If you’re anything like me—a neon-blooded selfie-taking party slug with an APPetite for Disruption and Media Diets—you’re probably flailing in an ever-spinning maelstrom of opening and closing tabs, like, all the goddamn time. (While also struggling to maintain the appearance of being human!) One oft-encountered problem we NetLords run into as the tabs careen into our fat faces with a squawking, Hitchcockian fury, is whether or not we fall into the wide chasm of the term “millennial.” It’s a classification as broad as fellow alien Metta World Peace’s shoulders—Certified Journalists have calculated the birth year of millennials to fall anywhere between 1980 and 2000. So where on this fabricated, niche spectrum of dizzying asininity should we align our portrayals? I’ve broken the category into seven simple sub-classifications to ease the process of assimilation. And remember! Your traits are generational and handpicked by a select, microscopic amount of Humans just as lost as you are pretending to be!
Tier 1: The Unshimmering Glaze of Journalistic Laze
Age in 2014: between 22 and 26
Appearance: An actor in any current fast food commercial
Location: The City
Description: You are the Progeny of Modern Convenience—your attention span is HEY LOOK OVER HERE. DOWNLOAD. INTEGRATION. EXCLUSIVE CONTENT. Anyway, your obsession with fleeting technological ephemera is only dwarfed by your self-involvement. You are highly Metropolitan, severely yet reflexively Left, primarily represent the fruits of the former generation’s failings, and have thirteen fingers. According to recovered documents, you are most likely a light-skinned female with a smartphone or possibly a laughing group of fashionable, diverse teens. You are either hampered or enriched by your generational placement, depending on the tide of articles filed this week.
Tier 2: The Ghosts of Grass and Grain
Age in 2014: between 16 and 32
Appearance: An actor in any current domestic beer commercial
Description: Although technically under the Millennial Umbrella, you are suspiciously absent from most editorial discussion of the generation. You live in small towns and lesser cities, you are familiar with and appreciate the rural regions of your state, you work hard for little pay but pay your rent on time, even if sometimes you’re paying that rent to your parents. You go largely unnoticed by media and are seldom asked by reporters about your dating life or your participation in dating apps. You are happy.
Tier 3: The Dour Machines
Age in 2014: Vague
Description: A disconnected wire. A new light bulb siting in a dead socket. Questions outnumber answers by an unfathomable amount. You lay on floors often, unreasonably near tears, malaise on malaise. You are doubled over by coincidences. You are a hem-fiddler. You are a sigh-singer. You are obsessed with simple beauties—escalators, drinking water, right angles, desert rocks, gift wrappers. You are an interlude.
Tier 4: The Flat Belly in Amber Lamp Light
Age in 2014: 22
Appearance: The area of skin from the denim waistline to the lower section of the chest.
Location: A dorm room or new apartment.
Description: You are a nubile stomach in a warm room with your shirt recently removed. A hand is impatiently tugging at the button on your Levis. The body you are attached to is on top of a cheap comforter. The head at the top of this body is saying: I can’t believe this is happening. Usually I don’t do this! I mean, not this quickly. But like, I’m really feeling a connection here. Right? No, no, me too! And Taryn said you were wonderful, and she’s always right, but I didn’t expect to hit it off like this! No, I don’t have one. Do you? Oh, shoot. I mean, I know I’m clean. Yeah! Why wouldn’t you be? If you’re cool with it I’m cool with it.
Tier 5: The Celebrity of YouTube
Age in 2014: 11 to 22
Appearance: A talking head
Description: You are trapped in a glowing rectangle and you can never leave. You exist only when someone is watching you. Once the browser is closed, you disappear into a horrifying ether of static and the Dead who are clawing through the Other Side.
Tier 6: The Masters of Media
Age in 2014: 24 to 30
Appearance: Politely disheveled. Many hoodies. Coffee.
Location: The Two Cities
Description: From the hills of Valleywag to the truffle-scented sidewalks of Grub Street, you discuss with near vitriol all subjects moot and passing. You decide which films are important to see, or say you have seen, and comment grandly on anything from subtle iOS changes to walking corpse celebrities to the President to the proper wearing of certain garments. (Not to be confused with people “in” the media, such as the Willennials: Jaden and Willow.) There are twelve of you.
Tier 7: The Contentedly Silent
Age in 2014: Infinity
Location: The Earth
Description: Welcome. You are dead. This is death. Isn’t it nice?
Photos, in order: Hungry millennials by Ed Yourdon; airport millennials by TheeErin, Macon millennials by “shakey1964”; selfie by Eric Molina; screenshot of Adam Driver from “Girls”; McDonald’s millennial packaging by Jonny Goldstein; screenshot of Valleywag editor Sam Biddle’s appearance on CNN; exhausted teen by Becka Spence.