How to tell if you’re a geriatric millennial

geriatric millennial
Geriatric millennials are familiar with both old and new forms of communication.

  • The term “geriatric millennial” divided the Internet this spring in a viral Medium article.
  • The author spoke to Insider about why it both resonated with and offended readers.
  • She also shared the hallmarks of a geriatric millennial and how they straddle the workplace’s digital divide.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Author and leadership expert Erika Dhawan never expected the term “geriatric millennial” to go viral.

A self-identified geriatric millennial (which she defines as elder millennials born in the early 1980s), Dhawan told Insider she first heard the term at brunch with friends and related to it. But when she wrote about this micro-generation’s influence in connecting older and younger generations in the workforce for Medium this past spring, it quickly went mainstream and divided the Internet.

While many, like Dhawan, related to the term, others were offended by it.

“I think that the fact that the word ‘geriatric’ carried such a negative connotation really also has the question: What’s wrong with being old?” she said. “The way that individuals reacted, I think should encourage all of us to start a reflection on how we view older members of our society.”

Dhawan said she’s spent a decade investigating, researching, and finding new ways to encourage collaboration and communication in the workplace, which she explores in her new book, “Digital Body Language.” She said that while interviewing American workers, she found that some micro-generations were “impossible to ignore.”

She said that geriatric millennials are unique because they straddle a digital divide between older and younger generations in the workplace, which enables them to bridge communication styles.

The hallmarks of this micro-generation aren’t meant to exclude younger millennials who may have experienced them as well, she added.

“What it’s really meant to do is pinpoint a specific moment in time where the digital tools were primitive and where we were coming of adulthood,” she said. “We can look at all millennials as being the same, but there are differences based on our experiences at different life stages.”

Meet the typical geriatric millennial, according to Dhawan.

You were born in the early 1980s, making you in your mid-to-late 30s or early 40s.

A woman wearing a blue top and white jeans is working on her living room floor with colourful toys next to her.
A mother works remotely in the same room as scattered children’s toys.

Dhawan defines geriatric millennials as those born from 1980 to 1985. That means they’re turning ages 41 to 36 this year. 

But age is just one component. “Micro-generations are not simply just the years you were born, but, the strongest indicator is really how you use and engage with technology,” Dhawan said. 


You remember PCs, the days of early dial-up, and MySpace.

classic pc

Whereas younger millennials don’t know a world without digital tools as a primary form of communication, Dhawan said, geriatric millennials remember when they were very primitive.

“They were the first generation to grow up with a PC in their homes. They joined the first social media communities on Facebook and MySpace. They remember dial-up connections, collect calls, and punch cards,” she added.

They also remember things like Napster for burning CDs, as well as the regular flip phone. “Those that are maybe two to five years older than us know truly a world of, you know, mobile phones and never had to memorize people’s phone numbers for landline,” she said.



But you also feel comfortable on TikTok and Clubhouse.

clubhouse app

While geriatric millennials are fluent in the early days of the internet and digital technology, they’ve also been able to easily adapt to newer forms of digital media, like TikTok, which may be unfamiliar to older generations like baby boomers and commonplace among younger generations like Gen Z.

“This is a unique cohort that straddles digital natives and digital adapters,” Dhawan said, adding that they’ve spent the same amount of years in both analogue and digital forms of communication, making them fluent in both. 



Despite your digital skills, you’re also aware of the importance of personal communication.

professional woman conversation

Geriatric millennials also remember the importance of traditional body language, Dhawan said. “The lean-in, the direct eye contact … those are critical traits, even in our digital world.”

That means they’re comfortable with communication styles of boomers and Gen Xers, she added, while adapting to the the communication style of younger, digital native millennials and Gen Z.

“It’s critically important to keep adapting to the times while, remembering the importance of physical, face-to-face communication,” she said.


You act as a bridge in the workplace.


Dhawan believes that being skilled in both digital and personal forms of communication enables geriatric millennials to serve in a hybrid role in the workplace.

For example, she said, a geriatric millennial would know to send a Slack message to a Gen Z co-worker instead of calling them out of the blue, which they might find alarming. But they would also know to be mindful of an older co-worker’s video background and help walk them through such technology.

“They can help straddle the divide,” she said. “They can teach traditional communication skills to some of those younger employees and digital body language to older team members.”

She likened the geriatric millennial’s role to being a translator, akin to learning a new language in a new country. “They can cater to the needs of different people and have different degrees of understanding of the digital world, but also they have a patience for the digital world that maybe future generations won’t because they don’t know a world without it.”

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Record-breaking digital artist Beeple says the NFT craze is just like the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s

Vignesh Sundaresan bought Beeple’s “Everydays” NFT for $69 million

  • Beeple, whose digital NFT art sold for a record-breaking $69 million, said NFTs are like the early stages of the internet.
  • He told ‘The Street’ that even if NFTs are in a bubble, he thinks they will survive.
  • He said there was no reason why digital art should not have the same value as physical art.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Record-breaking digital artist Beeple, who sold a piece of digital art for a record-breaking $69 million, thinks the non-fungible token (NFT) market will evolve in the same way the internet did during the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.

