Why Millennials Have Trust Issues

Yesterday I read yet another article analyzing the actions and reactions of my generation, Millennials.

First and foremost, I’d like Regina George to speak to marketers and people of other generations on behalf of my people:
I mean we’re the most-studied generation. There have even been studies on that.
Anyway, here’s the inciting article: Why Millennials Don’t Trust Anything
Before even reading the article, I answered the headline’s implied question: Because we haven’t been given a really good reason why we should?
 
Let’s see:
  • Banks: Bunch of high-profile banking scandals blended thoroughly with a multitude of really terrible customer service experiences. Oh, and that little thing we’ll call the mortgage crisis of 2008.
  • Jobs: Our parents/we have seen too many cases where “loyal” people who gave their all to a company were summarily fired/had their benefits reduced. Doesn’t seem like the loyalty is reciprocated. Compound that with the many folk who are trained for a professional career but can’t find work in their area.
  • Owning a Home: It’s hard to own a home when you’re having job and money-related issues. And we’re prudent enough to be mistrustful in case we get trapped in the next wave of housing issues: no one wants to be “underwater.”
  • Marriage: It’s really expensive, everyone keeps telling us that we’re going to get divorced anyway (even though that statistic isn’t accurate), and we also want to feel “settled” as adults before we make a really adult financial decision.
  • Medical costs: They just suck. And all the very loud, loosely-fact-based political nonsense in the news doesn’t make anyone feel better.
  • The Environment: We’re still having fights about climate change. That’s just silly. Even if you “disagree” with the scientific fact about it, can’t we agree that it’s a good idea not to pollute?
  • Social Issues: A lot of young people (not all, I’ll say, with probability, but a lot) grew up with messages of acceptance and compassion for others (thanks, Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers!). Personally, I’ve been really disappointed in how this kind of stuff plays out in the real world, and how much intolerance there is, over really trivial crap. (I’m not even talking about Big Issues, necessarily. Even the level of “what game console do you play on?” can be fraught!) Plus there has been an awful lot of really bad stuff going on socio-politically around the world. I want to believe in Sesame Street‘s messages, but it sometimes feels like the world doesn’t want to agree with me.
So, this article in particular talks about “our” trust in blogs over traditional media. I’m a pretty big advocate for “traditional media,” having come from there education-wise. But it’s getting harder and harder to lobby on their side: I’m looking at you in particular, TV news.
That said, this is one thing I’ll disagree with: I trust traditional news sources for their veracity over blogs 95% of the time. Particularly on fact-related issues. I got in an argument with someone yesterday about a particular trendy news item, and posted a link to the New York Times. He posted back a link to an editorial on a website that sells crap…and called the NYTimes biased. Holy cow, that’s crazy.
I will say I go to blogs for more colorful types of reading, the types of things that used to be covered in the “Features” or “Lifestyles” sections of a newspaper. But sadly, that probably comes from a) the proliferation of those kinds of blogs and b) the fact that that department was the first to go when newspapers started getting budget cuts.
Do I think we’re “bashing tradition,” as the article says? Hell no. I think we’re just reacting in a very rational way.
What do you think? Is your generation maligned in articles? How?
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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Why Millennials Have Trust Issues

  1. I think millennials are so over studied that the spotlight in and of itself is a little damaging. People in generations before didn’t live under such a microscope. On the subject of where I get my news, the facts and such, I used to go to CNN, but even that got watered down and full of crap after a while. I tend to stick to written news like the Washington Post and Jon Stewart. I find Job Stewart is much more accurate and more on task than any cable news channel.

  2. Sometime ago I posted an article about Millennials and everyone jumped down my throat. Confused I went in search for more of these articles and I realized the internet was saturated with them.

    I think the real problem is that we, as a group, are studied without context or a need to understand. But a compulsion to only blame.

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