A college minister buddy asked me recently for some resources for better understanding Millennials. I figured it was just as easy to post that as it was to write him back, so here goes. (Thanks for the blog topic, D-Mo.)
If you read this blog regularly, you know that discussing Millennials (also known as “Generation Y” or various other things) is high on my priority list. More on that later.
For now, I want to answer my friend’s question and I’d love to hear about any resources you’ve found. Here’s the question: What resources can provide the best “crash course” in understanding the Millennials?
In my case, I’ve learned an awful lot from one source through the years: Tim Elmore of Growing Leaders. He does a fantastic job collating others’ research on these things, and “translating it” in a way that’s easy to consume and assimilate.
The very best “package” in that process was a .pdf download Growing Leaders used to sell: “Utterly Updated: Current Stats and Stories to Help You Connect with the Millennial Generation.” They’ve long quit selling it, which is a real bummer – and because of copyright, I obviously can’t upload it. (If you’re local, let me know if you’re interested in taking a look.)
But never fear. Because I’m guessing this kind of stuff – and with better, updated info – will be included in Elmore’s upcoming book about what he now calls “Generation iY.” With this term, Elmore looks at a further subset of Millennials / Gen Y, the group born more recently (since 1990) – which is, of course, the very group entering college these days. The book will apparently be out by August?
This is also the topic of this year’s National Leadership Forum, a summer forum I highly encourage you to consider (I got to attend in 2008). That will likely be a crash course in understanding Millennials par excellence.
But there’s more: The articles available through the Growing Leaders “Leadership Link” are available here. (I’d start with A Crash Course in Understanding Generation Y.) Plus Tim’s blog covers this stuff on a regular basis. You can conveniently click to the Generation iY category – and fortunately for us, he just started a 6-week Monday series devoted to delineating the world of this generation. But be sure to check out Trying to Understand the Mind of Generation iY and How We Changed in the First Decade of the 21st Century.
While I’ve been lapping up Elmore’s wisdom (on College Ministry and Millennials) since 2001, I do know there are other great things out there for understanding our current audience.
The seminal work appears to be Millennials Rising by Howe and Strauss. While that book’s been around since 2001, it’s apparently defined much of the ensuing conversation. But if I was buying now, I would probably take a look at Millennials and the Pop Culture by the same guys.
I’ve heard some recommendations of Generation Me; Twenge is another name I’ve heard plenty; she seems to take a slightly more negative view than some.
Honestly, the Wikipedia entry on Generation Y does what Wikipedia does well: boils things down.
And the Economist Intelligence Unit put out a helpful free .pdf a couple of years ago.
Finally, Leonard Sweet spoke at the National Leadership Forum I attended in ’08, and his stuff seems very in tune with Millennials’ learning styles.
But this is where I need your help: What articles (that’s best) or books (especially accessible ones) would you suggest for crash-coursing on the Millennial Generation?
I have tried here on the blog to help us think about Millennial-ness and Ministry; hopefully some of my stuff will provide a handy crash course, too.
The best thing I’ve done on this is observing the several ways Jimmy Fallon’s show caters to Gen Y. Another go-to post springboards from a Customer Service company’s Millennial research. Or skim through all my posts connected to the Millennial Generation right here – including Millennial movie reviews, links to other sources, and much more.