Millennials, the name with which a new generation of people have been labelled, differ from many of the generations that came before them when the issue of privacy is brought up in conversation.images-1.jpeg

Fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to deal with this younger generation in the role of a teacher, their take on the issue is strikingly different from my own seemingly semi-paranoid generation, who spent an inordinate amount of wasted time objecting to identity cards, which would no doubt have been poorly kept, poorly recorded, and would have probably provided less useful information than the average ‘name-crunching’ database selling leads for double-glazing or conservatorys.

The main thrust of the Millennials’ view is one of utter ambivalence.  Asked whether they see anything sinister or odd in the obsessive data-gathering of multi-nationals, their reaction to my question is a bamboozled sympathy for me.  I’m too old to understand how things work for this generation, they probably think.  They actually want the tweets or texts telling them that a pair of shoes, that they might like or have once glimpsed at on-line, are on sale, as they saunter past a shop in Westfield.  How the data exchange occurred is simply not an issue.  The mixture of media platforms through which they are contacted has inured them to suspicion or worry.  Information gathering they believe will ultimately serve them, as they can’t see what the motivation for gathering it could be otherwise.  Things will be designed, based on the information provided upstream.  Similar to the arguments I remember from the ID card days, but in reverse, they suggest that those with blemish free lives really don’t images-2.jpeghave that much to worry about.

Many are now savvy enough to realise that posting drunken images of themselves on Facebook, or having real identities on Twitter, Instagram, Grinder, Tinder or any other platform is probably not a great idea, so have aliased these, and believe the net-curtain they have raised is sufficient to protect them from any real interference in their private lives.  They may be right?  What motivation does anyone have to reveal the comings and goings of a nobody?  Should they hit the heady heights of celebrity status, that of course may change, as even their windy releases become currency then.

Privacy for many of them is an elitist worry.  Celebrities being compensated for what they perceived as minor intrusions into their lives.  In their desire for status, and celebrity status being the only type carrying kudos, the mantra that all publicity is good publicity, ironically from the ID card era, has been revived.  Checking their stats on their various platforms, seeking ever further exposure for whatever about them they believe might possibly be of interest to others, privacy is not an issue they wish to concern themselves with.



  1. the occupant · January 22, 2017

    Yeah, but who wants to lead a ‘blemish free’ life!?

    Millennials seem like an OK bunch to me – less judgmental, more open than previous generations? But they need to be a bit more cynical, and less naive.

    Using aliases ain’t going to help, they’re constantly being tracked and the algorithms use behaviors and writing/speech patterns to identify people. They either don’t really understand the technology, or they’ve not really considered the consequences.

    Only celebrities need worry? You should ask for their take on cyber-bullying, and the cases of young people being blackmailed, and even some committing suicide, in fear of ‘compromising’ stuff being revealed to all?


  2. Barry Jacques · January 23, 2017

    They don’t care, or seem to care, if aliases work or not, as far as the answers I got tell me. It’s not about depth to the information, it’s more about deniability. Most of them have already had a range of online id’s so don’t worry about changing it. They embrace the patterning of their behaviour. They genuinely believe it is all for their good. Being sceptical of media or corporate behaviour seems to have moved to an age above the 16-18 year olds I’m dealing with. It may change when they hit twenty, but by then there’ll be a lot of stuff on them, and how it’s used is long out of their control.

    The question was really just about privacy issues, prompted by WordPress as a topic to discuss. Worked well for a class, oddly enough.


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