How Do You Segment Millennials? Based On Technology.

Author: #NAMB Guest Author, Entertainment

How do you define a millennial? How do you segment millennials?

It seems like almost every article on millennials cites a slightly different range of birth years. Strauss and Howe, the gentlemen who coined pop generational theory as we know it, defined millennials as those born between 1982 and 2004.

For the purposes of this article, a millennial is anyone born between 1981 and 2000, as it’s a neat 20 years, and because I think the turn of a millennium should start a new generation.

Do a Google search of ‘millennial’ and you’ll come across articles that perpetuate all sorts of generalizations. Millennials are lazy and entitled. Millennials value making a difference above all else. The reality is you can find millions of millennials who fit these generalizations, and millions who don’t.

However, one thing that many millennial articles do touch on is that during the boom of the millennial generation, social media, and technology in general, took off in full force. But, not all millennials grew up with each form of technology and social media. The technology that we’ve grown up with has helped each segment of the millennial generation. It’s shaped our likes and dislikes, what types of media we’ve had access to, and even some of our personality traits.

Since demographics are typically the dojo of the marketer, the blogosphere is overflowing with articles on how millennials are “killing” virtually every industry. But, how can an 18-year-old and a 35-year-old possibly share the same characteristics when they’ve never occupied any stage of life at the same time?

To accurately analyze millennials, or any generation for that matter, you have to segment the generation into subgroups of three to five years. For instance:

  1. Pre-Millennials: 1981 to 1983
  2. First Wave Millennials: 1984 to 1988
  3. Second Wave Millennials: 1989 to 1993
  4. Third Wave Millennials: 1994 to 1997
  5. Post-Millennials: 1998 to 2000

Pre-millennials and post-millennials are the transitional subgroups. Pre-millennials have more in common with late Gen-Xers than third wave millennials. Post-millennials have more in common with early Gen-Zers than they do with first wave.

Since one of the most-perpetuated millennial generalizations is that millennials are “digital natives,” the focus of my analysis is on 25 of the most significant technological milestones between 1995 and 2016. This range of years was chosen because it is when millennials ‘grew up,’ and it is during this time that our psychosocial makeup develops.

Pre-Millennials (1981-1983)

Age in 2017/2018: 34-36 

Pre-millennials were 12-14 when the world wide web went mainstream in 1995, and 14-16 when AIM launched in 1997. The internet as we know it didn’t really take shape until pre-millennials were in college. This subsection experienced their entire pre-pubescent childhood without the internet.

Pre-millennials were 16-18 when Napster launched in 1999. They, along with the youngest third of Gen X, were the first digital music pirates. Pre-millennials were a driving force behind Napster’s growth, as well as the normalization of music pirating.

Speaking of music, pre-millennials were 18-20 when the first iPod launched in 2001. They can remember burning CDs to listen to in their Sony Discman. They played a large role in the mass adoption of the iPod.

Pre-millennials tend to not have the social media obsession that is typically assigned to millennials, as they were 20-22 when MySpace launched and 21-23 when Facebook first launched to college students. They were also 28-30 when Snapchat was released, and tend to not have the affinity for Snapchat typically associated with millennials.

First Wave Millennials (1984-1988)

Age in 2017/2018: 29-33 

First wave millennials were 7-11 when the world wide web went mainstream. This subsection has memories of dial-up and pre-Google internet, as well as memories of a pre-internet childhood.

This subsection has inklings of digital nativity but are not the true digital natives. First wave millennials were 11-15 when Napster launched and 13-17 when the first iPod launched. Their adolescence was shaped by the ability to carry their entire music library in their pockets.

Three-fifths of first wavers were in college when Facebook launched to college students in 2004. They were the first adopters of Facebook and the start of the “Social Media-savvy” millennials. They were out of college by the time Instagram and Snapchat launched. First wavers may use these platforms now, but they were not the millennials behind their popularity explosion.

Second Wave Millennials (1989-1993)

Age in 2017/2018: 24-28

Second wave millennials were 2-6 when the World Wide Web went mainstream. They most likely do have some vague memories of life before the internet. It is in this subsection that the transformation from digital trailblazers to digital natives is complete.

Let’s look at music streaming as an example. Second wavers were 6-10 when Napster launched and were not a part of Napster’s growth. They were, however, big users of P2P services like Kazaa and Limewire. Pirating music was normal to them.

