We humans naturally seek others who look and think like we do; it’s built into our DNA. The darker side of this is that we also tend to shut out those who don’t meet our criteria.
In 1970, the Washington Post coined the term “baby boomer,” casting the die for all subsequent generations to carry a label: Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z. This is where our current gen-obsession was born. The media has done its best to feed the flames of that difference. Today we have descended into a war of generations, with terms like “OK boomer” being thrown like grenades.
A new term, “boomerennial,” describes those who cut across these labels and defy easy segmentation. But that really includes everyone, right? Which of us fits perfectly into the mold to which we’ve been assigned?
To believe that any group of 70 million people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, socio-economic status, education levels, aspirations, and desires can be grouped is to engage in self-deception. What those millions have in common is – within 20 years or so – age. Even that makes them significantly different; to put a 15-year-old and a 33-year-old in the same cohort is absurd.
We live in data-fueled world, so why are we using 70s-era demographics as our baseline? We might as well use astrological signs as our guide.
Psychographics tell a much more accurate story about our aspirations, interests and fears – we really aren’t that different. Psychographics are harder to get at and blur the lines between us. Psychographics don’t fuel the flames of generational conflict and are harder to build walls around.
It’s the age of personalization. Why aren’t we demanding a more sophisticated ruler than age to define us?