“Unlike the noisy demonstrations of their Hippie parents, Millennial protests generally lack hail, sleet and heat. Instead, these twenty-something’s quietly participate in positive social causes without leaving the comfort of their own dorm, home, or parent’s couch, and they reach out to others who share similar concerns via Google hangouts and chat rooms.” — Excerpt from original “Millennial Me” Cyberwise.org blog, February 18, 2013.
Millennials “have come a long way baby, to get where they’ve got to today “— at least when it comes to standing up for civil rights. Since 2013, when I wrote the quote above in a blog for Cyberwise.org (“No Grownup Left Behind”), millennials have entered our workforce in mass and are less tolerant and more openly vocal — now digitally and physically— than ever before.
Compared to activists in the 1960s and the noisy demonstrations of Hippie parents, Millennial protests initially lacked hail, sleet and heat. Instead, just four years ago, “twenty-something’s quietly participated in positive social causes without leaving the comfort of their own dorm, home, or parent’s couch, and they reached out to others who share similar concerns via Google hangouts and chat rooms.”
Cut to 2017. The nature of today’s participatory culture has evolved rapidly since then and have resulted in record-breaking physical protests by people of all ages, including kids in high schools (see “Denver high school students lead oil pipeline protest at Capitol”).
Tens of thousands in U.S. cities protested President Trump’s immigration order this week, and according to a recent New York Times article, crowd scientists claim the 2017 ’Women’s March‘ in Washington had three Times as many people as Trump’s Inauguration this month. In fact, 3.3 million people in the U.S. (that’s 1 out every 100 citizens) marched against Trump and in solidarity with women, as well as on all seven continents and 600+ cities — including Antarctica. Yet there were zero arrests during the Women’s March on Washington, compared to over 200 people who were arrested on inauguration day.
What is considered the largest protest in American history would have never been possible without the mobile connectivity the internet provides us with — and certainly not on such a global scale.
In 2013, I defended our youth for trading a picket line for online crowd sourcing to activate positive social change, and applauded them for understanding how to leverage digital resources to support causes in ways we never could have dreamed of. Four years later, as our entire democratic system as we know it is in turmoil, I am grateful they still have the freedom of speech to speak up for what they feel is right (or wrong) in our country and the world — online and off.
When my son was in high school eight years ago, texting and razor phones were the “big thing.” Now he’s a young, newly-married cyber security insurance analyst — a job that didn’t even exist then. Furthermore, my video-gaming son berated his co-workers on election day last year for being slackers if they refused to get out and vote. Times they are a-changing, they are a changing indeed.
In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” #LetFreedomRing.
Cynthia Lieberman is co-founder of Cyberwise.org and serves as a creative marketing and integrated public relations consultant for Fortune 100 companies and distinguished clients in education, entertainment and non-profits and more. Equipped with 20+ years of experience and a graduate degree in the pioneering field of Media Psychology and Social Change, Media, she also teaches Social Media Marketing and Entertainment PR at UCLA Extension and sits on the board of directors for the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Twitter: @liebermanc @BeCyberwise.
She also serves as a content marketing and media consultant for Fortune 500 companies, including major Hollywood studios, Virtual Reality and healthcare. and
Millennial Me — (Original Cyberwise Blog, 2/18/13)
Tonight, We are young So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter than the sun
–Lyrics by pop-rock trio “Fun,” Winner of the 2013 Song of the Year Grammy
While watching the 2013 Grammys with my husband and my two Millennial-aged children, an amusing moment occurred. When the pop-rock tri