by Megan E.
Our generation can be characterized two ways, depending on who you talk to. Some people know us as self absorbed, technology addicted slobs. Others see us as innovators and activists, leaders who use the benefits of technology to create a better tomorrow.
When I’m faced with this dichotomy, two thoughts come to mind. First I wonder if the negative stereotypes acurately portray a significant percentage of our generation. And then, if it is true, what can be done to inspire those who appear apathetic about the world’s problems?
It’s certainly true that the negative depictions have a strong hold on the American public. Just try googling “Are millennials…” and see what top searches pop up. The top three for me are lazy, cursed, and losing faith.
In truth, we’re probably a bit of both. The world isn’t black and white and neither is our generation.
What I’m really concerned about is what we can do to inspire Millennials who have lost faith in their abilities to create positive change and make their voices heard.
How can we engage those who feel like there’s no point in advocating for a cause they believe in?
The problem is not that Millennials inherently don’t care about anything. After years of working with supposedly “apathetic” youth, I know that’s not true. The problem is what’s making them apathetic.
Corruption in politics and business, ineffective mainstream media, and a slacking economy all result in the feeling that no matter how hard you try, nothing can be done to create change. The government is too corrupt, the media too focused on profits, and the economy is too monopolized for us to make any sort of difference.
So we do nothing. So it seems like we don’t care. But that couldn’t be farther than the truth. Young people do care, they just don’t know how they can actually change anything.
Cue the Occupy Movement. Regardless of what your political beliefs are regarding the movement, the original protesters did something unprecedented. They were able to engage hundreds of thousands of Millennials through our weapon of choice, the internet. They mobilized young people to try and create a tangible change.
What this says to me, is that the internet is a valuable tool in organizing and engaging our generation. We do have the power to unite people from all over the world in creating positive change in education, the economy, and politics.
It’s online communities like The Millennial Chat and online movements like Occupy, that are making a difference for the unengaged.
If we want to inspire others, we need to think creatively about how we can use the internet to do so.
We need to come up with new innovations and creative initiatives that will work to combat our negative stereotypes.
To learn more from and connect with Megan, follow her on Twitter – @MeganEmme
You can also follow the rest of The Millennial Chat Team here.
So I’ll end this with a call to action. In the comment section below, let’s discuss how we can engage others through online initiatives. Riddle me this. How can we use the internet to encourage civic participation?
Ready, set, go.