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How To Know Whether You’re Too Old To Call Yourself A Millennial

Terms like “Gen X” and “Gen Y,” baby boomer, and millennial get thrown around all of the time, as if we know exactly what they mean. But try asking someone in their early 30s what category they fall into. Few have a ready answer. Beyond that, these categories are used to define broad swaths of people. For example, the youngest of the millennial cohort, depending on what dates you use, are 9 or 10 right now, and the oldest are, if you use an early start date, around 31. Despite that, articles make sweeping generalizations.  It’s worth breaking down what each of these terms actually mean, even though some are still in dispute today. The issue is that people confuse generations, which are specifically defined by birth dates, with “cohorts,” a slightly more vague grouping of people based on common experiences. The divisions we know and reference are usually hybrids of the two. Here’s the breakdown of the terms used and what people mean by them.

The Greatest Generation 

Also known as: The Depression Cohort, The Silent Generation (later), the G.I. Generation (early), the post-war generation, the seekers.

Approximate dates: Born 1901-1924 (early) 1924-1943 (later)

Defining characteristics: Grew up, and frequently were defined by their experiences growing up, during The Great Depression and World War 2. “The Greatest Generation” is a term coined by Tom Brokaw to describe a group of people who helped fight and win World War 2, abroad or at home, and helped build the post-war prosperity that helped define the generations after them. Regarded as having a sense of purpose and duty to country, and working extremely hard to better themselves. Those too young to serve, called “The Silent Generation,” experienced the war as children or very young adults, and were described by the Time story that named them as “grave and fatalistic,” inclined to work very hard, but not say all that much.

Baby Boomers 

Also known as: Boom generation, hippies (subculture)

Approximate dates: 1946-1964

Defining characteristics: Loosely, those born during the post war “baby boom” of the late ’40s and ensuing decades, where birth rates significantly increased. Among their defining experiences were the first space flight, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and later, the Vietnam War and Watergate. They developed some of the first counter-cultures, and though early boomers were known for their tendencies towards freedom and experimentation, that grew into a sense of disillusionment and distrust for the government for the latter members. Still, compared to those who followed them, “Boomers tend to value work more than younger generations and see work as being more central to their lives than younger generations.” In the ’60s, the stereotype of the generation was a navel-gazing hippie, but now, the generation is more identified with those currently in power.

Challenges: They’re rapidly getting older and retiring, and not all of them have saved up enough to be able to do so. The fact that many in this generation led the institutions that caused the current financial crisis didn’t help. Those who are still working, or are forced to work by their financial situation, face an unfortunate bias from employers. Companies don’t like to hire older workers, and they don’t like to hire those who have been out of the workforce for a long time.

Gen X 

Also known as: Baby busters, the MTV generation

Approximate dates: 1965-1981

Defining characteristics: Grew up in the political climate in the aftermath of Watergate and the Vietnam War, during a series of recessions, the Reagan presidency, the AIDS epidemic, and the end of the Cold War. Research finds  Gen Xers are more likely to be independent and value their own career over organizations. They value autonomy and freedom at their jobs, and are not as work-centric as older generations. They’re more socially liberal than the Baby Boomers, and they’re the first generation to fully embrace the Internet. In the ’80s, the stereotype was that the generation was intensely self-involved, greedy, and narcissistic. Now, since they make up so much of the workforce, it’s hard to pin it down.

Challenges: The older members of Gen X are currently at the top, or near the top of many organizations. As more and more Baby Boomers retire, they’ll have to foot the bill, and that bill’s getting ever larger. Also, many don’t have skill sets that really apply in the current job market.Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to change tracks, especially for those later in their career.



Fred Benenson on Flickr Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the site of Amazon’s latest warehouse, is a mecca for the young and hip. Here are some of its residents.

