I coined the term "Generation Jones" for this large cohort born between 1954 and 1965. It's a generation that includes the new president, me and 53 million other Americans. Jonesers have long been lumped with Boomers simply because we arrived during the same long post-World War II spike in births. But generations arise from shared formative experiences, not head counts, and the two groups evolved with dramatic differences. Our background is just as distant from Generation Xers'. We fill the space between Woodstock and Lollapalooza, between "Turn on, tune in, drop out" and "Just Say No," and between Dylan going electric and Nirvana going unplugged. Jonesers have a unique identity separate from Boomers and GenXers. An avalanche of attitudinal and behavioral data corroborates this distinction. Generational self-identification is particularly compelling. When polled, those in this age group identify not with Boomers or GenXers, but overwhelmingly with this generation in between.
So who are we? We are practical idealists, forged in the fires of social upheaval while too young to play a part. The name "Generation Jones" derives from a number of sources, including our historical anonymity, the "keeping up with the Joneses" competition of our populous birth years, and sensibilities coupling the mainstream with ironic cool. But above all, the name borrows from the slang term "jonesin' " that we as teens popularized to broadly convey any intense craving.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Jonathan Pontell has a nice article in USA TODAY, "Stuck In the Middle," that helped clear some things up for me. Being born in 1962 I have never felt like I fit in with the baby boomers. I'm glad to hear I now have a group to identify with. A little blurb from the article says: