What generation are you part of, really? Take this test.

, ,

If you want to know how old you really are, look at the media you use rather than the generation you were born into.

Generational labels are important in the discussion of the changing workforce. For example, we need to understand who is pushing for change and who is criticizing change in order to understand how to create workplace bridges. And increasingly, young people are calling for baby boomers to get out of the way.

However I get a lot of email from people at the later end of the baby boom who do not identify with baby boomers. To some extent researchers have dealt with this issue by categorizing the latter section of the baby boom separately, as Generation Jones (born between 1954 and 1965). This category will make some people feel better, but there still will be baby boomers who are indignant at being lumped with the delusional, self-centered, money-hungry baby boomers.

But hold it. Maybe you are not really part of the generation your birthday falls under.

Here’s an idea: We should determine our generation not by our age but by how we use media. This comes from Margaret Weigel, who has worked at Harvard and MIT doing research on digital media engagement:* “We should not judge people rigidly by the years they were born,” she says, “If we want to define people by categories, it should be by behaviors because this is something each of us chooses.”

Another reason to use media engagement to peg someone’s age is that the media we use reflects both the space we live in and the circle of friends we run with. For example, you probably won’t find the Wii at a senior center, and you do what your friends do or you’re out of the loop.

So here is a test I put together with the help of an interview with Weigel and an evening reading her blog. Add up your points to figure out what generation you’re really a part of:

Do you have your own web page? (1 point)

Have you made a web page for someone else? (2 points)

Do you IM your friends? (1 point)

Do you text your friends? (2 points)

Do you watch videos on YouTube? (1 point)

Do you remix video files from the Internet? (2 points)

Have you paid for and downloaded music from the Internet? (1 point)

Do you know where to download free (illegal) music from the Internet? (2 points)

Do you blog for professional reasons? (1 point)

Do you blog as a way to keep an online diary? (2 points)

Have you visited MySpace at least five times? (1 point)

Do you communicate with friends on Facebook? (2 points)

Do you use email to communicate with your parents? (1 point)

Did you text to communicate with your parents? (2 points)

Do you take photos with your phone? (1 point)

Do you share your photos from your phone with your friends? (2 points)

0-1 point – Baby Boomer

2-6 points – Generation Jones

6- 12 points – Generation X

12 or over – Generation Y

(Note: This post contains the views of Weigel and not necessarily those of Harvard and MIT.)

382 replies
« Older CommentsNewer Comments »
  1. mac
    mac says:

    oh crap… I thought I was lost before… now I take this test and it confirms that I really am lost. I scored a 6 – so does that mean I’m a gen joner and/or gen Xer… or am I still a gen unknowner?

  2. Thys
    Thys says:

    As you mentioned in your preamble this will still not really categorize people well (thank goodness). I scored only a 1 but I am in complete sympathy with, an pretty much work like, your profile of the Gen Y crowd – even though I was born in 1955.

  3. Fred
    Fred says:

    This is not a generation test. This is a dork test. I mean come on seriously… how retarded is this test people?

  4. marta
    marta says:

    This quiz is lame. Born in 1980 and only scored a 1. So I’m a baby boomer? I think not. How about some other criteria besides tech stuff? I don’t have a webpage or download songs because I HAVE A JOB and more importantly, I HAVE A LIFE (hiking, kayaking, travel, etc)–who has time to download 400 songs into their iPOD? And why would you email your parents? Pick up one of your 4 cell phone/mp3 player/camera things and CALL THEM! It’s nice to hear a human voice once in awhile. And I don’t have a personal blog, because…hello! it’s personal! A lot of people seem to have verbal diarrhea–too much information! Try keeping some things to yourself. Or try this: find a real true friend to bare your soul to, not strangers on the internet.

  5. Tom
    Tom says:

    Well I was born in 1956 and scored a 16 on the test. I never did identify with the boomers anyway, except for the music like Cream, Hendrix, etc.
    But hey, I’ve been involved with the Internet longer than some Gen Y’ers have been born, though it was Arpanet back then.
    I’m heavily involved with Second Life, been through 17 Internet related startups.
    So labels to me are irrelevant.

