Chain reaction: bridging the Zoomer-Boomer divide

A DM thread with my friend Anthony Nichols. We talked inter-generational conflicts, Boomer as a state of mind, cultural differences between Zoomers and Millennials, and what it feels like to grow up Very Online.

Yo i got an idea -

i was thinking about how we are always reading and participating in text threads but we basically never consume content that is presented in that form

I want to make a blog post that’s styled as an imessage convo, like open letters but for 2020

With all the line breaks and idiOsynCRasiEs of texting language

Consistently blurring the line between podcast and blogpost lol

It’s a very AZL idea

Would you make it like each message appears as you scroll

That sounds complicated lol

I feel like that might get annoying to read after a while but idk

Ok what's your take on this:

As a millennial/zoomer cusper

Deleuze and Guattari argue that there’s only one class, and it’s the bourgeoisie. ‘To reread history through the class struggle is to read it in terms of the bourgeoisie as the decoding and decoded class. It is the only class as such.’ Similarly, you could make the case that there’s only one generation, the boomers. Who invented the language we use to talk about generational divides? The boomers. Who broke apart multigenerational community? The boomers. Who permanently inscribed mass culture on the substrate of youth rebellion? The boomers. Who dreamed of living forever, of staying young forever, of keeping their revolutionary fire lit forever? ... ‘Ok boomer’ is a boomer slogan. It’s a prison for young people, or an instrument of discipline; a way to force them to constitute themselves as a generation – that is, as boomers. The demand of age and power is to be young and rebel. Hate your parents, in the same way that we hated ours.


It’s a flaming hot take

I need a minute

The creation of the next generation to vilify is guaranteed by their own vilifying of the prior

There feels like there could be something there, but I’d want to like research conventions on generation naming

Clearly that was made up at some point

But was it really by the boomers

Or was it like the greatest generation who did it

Omg research?? You’re supposed to just pull stuff out of thin air anthony, this is generational mythology

Shhhhh don’t tell anyone

I mean there’s probably always been some kind of shared mythology around life stages and life cycles and stuff like that but

I love the parallel re: bourgeoisie creating class

The generational divides we have now seem seem down stream from demographic marketing

(Although monarchs did that)

Yes agreed

Think about how many ads you get that are like “smart millennials are using this cool new trick to save money on car insurance”

The culture reinforces itself

Bc boomer became a meme

It’s a marketing thing

I used to think that the practice of dividing generations would go away due to cultural fragmentation like there’s no way you could say all zoomers are the same because of the explosion of media realities

And we’re all really products of marketing

But now I think tiktok is almost a homogenizing Force on the generation

Also I think the explosion of realities is the uniting force

You rebundle on the next layer of abstraction ??


Tik tok is fundamentally an explosion of realities lol

U right u right 😅

But Just imagine what it would feel like to not grow up getting your generational identity shoved down your throat every day

I don’t think I can imagine it actually

Ya but actually I feel like I can?

Like don’t you remember first learning what a millennial was

I do

Idk if I remember ... maybe some time late high school??

Whenever it was I feel like it was much later than gen z learned what they are



But it is always the boomers who insist on this naming

Like no generation ever names itself

But also when I talk to my dad he doesn’t really know anything about the generation names or what they’re supposed to be

Could it be a bunch of gen x culture writers

Doing this to all of us

It seems suspicious that gen z is the last letter of the alphabet and also thinks it’s the last generation that will ever exist lol


Do zoomers just fundamentally not feel the need to impress people?

I think pre zoomer / full internet penetration, the internet was a place you chose to be

Kind of like a club or a restaurant

So it makes sense to dress up and try to impress

But the internet is actually everywhere and always, so why bother

Ooh that's good 👍

I think that to the extent there’s truth to that take you posted, it’s that gen x members are increasingly referred to as boomers as they age

And become more stodgy etc

Another thing is that it’s kind of a symptom of lack of healthy medium sized communities. Like if you don’t have lots of church sized groups your “”big”” identity ends up zooming out to the year you were born which is like the most broad, lossy category ever

Like it’s always only the youth and the boomers

Boomer as a state of mind

Oooh that’s super true

Azl post college: everything is bc of the death of organized religion


But I actually deeply buy the take^

There’s a whole no process of identity making required


I mean replace organized religion with whatever other community formation things were also going on during peak american empire




But yeah a lot of the responsibilities of creating community has been re-insourced


Although it’s hard to know how much of this actually leads to generational identity

Tru tru tru tru

In that we’ve seen a proliferation of like the long tail of forms of identity

K pop stans

Alt Tik tok


Maybe generational identity is like your default placeholder until you swim into one of the more niche ponds

That’s maybe true

And may have aCtually been true about religion too

I do think it’s funny how

It seems like gen z mythology is a way of projecting our hopes and dreams for the future onto the people below us

Like all the stuff about gen z saving the world

Is that gen z

Or generational

Like did boomers not do this with gen x who did this with us

Yeah I guess we always do that to kids. The gen z superhero archetypes comes with funny memes tho


This is my fav gen z superhero myth

Gets me all convinced the kids will save the world


Back in the day you had to go on a dangerous quest to find a guru who would help you reach enlightenment and now the zoomers are swallowing the alan watts pill at like 15 years old

Lol that is bad ass

I think history tends towards people having a flirtation with nihilism at earlier and earlier ages

Like we probably did it a bit earlier than our parents

Oooh I like this grand theory of history lol

There are so many religious traditions where they don’t tell you a lot of the stuff until you’re like 40

But now youtube so

Right no I mean there’s clearly something there

Information seems to vaguely lead to despondency

At least before it leads to like enlightenment (I hope)

So more information must mean faster progression through this

Hmmm maybe the despondency comes from generational gap in information

It feels like part of moving beyond infodepression is having a parental figure who’s like ok yeah things are bad but we can move through and make something better ?

But it seems like so much of the generational conflict circles around younger people being like THINGS ARE BAD and older people being like wut mean I had to work hard too


Generational parental failure

Can i make this the first imessageblogpostthread

Yes that’s fine with me lol

*This experiment was inspired by Omar Rizwan’s habit of DM'ing in public and Max Krieger’s Chatting With Glue — a comic-essay about improving conversational user interfaces. If you have comments or questions about this medium, please drop them here.