Everywhere I turn on social media there is a millennial or someone in Generation Z calling out a Baby boomer for their intolerance and ignorance of new ideas.
“Ok Boomer” has rapidly become the most used trend in my social circles after it’s rise on the app TikTok. Between the Climate March led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, issues around job security and affordability, it makes sense that our older generations should take some of the blame for the anxiety that younger generations face. The trend of call out culture has resulted in actions in attempt to bring the meme into the “real world”.
The joke went as far as the creation of a song on Soundcloud deeming that the war on millennials is over, and that’s just the beginning.
Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old member of the New Zealand Parliament even gave a speech supporting a climate crisis bill and was heckled by an older colleague. Her quick response of “Ok Boomer” caused upset across social media platforms. Leading to her response on Facebook defending her comment as witty and in good humour.
This got me thinking. In a world where social media is accessible to so many people, how does this type of meme make such an influential rise without being shut down by Boomers?
In January of 2019, 67% of Canadians who have internet access chose to use a social media platform. Younger generations grew up using social media to connect with their friends, find out what their interests are and find their first job. It is an engrained part of their worldview. For Baby Boomers, that isn’t the case.
A company called O.M.E. Gear found that baby boomers use their social media to stay in touch with their loved ones, whereas Gen Z and Millenials use it to document and share their adventures. Gen X and Z users are also trying to intake as much content as possible. Even though they aren’t types to deep-dive into content, they are more engaged in what they do see. Whereas Boomers will read your cousin Stephanie’s Facebook post about her high school graduation 3 times and encourage their friends to do the same.
It makes sense that an application like Tik Tok with 30-second videos with jokes and dances from strangers would not be the place for Boomer’s to get their fix of reconnecting with their loved ones. That must be why even though Boomers are on social networks, they just aren’t on the ones where trends can rise quickly through the connectivity of people you’ve never actually met.
Maybe it’s the fact that younger generations don’t have the patience to pay close enough attention to what the Baby Boomers did right to have civil discourse, or maybe it’s just that they’re fed up with the hatred millennials have been getting for years that caused this backlash.
Either way, the most exciting part about social media trends is that they’re unpredictable. It is hard to believe that the next generation will have a completely different set of apps, devices, and things to complain about due to our lack of action on certain issues.
Calling out people for their intolerance is a lot easier nowadays that we can do it behind screens anonymously.
Is it the healthiest way to have productive discussions about the future of the planet? Probably not. Does it give a launching pad to ensuring that our future is more accepting and environmentally conscious? Probably.
Is it hilarious? Yes, that I know for sure.
Here’s some bonus “Ok Boomer” content to suit all your needs when you’re angry at the world:
Twitter: Millennials and Generation Z are fed up with intolerant and archaic views. #OkBoomer is the a lens into the generational divide in social media and demonstrates the power of young people.
Facebook: How can something like “Ok Boomer” become the most popular (and offensive) internet trend overnight? Learn more about the rise of Millennials and Generation Z through social media.