Second wave millennials were huge users of AIM in their pre-teen years, and they were 10-14 when MySpace launched in 2003. They were avid users of MySpace before Facebook opened up to high school students in 2005. Many were heavy users of Facebook in high school, and they are the first subsection to have every person they’ve known since high school as a Facebook friend.

This subsection has a large number of Apple loyalists among its ranks. They were 14-18 when the iPhone first launched, 15-19 when the App Store launched, and 19-23 when iMessage launched. Many got their first iPhone late in high school or early in college. They were 17-21 when Instagram launched and 18-22 when Snapchat launched, and were the trailblazers of the “selfie.”

Third Wave Millennials (1994-1997)

Age in 2017/2018: 20-23

Third wave millennials are the start of the true digital natives, as the oldest were only one year old when the World Wide Web went mainstream. They were only newborns and toddlers during all of the major digital milestones of the 90’s and do not have memories of a pre-internet childhood. They also don’t have memories of pre-MP3 world. They were 4-7 when the first iPod launched, and many most likely never have burned a CD or used a cassette.

When it comes to social media, third wavers were 6-9 when MySpace launched and 9-12 when Facebook launched to everyone 13 and up. Third wavers had Facebook accounts all throughout middle school and high school.

Third wave millennials were 10-13 when the iPhone launched and 11-14 when the App Store launched. Most third wavers probably got a Smartphone as their first cellphone in high school. They were 13-16 when Instagram launched and 14-17 when Snapchat launched, so they played a huge role in the growth of these two platforms. They were 15-18 when iMessage was released and played a huge role in the popularity of group messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Post-Millennials (1998-2000)

Age in 2017/2018: 17-19 

Post-millennials were unborn when the World Wide Web went mainstream and for most of the digital milestones of the ‘90s. To post-millennials, the internet was never “new” technology. They have always known the internet as a normal part of life, and they grew up in an era where buying and selling things on the internet became normalized. They were also never exposed to the pains of dial up internet, as WiFi went mainstream when they were 3-5.

Post-millennials were 1-3 when the iPod launched and grew up in a world where MP3 players were the norm. CDs to them are a foreign technology. Mobile music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify became the new normal for the music industry as post-millennials were in their teens.

When it comes to social media, post-millennials were 6-8 when Facebook launched to Everyone over 13, 5-7 when YouTube launched, 10-12 when Instagram launched, and 11-13 when Snapchat launched. Post-millennials had social media since they were preteens and have experienced their teen years in the age of social video. In this sense, they relate more to the oldest members of Gen Z than the oldest millennials.


If you were waiting for me to tell you how each of these millennial subgroups thinks and feels, then I’m sorry to disappoint you.

I think assigning psychosocial characteristics to a group based purely on demographic information such as birth year is utterly useless. Instead, what I hope to have accomplished with this article is a crack in the cognitive armor of those who have gotten all of their information regarding millennials from those on Madison Avenue. This chart gives you a method for taking a deeper look at the events that actually shaped the psychosocial development of millennials. With that being said, this is not meant to be anything but a conversation starter.

Am I missing any events that you felt had a huge impact on you growing up? I’m always down for a chat on Twitter (@BPucino).

About the Author:


Brett Pucino is a multi-passionate millennial blogger who loves to write about entrepreneurship, career advice, branding, and personal development. He is a regular contributor for and, and is in the process of becoming a career coach under the guidance of Jay R. Lang of



Millennials Don’t Go To Church? We Do, and Here’s Why You Should

Author: Michelle Ioannou, Real Life Stories

Millennials aren’t going to church as much as prior generations. In fact, it’s at an all-time low with only 2 in 10 Americans under the age of 30 thinking that attending church is worthwhile or even important.

The numbers actually speak for themselves — 59% of millennials who were raised in the church, have dropped out. If this statistic isn’t shocking enough for you (or maybe it isn’t), 35% of millennials even have an anti-church stance. When asked why they don’t attend church, 40% of these millennials state that they find God somewhere else, and 35% say that they don’t find church relevant.

Well then. I personally am not one of these statistics. And I know I’m not alone. There are millennials who still go to church, are devout in their faith, and pray every day. Two of us are here to show you that if you are a millennial that defies the church static, we’re right there with you.

We go to church
Some of us try to go every Sunday, and some of us go whenever we can. We know it’s important to start the week refreshed, and attending church is a great way to do this. Plus, we want to spend part of our week thanking God for everything He has given us — we don’t want to take this for granted.