He told The Street that during the dotcom bubble, people realised there were a lot of worthless internet pages being set up, which they then stopped using and that he believes it will be similar for NFTs.

“There was a bubble with the internet, it didn’t kill the internet. People kept using the internet, it just kind of wiped out all the c***”, he said.

NFTs are digital items such as videos, visual elements or audio that are based on blockchain technology. They are unique and not exchangeable, so they are often viewed as collectors items. Usually, anyone can still see the NFT online, but only one person can own it.

Beeple believes digital art can have the same value as traditional art and that it will continue to be highly priced after the NFT hype is over and lower value content has been weeded out.

“If it creates emotional connection with people, it will have value,” he said. Creators and buyers can ensure that their work and investments will be worthwhile by keeping this in mind, Beeple said.

In March, a piece of Beeple’s digital art sold for a record-breaking $69 million at a Christie’s auction. The buyer later said investing in digital art was highly risky and he believed NFTs were in a bubble. Beeple himself has also echoed this and said a lot of crypto art will sink in price to the point where it becomes worthless.

Based on data collected by, an NFT tracking and analysis hub, the value of art NFTs has been trending downwards for the past month. The number of sales, as well as the amount of money paid for them, have steadily been declining, as have the amount of unique sellers and buyers.

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Central banks must start issuing digital currencies in the coming years because cash will become irrelevant, UBS chief economist says

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  • Central banks need to issue digital currencies as cash will become outdated, a UBS chief economist said.
  • These digital currencies won’t operate like cryptocurrencies and will have no wild swings in value, Paul Donovan said.
  • The supply of an officially backed coin depends on a central bank’s authority to regulate the currency’s spending power.
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Central banks will soon need to issue digital currencies as the use of cash slowly becomes irrelevant, according to UBS chief economist Paul Donovan.

“Central bank digital currencies are likely to start becoming part of individual economies’ payment systems in the coming years,” he said in a note published this week.

People are using physical forms of money, like notes and cash, much less than before. Moreover, about half of Sweden’s banks no longer accept cash and its economy is expected to go cashless by 2023.

“We wave debit cards and mobile devices around with the reckless abandon of a first year student at Hogwarts trying out a wand, magically paying for things without ever having to touch cash,” Donovan said, referring to the boarding school in the “Harry Potter” series of children’s books.

Donovan laid out specific differences between how CBDCs would operate compared with cryptocurrencies. CBDCs would be interchangeable with notes and coins in circulation, accepted for tax payments, and wouldn’t have wild fluctuations in value – unlike typical crypto, such as bitcoin. Officially backed digital currency supply could change depending on the central bank’s ability to regulate the spending power of the currency, he said. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies are decentralized and cannot be controlled by any one party.

He also said digital cash is a direct claim on the private bank to which its account is tied, and not on the government. This means government-produced money is becoming less significant, while digital money produced by the private sector is increasing in importance.

“If central banks want to stay relevant as cash becomes less relevant, they might have to consider entering the world of digital money,” he said.

China is among the leading economies looking closely at CBDCs. The People’s Bank of China aims to become the world’s first to issue a digital currency as part of a push to reduce its reliance on the dollar-denominated financial system, according to Reuters.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month a potential digital dollar is a “high priority” project for the US. But he thinks CBDCs should exist alongside cash and other forms of money, rather than replace them entirely.

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Democrats’ decision to avoid in-person events with voters cost them in 2020. But it could set them up for bigger wins in the long run.

AOC alexandria ocasio-cortez fashion style politics
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York shows her fearlessness through her style.

  • Door-to-door canvassing is one of the best ways for political campaigns to connect with voters. But, due to COVID-19, most Democratic candidates eliminated in-person voter outreach.
  • Digital organizing emerged as a powerful way for Democrats to reach voters, using social media, SMS texts, calls, emails, and online advertisements.
  • Even after the pandemic, digital organizing will remain pivotal to political success.
  • Amanda Silberling is a Philadelphia-based writer and political organizer.
  • This is an opinion article. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

During a typical election year, you’d be hard-pressed to go anywhere without running into a canvasser, out trying to win over people to their candidate. Maybe it’s a guest at your church service, union meeting, or community group. Maybe you take a brochure from a peppy, caffeine-fueled organizer at your local farmers’ market. But this year COVID-19 changed the game for these usually ever-present campaign volunteers.

When it became clear that COVID-19 wasn’t going anywhere, the Democratic party and its allies faced an outreach crisis. What message would it send – both to its constituents and its staffers – if it asked volunteers to campaign door-to-door during a global pandemic? How could the party defeat an incumbent president if they couldn’t have face-to-face conversations? 

Ultimately, the decision to forgo door-to-door canvassing may have taken a toll on down-ballot Democrats. But in the long run, the Democratic party made the correct call.

Door to virtual door 

This fall, I worked as a field organizer in Philadelphia for NextGen America, a progressive youth voter program. I talked to hundreds of voters weekly, answering questions about voter registration, mail-in voting, and why every vote matters. But, in those busy months leading up to Election Day, I never once spoke with a constituent in person. 