  6. Brian
    Brian says:

    I suppose gen x would be asked ” did you tape Friends this week” hehe, hilarious, really. How about questions like “are you able to evade all taxes except sales and service taxes?”

  7. Joseph
    Joseph says:

    There is more to what generation you are a part of than how much technology you use. I think it has alot to do with your personality and the way people see the world.

  8. Jules
    Jules says:

    It really depends on which culture you are born and raised. Its so funny that here in the US we make a big deal about text messaging. Back in the Philippines we used text messaging since 1994, and text messaging I believe became mainstream in the US back in 2002? So what’s the fuss all about? I came to the US in 2001 and when I saw a commercial on the TV regarding how “cool” text messaging is (this was back in 2002), I was stunned, this was ancient news to me, we’ve been texting back home since 1994! Its not how savvy you are regarding new technology (I am not dismissing that these new technology does not help making our lives more convenient), but its a matter on how you get the job done and your outlook in life…

    • Angelo
      Angelo says:

      Take this: the US is always behind Western Europe. They have Bicycle systems in Paris, ezpass 20 years before us. It’s the same story.

  9. gretchen
    gretchen says:

    i’ve always identified with gen x. we were the disenchanted ones that everyone thought we were a bunch of freaks but are now people that are running companies and defending your freedom. yes i have piercings and tattoos and listen to punk and jazz and drive a saturn and i’m on myspace (and so are most of my 30 something friends) and i have and regularly use my cell phone. i use technology where it makes my life easier and saves me trouble, and dont where it makes it more difficult,
    and i still show up for work everyday and pay my bills on time and have a 401k.

  10. Steven
    Steven says:

    This test tells you nothing. I don’t believe technologically literate people belong to just one generation. Individuals must adapt to understanding such things as text messaging, mail mergers, etc. If we didn’t, we’d all be out of a job.

  11. Ginny
    Ginny says:

    I scored as a Gen Y person, which I find amusing because I am actually 43, can (for the most part) spell correctly, and can keep a job for more than week before declaring that my boss is a doofus.

  12. Pat
    Pat says:

    Some of this test seems to be right out of the cell phone marketing manual. Not all Gen Y is a fool for cell phone gimmicks that add costs without making your life better

  13. Andy Baird
    Andy Baird says:

    Funny! I’m 57 and retired, but I scored 14, which puts me in GenY. Funnier still, I can think of a number of friends my age or older who would score similarly on this quiz. Common factors: all of us are fulltime RVers equipped with lots of solar panels, all of us use Macs pretty intensively, and all of us have satellite internet setups that give us broadband access wherever we go. Gee, it’s fun to break stereotypes! ;-)

  14. I
    I says:

    Interesting!This list would make almost every person in Japan from 60-12 a generation Y cuz the questions only cover how tech-savvy you are.

  15. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    I agree with Ginny. Do we seriously have to pay for texting and sending pictures from our phones to be considered part of the newer generation? I choose instead to call friends (mostly on nights and weekends, so I can talk as long as I want for free), and use AIM and facebook (also free). Many people of the newer generation have not yet had the chance to make tons of money that they can throw away on cell phone plans.

    * * * * * *
    There are lots of ways for you to score in Gen Y without texting. And sending photos from your phone is free. My husband sends me photos to my email box every day.


  16. L. Bates
    L. Bates says:

    Hmmm…I take issue with your scoring generations based on technology. I scored 14 and I’ll be 40 this year. My 68 year old mother scored 7…

  17. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    I scored ‘Generation Jones’ (5 points), and I’m 13. I do not IM, text, I don’t use MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. I don’t send pictures from my phone, I don’t blog, and I use my phone to keep in contact with my parents.
    I only scored points for making a webpage for another person, downloading illegal music, and taking pictures with my phone.
    * * * * * *
    Hm. Interesting. I did not expect such young people to be taking the test. But I am happy to hear from you. And your results sort of make sense because you are not Generation Y. You are something else. Makes sense that you would communicate in patterns that older people would not dream up for a test like this….

  18. Bob
    Bob says:

    Wow, now we can judge the sophistication, intelligence and maturity, of people by the gadgets they use. Then we can neatly place them into labled boxes so we can judge them as a group as to their productivity, chances of success, etc.

  19. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    “Hm. Interesting. I did not expect such young people to be taking the test. But I am happy to hear from you. And your results sort of make sense because you are not Generation Y. You are something else. Makes sense that you would communicate in patterns that older people would not dream up for a test like this – .

    Well, the thing is, most of my classmates would score in Generation Y. It’s almost as if they’re addicted to IM, MySpace, cell phones, etc.

  20. Cruz
    Cruz says:

    According to the test I’m in Generation Y and that’s without a cellphone and both parents being deceased.

    The description of Baby Boomers as delusional, self-centered, money-hungry people I take offense to as I am none of the above.

    Baby Boomers are born from 1946 (Mothers got pregnant after World War II giving birth in 1946) to 1959. Anyone born after that may consider themselves a Baby Boomers (as my brothers do vehemently) but that’s only because nothing is cut and dry in generational flows. The Baby Boomers being so influential extend that clout into 1963/64 and some experts say even into 1966. Geez! but these are called “Shadow” boomers mainly our little brothers & sisters that follow us around EVERYWHERE!

    In 1946 only 33% of Adults had their high school diploma versus 85% today and only 5% had a 4 year college degree versus 28% today. Check out the U.S. Census for more fun facts about “us” (http://www.census.gov)if you’re a woman driving playing sports, driving your own car, earning your own money thank Boomers. If you are American of African, Native, etc. thank Boomers. Boomers have done a whole lot. Yes we have A*holes, but most of us are just hard-working, goal-setting, lovers of CHOICE. Peace.

  21. jjfad
    jjfad says:

    I scored 17. I was born in june 78. So I’m Gen Y according to this quiz. I feel caught between Gen X and Gen Y though.

  22. Shefaly
    Shefaly says:

    I scored 17 and that makes me Y.

    Although I will not say when I was born, suffice it to say I finished my Bachelor’s in the early 1990s. So I am supposed to be a Gen-X. A random classmate even made it to a cover story about Gen-X way back in the late 1990s in India.

    How does this compute? Well I trained originally to be an engineer, so I take to technology swiftly so all tech-centric questions are bound to push me that way.

    Ask some other questions about values, lingo used (not lingo familiar with, because Gen-X is sharp and we get it all, though we may not adopt it all), views on politics/ religion etc and that will begin to scratch the surface a bit more.

    Any more quizzes coming then, Penelope?

  23. Dara
    Dara says:

    How odd, I scored a 7 and I was born in 1982. I’m definitely too young to be a “Generation Jones” whatever that is. I’m thinking I’m just technologically behind for my age. Technology doesn’t necessarily reflect mindset, ideals etc usually associated with a generation.

  24. Jake
    Jake says:

    Yea, well I scored 13 and I was born in ’52. But my wife scores less than 6 for sure. My Dad was born in 1920 and he scores 1. Where do you put him? He uses Skype too. With a Webcam.

    The premise is on target, but of course to be anything more than a parlor-game would take a lot more questions. Like I’d probably lose points for using a spell-checker. Real Gen-Yers are way ahead of the machine in that respect.

  25. Lilpinknose
    Lilpinknose says:

    Interesting test, but you can’t change the biological statistics of when you were born just because you want to. You may identify more with one generation than another, but facts are facts. The baby boom generation ends in 1964 because the birthrate fell dramatically in 1965 from what it had been. That’s a proven statistic. Therefore, those born in 1965, 66, and 67 (who are often lumped in with young boomers) are Generation X. The so-called Jones generation is a new thing that was made up by a baby boomer who wants to have younger people in his generation so he can feel young himself. Why do you think 50 is the “new 40”?

  26. Massguy1970
    Massguy1970 says:

    Okay, I came up as being part of “Generation Jones” even though I was born in 1970. However, this test only measures one’s use of technology, NOT general attitudes. I don’t agree with the Generation Jones theory, because I have siblings born in both the mid-late 1950s and early-mid 1960s and the attitudes are VERY different. In my opinion, 1950s babies are the most self-centered group of people I’ve ever encountered, and they have projected such attitudes on to their Millenial Generation offspring. Gen Xers got the dirty end of the stick, because the Baby Boomers held on to what they had, and to hell with anyone else, due to their narcissistic attitudes, and that’s why Gen Xers had such a hard time getting established, and why we are so much more negative and suspicious than the generations before and after us.

  27. Nicole Little
    Nicole Little says:

    I was born in July 4, 1977, and I score an 8, so I’m really a Generation Xer since it’s 1965-1980. This test is on a money with my age group because I didn’t own a computer until this year. I didn’t know anything about buying tracks from the internet until I have my own computer this year. I didn’t have a cell phone until this year, so, I’m definitely a Generation Xer.

  28. Nadine
    Nadine says:

    I score 10, which puts me right in the middle of Generation X, whereas I’m supposed to be at the older end of Generation Jones.
    This is just a way to measure your ease around technology (well, one kind of technology), but there are some true things in it. In my profession, I see the difference between the younger generations and my or older generations, with respect to e-mail, the internet, etc. No wonder that I seem to be ahead of many of them, at least in that department. It all boils down to how well you fit in with the tools of the time. My mother hated her washing machine and I don’t think she ever used it on her own!

  29. John Chacona
    John Chacona says:

    Hmmm. So, I’m in Gen Y with a 16. And I might have scored higher if my parents were still alive to text with me.

    But they’re not alive because they’d be 101 and 91 years old this year. Me? I just turned 52, but most of the people I hang out with (and use these tools to communicate with) are 20-30.

    So how do I belong in Gen Y?

    Well, like them, I’m at the bottom end of the economic scale despite a university education (in business, of all things), and looking for work, but they are just starting out, and I was purged from my ad agency job in a cost-cutting bloodbath.

    Like them, I’ve recently left home after 18 yearsand am learning how to live on my own, but this is the result of my marriage ending.

    Also like them, I am trying to figure out who and what I’m going to be when I grow up.

    But no time for that now. I’ve got to check my MySpace for messages.

    By the way, no Facebook for me. My Gen Y friends tell me that MySpace is okay (especially because so many bands are on there and I am a music writer), but a 52-year-old guy on Facebook is just creepy.

    I may feel 30, but I’m still 52, after all.

  30. Kim hawkins
    Kim hawkins says:

    I’m Gen X –all the way, self employed, creative, I took my first salaried job EVER eight weeks ago and freakin’ because of the “designated max time-off factor” I am really curious of this Gen Y (I’m labeling the Ass Kisser Gen –and I mean that in a good way)… it seems these kids are more like my grandmother’s generation (socially) is this true? Ttheir views on marriage (they’re doing that), working for same corporation long-term etc…. I’m just not relating???

  31. Mary Baum
    Mary Baum says:

    I think there might be some in-between categories — for example: My friends and I email each other, but we text our kids.

    Also, I spend almost no time on Facebook, but hours on AdGabbers — though when real friendships/associations from there take root, my experience is they tend to shift to email at a certain point. (Maybe because we start contemplating real business . . .)

  32. The Clit Commander78
    The Clit Commander78 says:

    1978 whes when I was born, and I scored a 17…shit I think I scored a 17 about the past 4 years, so that makes me cool, I guess p)

  33. The Clit Commander78
    The Clit Commander78 says:

    The funny thing about generation demographics is that the media wants us to all be who we’re not by saying we come from different classifications of a generation. I don’t see myself as an Xer because I’m not lazy, slacking, latchkey, cynical, or wear flannel and frequent coffee shops in liberal settings. Not everyone is the same. I DO, however, love techno music, a popular trend during the Gen-X youth era. I’ve grown up with computers since I was in baby shoes (the pleasures of attending military schools in the 1980s). I saw the internet for the first time at age 15 and was quite obsessed with it at 17. It kind of sucks being in the 1977-1982 range because those are the transition years from Gen-X and Gen-Y, but at the same time, it’s cool because we have the ability and desire to pick which generation we want to be a part of :)

  34. av8eire
    av8eire says:

    I’m sure my 15 year old daughter will find it amusingly funny that her dad is a 46 year old Gen Yer…!

