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This Year’s Beloit Mindset List is out, & Man Does it Make us Feel Old

by Joe Murphy Librarian on August 27th, 2013

The newest edition of the Beloit College Mindset has been released. The list for the class of 2017 aims to illuminate “the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall,” reveals their generational context and makes the rest of us feel old. The lesson I always take away from this yearly list is to not take for granted shared cultural experiences and expectations. It doesn’t mean new students know less, it means they know different.

For those born in 1995 tech is a constant and interaction/education is mediated.

Below are some selected technology related items from the list. See the full list online http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2017/.
2. They are the sharing generation, having shown tendencies to share everything, including possessions, no matter how personal.
6. As their parents held them as infants, they may have wondered whether it was the baby or Windows 95 that had them more excited.
8. Having a chat has seldom involved talking.
10. They could always get rid of their outdated toys on eBay.
12. Their TV screens keep getting smaller as their parents’ screens grow ever larger.
13. PayPal has replaced a pen pal as a best friend on line.
14. Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phone and Skype accounts than with getting a driver’s license and car.
16. A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.
18. Growing up with the family dog, one of them has worn an electronic collar, while the other has toted an electronic lifeline.
19. Plasma has never been just a bodily fluid.
24. Courts have always been ordering computer network wiretaps.
28. With GPS, they have never needed directions to get someplace, just an address.
29. Java has never been just a cup of coffee.
34. Yahoo has always been looking over its shoulder for the rise of “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”
45. They have never really needed to go to their friend’s house so they could study together.
49. They may have been introduced to video games with a new Sony PlayStation left in their cribs by their moms.
50. A Wiki has always been a cooperative web application rather than a shuttle bus in Hawaii.
52. They have always been able to plug into USB ports
55. Being selected by Oprah’s Book Club has always read “success.”
57. Their parents’ car CD player is soooooo ancient and embarrassing.

Analysis:

For this generation, a significant user group now for most libraries, the next labor force, and a new set of consumers with new expectations: smart phones are an established part of life, sharing is expected, and collaboration is online. This year’s spotlight generation is not a revolutionary generation, but one that lives in the post tech revolution landscape. Most importantly, don’t get hung up on the idea of a generation gap. The most recent years in someone’s development have more impact than what happened the year we are born. Those experiences in recent years are shared and thus impact us all.

- Joe Murphy Librarian

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