What About Me?

Association Forum has an article this month in the "Trend Watch" column that talks about future implications for associations. According to the author, two big trends will impact everything: generational transition and technology transformation.


But in describing the generational transition, he says this:

The current association business environment is the product of the values, experiences and needs of the baby boom generation. Since the millennial generation (those 25 and younger) has different values, experiences and needs, associations will need to be reinvented to serve them.

Um…what about Generation X? I know we’re smaller than either Boomers or Millennials, but unless most of my generation recently moved to Canada, there are MILLIONS of us around, and I’m pretty sure we’ll have an impact on associations! The rest of the article goes on to say how Millennials will act and how associations need to change.

I hate articles like this. The fundamental points are important (that generations change and associations must change along with them), but it presents a weak understanding of generational differences and it presumes to actually know what Millennials are like, and it’s too early to do that.


  1. 06.06.2007 at 3:44 pm

    And don’t most of the experts agree that Millennials and Boomers share a lot of the same values? At least, they have more in common with each other than either of them do with Gen X?

  2. 07.06.2007 at 5:19 am

    Yeah, the Boomers are supposed to be much happier with Millennials than Gen X. According to the historical researchers, this is common. We all are supposed to be frustrated with the differences of the generation immediately below us (kids these days!), but then see more a reflection of ourselves in the generation after that. Of course, I’m not sure the Silent Generation was really thrilled with Generation X. Then again, maybe they just didn’t speak up about it!

  3. 07.06.2007 at 10:03 am

    Was the Silent Generation as ignored as the Generation X is now, because of the size (translate potential market share) of the generation following it, ie. Silent Generation-Boomers and Gen X-Gen Y?
    Are we Gen X’ers going to be the “sandwich generation” squeezed out and overlooked by the Boomers and Gen Y’s? I think that is why it is very important to add our voices to the association community dialogue.(A very heartfelt thanks to Jamie Notter for pointing me to Ben Martin’s “Seven Simple Tips for New Bloggers”)

  4. 08.06.2007 at 5:32 am

    Yes, the sheer size of the Boomers draws attention to them. And the Millennials are bigger! I don’t think Generation X will ever be in the spotlight. THe same was true for Silents. For example, many of the leaders of the civil rights movement were silents, yet that movement is associated, becuase of its time frame, with Boomers. Strauss and Howe also argue that generations follow a pattern, alternating between “dominant” and “recessive.” Can you guess what kind the Silents and Gen X would be?