Did Millennials Accidentally Kill Our Friendships When We Killed Phone Calls?
Making and getting lots of phone calls was a raison d’etre for millions of Millennial girls in particular, but once we hit our thirties, the phone became the equivalent of junk mail. Did this have unintended consequences?
Millennials, especially those of us on the older end who were born in Reagan’s second term, are a generation of many dualities. Duality comes up in so much of my work and I always thought it was just because of a vast amount of personal circumstances and life events.
But it turns out my entire generation is riddled with them. Our lives have been colored by hope and doom alike, and we watched technology and communications advance at different speeds.
We saw the end of the old world and the last decade of relative stability and prosperity for many Americans. We grew up with technology as it evolved, and for this very brief point in time before the social media boom of the late 2000s —the elder side of the Millennial cohort truly had the best of times where we were on the cusp. We had the best of the early 1990s with its toe still in the analog 1980s, and the early tech and Internet culture of the late 90s which gave way to the app-driven world of the 2000s ushered in, before inadvertently steering us down a slope of no return to the perpetually online hellworld we’d soon inhabit.
The fact that information wasn’t constantly in our faces and going online was a process with a distinctive start and end time, rather than a perpetual state, meant we also processed information far more slowly and lent more headspace to communications. Our dopamine receptors hadn’t yet degraded to a slippery piece of lemon after you’ve run it on a box grater to get a few microns of zest and a shit ton of fingernails.
So when many of us came of age, it was right around 9/11. I graduated high school and turned 18 two years after it. Communication technology was in the thick of its awkward teenage years when I was just coming out of mine.
We weren’t just shocked by isolated school shootings and catastrophic mass deaths before we’d grow…