We pray
Life is hard. Adulting is hard. We pray to God to give us the strength we need, and the guidance we also need. We pray for those around us who are struggling. We pray for the things we want in life. And we pray to thank God for giving us another day, and of course for everything.

We believe God has a plan for us
When things get tough, we trust in God’s path for us. There are many paths we can choose in life, but we know that God’s path is the right path, and the one meant for us. We know that He only puts obstacles in our life that He knows we can handle. We know that He gives us exactly what we need, even if we can’t see it at the time.



We want to recruit more millennials to the church
We don’t want them leaving the church, especially those who grew up attending church. We want millennials to speak openly about their faith, and partake in faith based events such as World Youth Day, or volunteer at faith based programs.

We partake in our faith traditions
Whether that involves observing Lent or attending services on church holidays, we’re part of it — and we want to be part of it. No longer is this a matter of family members insisting we participate. We’re not forced to, we do it because we want to.

We’ve participated in church activities
Of course, church is a place of prayer — but it is also a place to meet people of similar values and backgrounds and build community. And even have some fun at church events and socials! Many churches not only have youth groups but groups for young adults as well. Join them if you can.

We incorporate church teachings into our beliefs
The church teaches us to give back and help others. For feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty and clothing the naked. We already know that many millennials hold these ideals close to their hearts, and are actively out making an impact on the world whether it be through donating to charity, or simply by advocating on social media. Plus, many churches offer opportunities to help you give back to your community.



This post was a joint effort by Michelle Ioannou and Mary Grace Donaldson, two proud, religious millennials. 

I’m a Millennial, My Best Friend Isn’t, and it Works

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Real Life Stories

One way that I consider myself not a stereotypical millennial (or, not another millennial, ha, ha) is that I am not just friends with millennials.

But over the course of my life, I’ve been known to befriend those who were 15 when I was 20 (which at the time is a big difference), and even those who are more than ten years older than I am. Perhaps it’s part of being an only child…but it’s always been a part of who I am, and it’s led to me meeting one of my best friends.

My best friend and I are only eight and a half years, give or take, apart. We’re truly not that far apart in age, but we’re far apart enough that we grew up surrounded by two different sets of pop culture (as evidenced by the fact that he was born before A Christmas Story debuted in theaters), two different newsreels of current events and witnessed two different types of parenting culture.

We met almost eight years ago as we were both part of the same local theatre troupe — and it was one of those friendships in which you click instantaneously. Neither realized how old the other was until later on and had a good laugh over the fact that I thought he was younger, and he thought that I was older (or, as he described it, “way mature” for my age).

The rest, as they say, is history. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t speak to each other. We have a language that is truly all our own. Our age difference has not mattered to us in the least, save for the fact that he can get a little overprotective at times (which I pretend to protest, but secretly love), and we’ve joked about how I was in fourth grade while he was in his senior year of high school. I also taught him how to use Twitter (in 2011 when not everyone had a Twitter account) and his BlackBerry (back when BlackBerries were a thing). Hello, millennial natural digital native prowess.


But while our age difference has not mattered per se, we have a few differing philosophies — and that fact is a direct result of our respective upbringings taking place in two different eras.

Most notably, my best friend has had some choice words about millennials and is one very proud Gen Xer (his 1980 birth year puts him right on the cusp but he is not, in fact, a millennial)…who, on occasion, shares posts on Facebook about “what’s wrong with millennials.” And you can bet I get on his case every single time he does…to the point that his latest post had a qualifying paragraph that was meant just for me.

While we had a good laugh over it, we’ve also had some great discussions that have led to a better understanding — on both sides — of our differing philosophies.

We’ve been able to do that. We’ve been lucky enough to respect each other and have an exchange of ideas, even when our work methods or political ideologies differ.

So, for those of you millennials who find yourselves with a friend or friends of a different generation, use your friendship and mutual respect for each other to encourage discussion. Both of you are most certainly entitled to your feelings and opinions, and you are also allowed to disagree. Be sure to listen to the other side. But don’t let one disagreement signal the end of your friendship.

Because I really don’t know what I’d do without my best friend.

Single girl

Are You a Single Millennial? These Podcasts Are for You

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

Fellow single millennials, gather around. While I am a firm advocate of the notion that it’s okay to be single (as far as I know, I will be for the foreseeable future) as well as the idea that you can be single and still celebrate love, it’s nice to know that there are other people out there who understand what comes with being a single millennial today. They understand the ideas that dating is different for millennials than it was for our parents, that dating roles for women in particular have changed and that millennials can also “date” on social media.

