On FastCompany.com: Gen Y and the Presidential Election

young_voters1.jpgToday’s post first appeared on my FastCompany.com Next Generation Career Advice Blog.

World, meet Generation Y. If you weren’t aware of them yet, you couldn’t miss them on Election Day.

Barack Obama’s victory is the biggest and most inspiring example yet of the growing influence of Generation Y (born approx. 1980–2000) in the U.S. and the world.

I witness this every day when I speak on college campuses and chat with students and young professionals in person, by text message and on Facebook (where Obama has over 2.5 million fans): Gen Y is smart, diverse, energized, socially and politically aware and able to use the Internet to do pretty much anything.

To learn more about how Generation Y took part in the election and helped to influence the outcome, check out the Youth Vote Blog and ABC News on Campus for blog posts, videos, photos and reflections by college students from all over the country and all across the political spectrum.

Of course, no matter which candidate you voted for and which generation you identify with, I think all Americans can be proud today to say:

We just made history.


  1. says

    “Gen Y is smart, diverse, energized, socially and politically aware and able to use the Internet to do pretty much anything.”

    Hi Lindsay,

    Is Gen Y more “smart, diverse, energized, socially and politically aware” than any other generation? I doubt it. Even in the past, minorities had played a role in national politics. And most people aren’t politically aware and probably never will be.

    Can the use the internet better than any other generation. Yeah, because there was no interenet before. Are they the only people to use the internet? I can’t think of one of my Gen X or Baby Boomer friends who isn’t online. Do they use Twitter or MSN Messenger. No.

    But what does “pretty much anything” mean? My friend’s daughter is in first year university and she’s calling me to help her figure out how to write an essay using materials found online.

    PS: Were the boomers involved in elections during the war in Vietnam. You bet. It was a huge mobilizer. What about in 1948 when former VP, Henry Wallace, ran for president. My impression is that young left-wingers were doing all the legwork.

    And in the fifties, how old was William F Buckley when he started promoting the conservative movement.

    Sorry to be a party poop but this is a hobby horse of mine. Gen Y might have the attributes you put forward. But you haven’t shown that they are in any way distinctive.

  2. says

    Sorry, I re-read the piece. I guess you weren’t saying that Gen Y is distinctive. You were just saying that they have these qualities and they are now getting old enough you put them into play.

    Of course, far fewer than you imply are smart and politically active and knowledgeable about the internet but that’s another issue.

    But that’s another issue. I thought that you were saying that they are distinctive and you didn’t really.

    Apologies and regards again.

  3. says

    @Recruiting Animal – thanks for sharing your thoughts, both times. You’re right that I was trying to point out that many Gen Ys showed their best attributes during this election. I think they get a lot of criticism (some deserved, some not), so I like to mention positive accomplishments.

    Hope you’ll keep visiting my blog and sharing your insights.


  4. says

    @Lindsey – I’m living in a country where we’re heading towards Gen Zero if the demographics stay on track… yikes!

    It will be very interesting to see how engaged Gen-Y stay with the new President’s activities and policies over the next 4 years.

  5. says

    @Mark – Thanks for visiting the blog. Where do you live?

    It will be complicated by the economic situation, but I’m optimistic how this generation will engage during Obama’s presidency. I’ll definitely be writing about it!



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