“We are a ridiculous and beautiful trickster-generation and we just put our heads down and pursue the most random, minute nonsense until it’s almost holy.” –Catherynne Valente

We are a market group. We are a target demographic advertiser drool after and try to figure out how to gain our loyalty. Ironically, judging from how we’re marketed to, we’ve been largely written off as frat boys and girls gone wild. As I study the ads aimed at us, we’re a bar hopping, bed hopping, vacuous, self-involved, self-centered, all about our short attention spans and the gratification of our immediate needs lot who is in need of constant entertainment, movies, music, video games, and trends to distract us from the sheer emptiness of our own lives.

Look how cynically marketers analyze how new ideas spread from person to person. Whenever a new idea comes along, the innovators, the adventurous ones, are the first to pounce on it. Next come the early adopters, the opinion leaders in the community, the respected, the thoughtful people who watch and analyze what the innovators do and then do it themselves. These two groups are the trendsetters, the ones who eventually lead the early majority, the sheep.

Too few of us are the truly cool, the innovators and the early adopters, and more of us are majority, the lemmings, than we care to imagine. But we’re also more than endless trends and sheep herded by first adopters and clever marketers

We live in a media saturated age. We know when we are being targeted, we know when we are thought of simply as product to be catered to. We process all of this, we internalize it, and marketers forget or at least underestimate just how media savvy and knowledgeable we are.

We are more than folks worried about how much J. Lo’s wedding dress cost or what body part Britney/Paris/Miley has on display for the paparazzi. We are a generation of hope. Of passion. We think about things other than the assumed navel gazing. We care deeply about the world around us. We act when we see the failings of our parents generation rather than give into cynical apathy. We aren’t content to dance while the world goes to hell around us. We won’t sit still to be condescended to. Respect us for more than our potential to buy your product.

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