If you’d like to hear from more millennials on the world of dating as a single millennial, here are a few podcasts that offer such commentary:

the millenials.jpg

The Millennials Podcast

While not strictly for dating advice, The Millennials Podcast includes episodes on relevant topics for singles, from making fun of Valentine’s Day to how you aren’t necessarily “Forever Alone.” They talk “single life, dating, Tinder and how we actually like marriage.” I have a mind to send them an email with our round-up on dating apps other than Tinder…perhaps for their future use!

kinda dating.jpg

Kinda Dating 

This podcast does not directly target millennials, but produces episodes that we can relate to, just based on the title. As we talked about when we discussed the nostalgia of dating, the idea of “talking to” someone or “we’re dating but we’re not” is (unfortunately) part of millennial culture. But host — and former MTV producer — Natasha Chandel (along with an impressive array of guest co-hosts) is able to make fun of it…while also addressing the nitty gritty of the issues of dating culture. Topics include “friends with benefits,” “Being Single and Owning It” and “Break-Ups: How to Heal.”



Short for “Define The Relationship,” DTR is sponsored by none other than Tinder, in partnership with a media company called Gimlet Creative. And right there in the podcast description, the masterminds behind DTR touch on an issue we’ve discussed through dating apps, websites, social media and just dating dynamics: “Technology has changed the rules of the game.” It also discusses “what it’s like to meet new people in an Internet-obsessed world.” For some of us millennials, that works — but for some of us it doesn’t, and we wish for another time that we never even lived in, and we believe that we shouldn’t only communicate via SnapchatDTR launched in late-2016 so there aren’t many episodes available yet — but topics include mixed signals and what happens when a friend runs your Tinder account.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Why Many Millennials in Nigeria May End Up Unhappy Adults

Author: #NAMB Guest Author, Real Life Stories


Recently, my friend Morris Ogbowu uploaded pictures from his college graduation on Facebook. Now, this is not a strange occurrence in our social media generation, but this one was special — and let me tell you why.

From 2010-2012, I studied Electrical Electronics Engineering at Rivers State College of Arts and Science (RIVCAS), and it was a very beautiful two years for me. Not necessarily because of the school or course of study, but because it was in those two years I finally discovered and strongly decided to follow my purpose, which has led me to where I am now.

Back to the story…so Morris was my classmate in RIVCAS and he was just a fun guy. I remember us bursting bars in class and talking about music, poetry and his mixtapes.

Mixtapes and Missed Tests
Usually most people who attend RIVCAS (and colleges generally around Nigeria) are those who are awaiting university admission or maybe hoping to go to the university from there, but don’t want to be idle at home during the period.

Morris missed classes and tests while we were in RIVCAS. At the time he didn’t look very serious, but in retrospect I can now understand that it was because he wasn’t very motivated—it wasn’t his fault. Of course, this is not to make a case for young people who miss classes and tests. But the truth is when people are not motivated about a certain cause, the first way they show it is through reluctance. It’s a normal human response.

I believe many young people are disconnected from school today for many reasons, but two are paramount. First, we haven’t found the right way to educate them. The system we currently use was built for a world that no longer exists.

When you watch TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson or Professor Sugata Mitra, you get a deeper understanding of this philosophy. When I spoke with Sir Ken Robinson last year on my podcast series, “The Stroll Live,” we also discussed this.

The second reason is the crux of this article—it is the reason I think many young people in Nigeria (and many other countries) will grow up to become unhappy adults—and it is that the current system doesn’t help many young people to discover and harness their talents, potentials, or gifting.

Morris would usually draw sketches or write rap verses and perform them to entertain the class. We would often share his mixtapes among ourselves via Bluetooth, and he would also ask for us to rate him.


