be honest” basically became a way for Millennials to telegraph that they’re probably lying and stuff.
Millennial Slacktivist Cabal of the Year
Winner: Pantsuit Nation
What started as a secret, invite-only Facebook page that was created to celebrate what woulda coulda shoulda been America’s first female POTUS, Pantsuit Nation quickly morphed on November 9 into a giant online grief counseling session-slash-quasi-subversive, anti-POTUS-elect bitch fest. Featuring member-contributed posts that were partly WTF diary entries and partly Humans of New York-like “real-life” stories, Pantsuit Nation boasted more than four million members at its peak. While the group wasn’t an exclusive enclave of Millennials, for many disillusioned young (and old) people who felt burned by the election results, the group provided a virtual safe haven for them to process and share their feels about the next four and/or eight years.
Loser: Pantsuit Nation
Although Pantsuit Nation garnered lotsa public attention, behind the scenes, the group’s 33-year-old founder, Libby Chamberlain, had Big Plans of her own. On Dec. 20, Chamberlain gleefully announced in a surprisingly tone-deaf post that she had secured herself a lucrative book deal that would reproduce some of the user-generated content from the page into a “permanent, beautiful, holdable, snuggle-in-bed-able, dog-ear-able, shareable, tear-stainable book.”
Apparently, this December surprise didn’t sit so well and many group members balked, citing Chamberlain’s greed, lack of transparency and deceit as reasons to revolt. Chamberlain’s follow-up post to whitesplain her rationale for capitalizing on other people’s stories of hope and despair further stoked the simmering rage, especially among women of color in the group, and an exodus of disappointed Pantsuit Nationers commenced shortly thereafter.