Millennialism in the Age of Instagram

October 6, 2010: The day that Millennial marketing changed forever.

You’re wracking your brain right now. What happened on October 6, 2010? Is that when Kendall Jenner was born? That can’t be right. Is that the day that avocado toast was invented, effectively ruining the housing market? That’s probably it. Is the avocado shortage still happening? I wonder if Chipotle is charging even more for guac now. Is it ethically OK to be selling guac at all? 

I know. I went through the same thing. But nay, October 6, 2010, is the day that Instagram launched in the App Store. I had a Blackberry (you know, to BBM) at the time, and I didn’t have the big data package because back then you didn’t have to use your ‘smart’ phone to do anything besides text and call. I didn’t get instagram until that Blackberry got left behind in a cab and I just said ‘screw it’ and got an iPhone instead of using my insurance to get another Blackberry. It was early 2012.


On January 18, 2018, I arrived at the Museum of Ice Cream’s San Francisco location. I was wearing a white dress, specifically chosen to fit in with all the pinks, purples, oranges, and more pinks. I had a giant DLSR camera hanging from my shoulder and a face full of makeup. I was ready to go through this experience solely because Instagram told me to.

You see, the Museum of Ice Cream is one of the many institutions that’s designed specifically for the uber-Millennial “Instagram culture.” It begs for you to take out your phone or camera, snap pictures, pose with it, and post it online. They don’t need a marketing team: Their designers make irresistible attractions, and Millennials WILL post it online. (I want to take a moment to point out that I am sharing this over ONE MONTH after I went there, because I am so #subversive #rulebreaking #nonconformist.)


For the record, I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. It’s brilliant. I love living in the Age of Instagram, because I live in a culture where almost everything is made to be beautiful, interesting, compelling, unique, or some combination of these traits. It serves as an excellent distraction to life’s realities and as a point of joy for an aesthetically-minded person.

I struggle sometimes with the vocal critiques of the Millennial generation, not wanting to be defined simply for being born during a certain timeframe. But thankfully, it’s one of the oldest “sure things” in life, to have each different generation criticize the others. It’s the most reliable pendulum that I know: Baby Boomers were criticized by the Great Depression-era Traditionalists; Baby Boomers hate Gens X & Y (Y is Millennials); I have no idea what Fetty Wap is but assume that she/he/it is beloved by Gen Z and therefore I will pretend like they are so strange for liking this thing that I do not know. I take a bit of comfort in that. It’s not about me as a Millennial, with my toasts avocado and my specific shade of pink and my aversion to Big Macs (I really have never had one! V Millennial of me). It’s about a very reliable, observable psychological trend. I am proud to be part of the most educated generation on record. I think it’s funny that so many Millennials say they are “different” and they “don’t feel like they fit into the Millennial category” — a very Millennial thing to say. And I freakin’ love Instagram.

So to all those other generations out there: I vow to complain occasionally about you, and I promise that I will train my future children to do the same, so that you can enjoy the Millennial generation’s gorgeous restaurants and bars and museums and hotels that are all very Instagrammable, whether you know it or not. ♥

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