Also known as: Gen Y, Nexters, Generation Next

Approximate dates: 1982-2004

Defining characteristics: Grew up during a time of economic prosperity, then many entered the workforce during a recession. Surrounded by the rapid advance of technology, particularly the Internet. More live with their parents, though the accusations of narcissism have more to do with the fact that all young people are narcissistic than any trait of the generation. And their values are just about in line with those who came before them.  Their attitude towards work differs; they expect quick advancement , and don’t expect to stay at any one organization for very long, a legacy of living through the financial crisis and the resulting weak economy. Also identified with the hipster stereotype/subculture, and with being glued to their smartphones rather than engaged with the world or their jobs.

Challenges: Facing a particularly difficult job market at the moment. Not that long ago, a college degree was a decent guarantee of a good job. Now, that’s not the case . Many recent graduates can’t get a job outside of retail and hospitality, let alone in their current major. Many have high student debt as well, as the cost of college rises and wages stay stagnant. Not forgetting that the problems with Baby Boomers retiring that falls on Gen X, will fall doubly hard on millennials.



The difference between a Twitter: Reply, Retweet, and Direct Message

Twitter is like a river of confetti.  Tweets are the confetti which are individual messages floating down the river.  If your audience is standing on the bank of the river and paying attention then they will see your message or Tweet.  But Twitter has created some tools to allow users to communicate with each other in a more direct manner; Replies, Retweets and Direct Messages. This post is designed to help take the mystery out of these three communication tools.  Your Twitter marketing success depends on your ability to use each of these as effectively as possible to create ongoing conversation with your followers.

Direct Message (DM) is a private conversation you have with only individuals who are following you.  To send a DM all you need to do start your Tweet with the letter “@” followed by the users twitter name and then type your message. If you attempt to send a DM to a person who is not following you Twitter will let you know there is a problem with an error message.  This is a wonderful limitation because you will only receive a DM from someone who you are following.

Replies. If you want to direct your comments to one specific person but would like everyone else to see it then use the “Reply” function. You address the person by using their Twitter user name preceded by the “@” symbol. For example:

@johndoe I like to eat at Joe’s Diner in Pueblo.

Everyone who is following John and me will see the message, but I am specifically directing it to John. (Those who are not following either of us will not see the message.)

You can also use the Reply function to refer to someone by name. For example:

I’m headed to dinner at Joe’s Diner with @janedoe and @jimdoe. I am looking forward to trying the new menu.

Another advantage to using Twitter names in messages is that it creates clickable links.  The link will take a user to the Twitter page of that person.  They will then have the opportunity to follow that person if they wish.

Retweets are a way of re-broadcasting one of your followers messages to everyone that follows you. This is a simple way to share content that you find valuable or interesting with your followers.

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5 Simple Tips for the Perfect Blog Interview

Interviewing others for blog posts is  a fantastic way to leverage current business relationships, start new relationships and drive new traffic to your blog, but the best part is you get to exchange ideas with absolutely brilliant people. It also gives the blog a more conversational flavor and helps broaden the scope of the content.

If you’ve been considering beginning an interview series on your blog, here are the Top 5 tips that I’ve learned along the way:

1. Brush up on your journalism skills:

Do a little research on each of your interviewees before putting together your questions. It will show that not only do you know your stuff, but also that you are truly interested in what they have to say.

2. Don’t limit the subject: Let your interview topic be broad. Don’t limit questions to your area of expertise or even to the theme you’re focusing on. Often, an interviewee will move off topic slightly, but, remember, this is natural and it is ok. If you can, even add a personal question or two.

3. Get ready to share yourself: Often, once you strike up a relationship with these folks and have earned a bit of respect, they’ll ask to interview you as well or write a guest post (like this one). Be ready and willing to share.

4. Provide feedback and promotional information: Make sure that you properly promote the post once you’ve posted it. Share the link with the person that you’ve interviewed, and don’t forget to remind them to share it with their friends and family and via social media channels. Also, if you’ve learned something particularly useful or have more questions, don’t be afraid to ask. After all, this might be your only chance to speak with the “greats” of a particular discipline.

5. Keep the conversation going: Time allowing, try to keep the conversation going after the interview via e-mail or on social media networks like Facebook , LinkedIn or Twitter. Friend or follow them, and make the effort to maintain the relationship if you can.