The Search for Genius
Fast forward to the end of the story. Morris left RIVCAS before our Elect/Elect Class graduated in 2012, and after a while he told me he had moved out of Nigeria. But this was still not the solution. This is Morris narrating to me what happened after he left:

“ I got here and applied to Carleton University for Mechanical Engineering but couldn’t get in because the program was full. Then I got offered Computer Science and promised a spot in Mechanical Engineering the next year. The year came and I wasn’t shortlisted for a transfer because I didn’t do well enough in Computer Science. So I tried Computer Science again for a second year and nothing changed, I had no love for it or any intentions of spending my life as a programmer. I made good friends, though…”

So all this happened between 2012 and 2014. Nothing has changed. His experiences so far were almost like RIVCAS all over again. It was in the midst of this confusion he found purpose. Hear Morris:

“In September 2014, I registered for the third year. Then January came and I made the decision to drop all my courses and go back to my childhood love for art. Not nearly long enough, I exhibited my artworks all over the Ontario province and took that as a sign. Later in the year I researched and found out that a career as a professional Illustrator and Concept Artist was the right path for me so I enrolled and chased it. The first year I sat in a class amongst students who were familiar with what was going on but these were my first encounters with Adobe programs or digital tablets. It took me another year to crack through the program but I’m glad I stuck with it and tried again.”

The same Morris who was labeled a ‘slow learner’ or ‘not-intelligent enough’ by lecturers following his academic performance at RIVCAS turned out to be a genius who graduated with an outstanding portfolio for the media and design industry, because he finally found where he could germinate in his natural area of gifting—in the soil best for him!

What is the moral of the story? I don’t think the magic happened because Morris left Nigeria. There are many young people who thrive in Nigeria without necessarily having to leave the shores. However, my emphasis is on the fact that the path we have set our kids on—Nigerian millennials and those coming behind them—is usually one that prepares them to join the crowd rather than stand out in their uniqueness.


Morris working on his canvas

Everybody is a Star, Just Find Your Sky
I don’t have answers to all the problems in life. Don’t read this expecting to hear the perfect solution or anything like that. But one thing I know very well is that one way to be unfulfilled and unhappy is to try imitating the lives of other people — forgetting or being oblivious of the fact that we have our own gifting and uniqueness.

Education is gotten from two Latin root words: ‘educare’ and ‘educere,’ which means to “bring up” and “bring out” respectively. However most of the educators we have today are more interested in “putting in knowledge” and in some cases “flogging in” when the students don’t get it.

Also, I hope reading this piece hasn’t given you the feeling that the arts are greater than the sciences? Nahhhh, that’s not what I am trying to say. I know so many young people (naturally built for the sciences) who are doing very well and flourishing in their own soil.

My friend and fellow Port Harcourt Global Shaper, Ifeanyi Orajaka, is doing very well as a leader in Elect/Elect as he’s fulfilling our God’s command, “…let there be light…” for many rural off-the-grid communities in Africa. Oseni Oluwatobi has been moving around Nigeria and West Africa since we said “Happy New Year” in January, raising techies and teaching young people to code. These are just two examples in the sciences that I know personally, there are many more

My point is we cannot continue to prepare millennials for the future this way—without taking their purpose and passion into consideration. We are too smart to be reduced to just cramming stuff to score A’s and B’s. Okay, 100 years ago that was a great invention. Now? I don’t think it is enough. Who knows how many more Morris’ are just slowly dying away in our system. Held down, stifled, killed.

Their blood will be on our hands.

Editor’s Note: This is a version of a story that originally appeared on The Huffington Post

About the Author: 


Ebenezar Wikina hails from Kono in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. He is a digital journalist who is passionate about the role of new media in advancing the work of diplomacy and sustainable development. Ebenezar currently serves as Digital Communications/Research Officer at the Government of Rivers State Sustainable Development Goals Office. He contributes regularly on various local and international platforms such as; The Huffington Post, Ventures Africa, UNICEF Voices of Youth, City News Port Harcourt; and his writing has been featured on the United Nations Website, the World Economic Forum Blog, Agenda, CNBC Africa, to mention a few.On his globally-read interview column, The Stroll, which he started in 2013 with his mobile phone, Ebenezar has engaged over 120 global leaders and change makers around the world. In November 2014, Ebenezar organized TEDxYouth@OrdinanceRoad, the only TEDxYouth event in West Africa that year, and has previously volunteered for TEDxStadiumRoad, TEDxPortHarcourt and TEDxPortHarcourt Salon. In June 2015 he was one of the outstanding 80 youths and Global Shapers from around Africa selected to represent their hubs and countries at the 25th Anniversary of the World Economic Forum on Africa which held in Cape town, South Africa, where he was also a speaker at a public session on “technology and media consumption.” In June 2016, Ebenezar was elected Curator of the Port Harcourt Global Shapers Hub which has one mandate, to #ShapePortHarcourt. Connect with Ebenezar on Twitter @EbenezarWikina