Usually, door-to-door canvassing is the bread and butter of any electoral campaign. In-person conversations are the most effective way to build relationships with voters, but in the interest of public health, most Democratic and progressive campaigns eliminated door-knocking from their field programs this year. 

Across the aisle, the Trump campaign was unphased and knocked over one million doors per week. Faced with the unprecedented task of winning a presidential election from our laptops, grassroots organizers embodied the motto of civil rights leader Florynce Kennedy: “Don’t agonize, organize.” 

With President Trump as a common enemy, the conditions of the pandemic encouraged allied organizations to work together more closely than ever before to make a digital-first campaign effective. 

“The infrastructure of all these organizations talking with one another and sharing their findings and building on each other’s work instead of duplicating it… I hope that’s going to last forever because we all benefited from that,” said Savannah Thorpe, Hub Director of Commonwealth Communications, a leading progressive organization in Philadelphia. 

There’s no doubt that refusing door-knocking was our best choice from a public health perspective. But, even when it comes to political strategy, this choice will reap lasting benefits, as it pushed campaigns to embrace digital organizing, a forward-thinking means of reaching voters online. 

Digital organizing encompasses all methods of reaching voters on their phones or computers, whether that’s through texts, emails, calls, Snapchats, or advertisements. In November, for example, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez played Among Us on a Twitch stream with Canadian Parliament member Jagmeet Singh, raising over $200,000 in five hours. With so much of our lives taking place online – especially during the coronavirus pandemic – social media is key to keeping voters engaged, and the more creative, the better. 

“Because we all had to get creative so fast, we all linked arms around a message and then blitzed the whole internet,” said Thorpe. “We got to try stuff this cycle that we never even would have given a whirl.”

Reaching young voters Online Can Swing Elections 

It’s no coincidence that young digital natives have been on the front lines of digital organizing. As an organizer on a youth-led campaign, I know first-hand how important my generation can be in electing our leaders. 

In 2016, only 46% of voters ages 18-29 turned out to vote. But, with millennial and gen-Z voters accounting for 37% of the electorate, young people have the potential to swing elections. Fortunately, we know where to capture the attention of young people: social media.

“More people than ever before were looped into apps, [social media] groups, and pages this year because they were trying to get a sense of community,” said Cara Koontz, who was the Digital Director of Commonwealth Communications.

Perhaps the Democratic candidate who most openly embraced social media was 74-year-old Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, now a TikTok star with almost half a million likes. 

In May, as the COVID-19 crisis raged on, Markey was losing his primary race by 16 points to Rep. Joe Kennedy III. But as co-author of the Green New Deal, Markey’s campaign captured the interest of young people, an issues-focused demographic that ardently supports action on climate change. Senator Markey ended up winning re-election by a 10 point margin, thanks to the savvy of digital organizers, a team of over 400 fellows, and an unaffiliated online group called Students for Markey. So, heading into the November general election, it was clear to the organizers working to elect Joe Biden that digital outreach would be more important than ever. 

With door-knocking out of the picture, Democrats put more resources than ever into social media outreach. Through online advertisements, collaborations with social media influencers, and robust phone banking, SMS, and email campaigns, youth voter turnout increased by about 10% this year compared to 2016.

Digital Organizing Will Remain Crucial, Even After COVID

Recently, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that “[Democrats’] digital campaigning is very weak. This is an area where Republicans are actually quite strong.” 

I asked New York City-based political strategist Kevin Wei if there’s truth behind this statement – he said, “While the Democratic party has recognized the importance of digital [organizing] post-2016, historically, I don’t think we had made the investments to keep up with the Republicans on this front.” 

Wei explained that Republicans house their party’s voter data nationally, and all Republican candidates can access those files for free. On the other hand, Democratic voter files are managed by state parties, who then sell that data to campaigns. “As a result, Republicans are able to target voters and communicate more effectively than a lot of Democratic campaigns,” he said.

No matter how advanced technology gets, in-person conversations will always be our strongest political tool. But this year, by making a decision that put people’s immediate health over politics, Democrats created space for their digital programs to grow, which will continue to benefit their candidates for years to come. 

With less than a month left before its Senate runoff elections, all eyes are on Georgia, where Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock are inspiring national digital engagement. Like Senator Markey, Ossoff has become a TikTok sensation, using the platform to speak directly to young voters (he didn’t create the account until December, after the runoff race was announced). On Twitter, Ossoff is urging people to sign up via SMS for Reach, a grassroots organizing app that was created for Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 primary. Last week, Reverend Warnock hosted a Zoom rally with President Barack Obama; in November, he went viral with over six million views on a video that compares his competitor’s smear campaign to a bag of his beagle’s poop. No matter what the digital platform, we’re already seeing how our increased attention to online outreach is changing the way that we campaign. 

I’m looking forward to the day that we can knock on doors again without risking the health of our neighbors. But if the Democratic Party wants to make gains in local elections and take advantage of the momentum coming off of Biden’s win, we need to keep investing in digital organizing.

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