I am sitting here late in the evening babysitting. Perhaps it is because I feel so esconced here in a secure state of suburban responsibility that I can safely venture into a topic I should know little about. Then, of course, it could be because I work with a lot of "young" people.
By "young" I mean "millenials"—which loosely describes anyone entering the workforce since the turn of the century—or adults in their mid-twenties. I am a "first x" who came of age under Ronald Reagan but frankly since I partied away most of my mid-20s I feel much closer to millenials than garden variety gen-xers.
Speaking of whom (gen-xers) you might want to listen up, because the millenials I favor are literate adults, not Lohans. In fact, the only reason I place the risqué picture of Lindsay atop this post is because she apparently has a new book of her doing bad things. I just learned this tonight when I went looking for a picture online (for this post).
Fortunately, the millenials I know would never mess with poster trash like Lindsay Lohan. While they are so much more than her, they also might not be that into you.
They are not, for example, interested in your music. By "your music" I mean primarily the stuff they play on Cities 97 that is composed and performed primarily by white people. Forget Phish. Forget Radiohead. And please forget R.E.M. or Coldplay for that matter.
They like hip-hop. Hip-hop is their cosmos. It is very explicit, and it can sound like scratches on a trash can to untrained ears.
So train your ears.
Because hip-hop and rap (same thing, essentially) is the first entirely new musical art form of the millenium (although it was born in the Bronx in the mid-’70s). It has its own critical cannon, including "flow," which when delivered by a master like the non-retired Jay-Z can be as mellifluous as Mozart.
The reason you need to know this music is because music defines young people far more than older ones. Movies, books, those kinds of things matter far less than getting into their musical groove (books are not off-limits, just not the lead topic.)
Young people are also not adept with their phones, except for texting. Older people might look down on this until they realize that younger people text because a) it is cheaper, b) they can do it in class, and c) it’s less intimate (and stressful) than talking to someone.
Which leads me to my third point: young people prefer to keep their distance. They will not fully engaged with you until you get on their wavelength.
I may have more insights soon, but that is it for now.
Do I sound like an expert?
Maybe I should ask a movie starlet.