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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Millennial Problems: Being Tone Deaf

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 1:16 PM

  • Matthew Hurst/Flickr
Millennials are the country’s largest population (congratulations) and easily its most tone deaf. And despite how exceptional and entitled they believe themselves to be, they usually say and do some of the most cringe-worthy things said and done anywhere.

Our case study centers on the news website Mic (run by millennials), which recently garnered a profile in The New York Times and announced plans to expand its brand beyond U.S. borders.

Before you even get to a single word of the Times story, you’re met with the most millennial photo ever taken (that’s not hyperbole, folks, check it out yourself). Two dudes are talking in a hallway. Dude A is holding an Apple laptop in his left hand while standing on a hover board. He’s wearing a fashionable hoodie and super-tight jeans.

Dude A is talking to Dude B, who’s slightly less millennial looking even though he’s full-on millennial (we later learn). Dude B is sharply dressed by millennial standards, wearing super-tight jeans and super-comfy looking slipper shoe things (which likely cost several hundred dollars, since he's also a 28-year-old entrepreneur as well as a full-time 28-year-old). But instead of a hoodie he sports a light sweater. He’s the boss, so maybe he has to look more professional than everyone else.

Mic is a news website created by millennials, run by millennials, and targeted to “college-educated millennials.” That triple threat brings with it a whole ton of Millennial Problems (especially the last part, but we’ll get to that later).

Take, for instance, the employee who lied about a death in the family so he could take a week off, but then wrote an essay on Medium about what he did (he was tired and lost, you guys) and didn’t even get fired after the bossman found out. So millennial.

(He also gets iced coffee delivered... and is able to joke about it in a mildly ironic way.)

Or the employee who felt like a Muslim co-worker deserved an apology when the company forgot to have a flexible time off policy for Muslim holidays (since it had one for Jewish holidays). Achingly millennial (even the editor in chief thought this was ridiculous).

There’s more, so much more. Take these two passages:

“Hence there are office conversations held on Twitter, and the blurring of personal and professional boundaries, such as when [editor in chief Chris] Altchek broadcast his dental examination on Periscope, a live streaming video app.”

“Mic’s staff of 106 looks a lot like its target demographic: trim 20-somethings, with beards on the men and cute outfits on the women, who end every sentence with an exclamation point and use the word “literally” a lot.”

There’s another photo with the story showing two millennials smiling and high-fiving. We’re guessing attendance awards had just been given out.

Anyway, Mic is a pretty solid bet these days. They attract nearly 20 million clicks a month, which is not BuzzFeed huge but it’s not fingerling potatoes either. So what’s a growing media brand to do? Grow! Mic god Chris Altchek recently told a media industry blog that he wants to bless the rest of the world with his millennial-driven content. That’s all fine and dandy, and we wish Mic continued success, but we couldn’t stop ourselves from LOLing a little after reading this:

“The vision for Mic is to be the de facto news brand for “college-educated millennials,” though for Europe it’s working on a different mission statement. “That marker won’t fly in Europe. In the U.S., going to college is a big accomplishment; people aspire to it. Here, that’s seen as a much snobbier thing to say, so we’re working on a different concept,” said Altchek.”

That, ladies and gentleman, is snobby on steroids. That’s Downton Abbey snobbery. We’re happy to officially recognize this kind of behavior. Congratulations! Again! Mic! You are (literally) the winners of the award for Most Tone Deaf millennial media company!

If anyone disagrees, just complain about it.
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Max DeNike


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