  35. Kate
    Kate says:

    I scored a 17. I lost points on the phone part – I just graduated college and I’m too poor to buy a fancy phone with text messaging and camera!

  36. Dyan Morgan
    Dyan Morgan says:

    I’ll be 51 in a matter of days. Feel like I’m 31. Love to work. Have no intention WHATSOEVER of retiring.

    Own my own business enterprises, employ boomers, x’rs, y’rs, even a few from “the greatest generation”. Scored 14 on your little test above. Gen Y’r trapped in a boomer body? Nope… I’m just a smart Boomer that keeps up with tech. (There are a lot of boomers just like me out there, by the way.)

    So… If I have that much going for me (according to what appears to be your estimable criteria), why izit that I absolutely ABHOR the Gen Y / New Millenials as employees? Because, I am finding (almost without exception) a frightening lack of principal/ethics among those youth. Will I think twice about rewarding/promoting Gen-Y-ers? Hell, yes. Will I put a Gen-Y app at the bottom of the pile? Probably. Experience hath shown: Don’t trust ’em. Don’t believe ’em. And I’m not alone.

    There’s a reason why WE, the power brokers, sit in our board rooms and roll our eyes at the demands and expectations of inexperienced 20-somethings, and call ’em Gen-Whiners. All the petulent foot-stamping and demands for respect only result in denying their incessant and irritating whiney demands for promotions, raises, perks.

    I am sick and tired of reading all the drivel out there about how the business world has to get over it and realign to the ‘needs’ of this new generation. BS. Kiddees, it’s time to realign YOURSELVVES to the expectations of the signer of your paycheck. The benefactor of your lifestyle choice. So, if you want respect and perks and a big paycheck, put your whiney little ass on the line and start up your own company with your own capital and face the consequences of your own actions (or, inactions thereof).

    Gen Y is about to find out the unpleasantries of a recession-economy. Work ethic (put in the time without complaining, account for your actions) will become more important than ever in their short inexperienced lifetimes.

    Stop texting and get to work.

  37. Cherry
    Cherry says:

    Hello, I’ve read many quizzes before and including yours. However even though most people are computer friendly doesn’t mean baby boomers aren’t. Even though you I supposed have researched about Baby boomers before you have not taken into account those who are taught by their generationX and Y kids and grandkids. And yes there are senior centers with WII’s in them, apparently you have never seen the Wii commercial with seniors playing bowling with a Wii. So please consider this.

  38. Milena
    Milena says:

    @ Dyan Morgan – laugh out loud hilarious. “Stop texting and get to work.” Apparently I’m Gen Y, but it doesn’t really matter. I cannot stand text messaging and the attitude that comes with it. I have started simply walking away from people who start texting or talking on their cells when they purport to want to talk to me. What is so urgent that it you can’t say, “Excuse me.” Or find another time to text?

    Also, “Gen Y is about to find out the unpleasantries of a recession-economy.” Absolutely, you only need a pulse to be aware of this, but take into consideration the candidates Gen Y tends to support. Obama for example, who is heavy into government spending…perhaps they think the government can sign their paychecks (i.e. unnecessary social support programs) and make things all better.

  39. Charles
    Charles says:

    Good thoughts, but you are wrong on some points. I work for Nintendo, and when we rolled out the Wii, one of our key target demographics were senior citizens. And thus far they have been a huge hit because they are so accessible. The unit is easy to use, and we have targeted people of all ages, and seniors heavily. Not only is the Wii the fastest selling Video Game Console in the history of the gaming industry but it has broken down many barriers in terms of “who” uses it. I see your point, but you should know that the Wii transcends in the case. . Just google it. Many senior homes have them, and parents are really into it as well. One good website to find out more information is mywiistory.com

  40. Charles
    Charles says:

    And just to refute somebody else’s comment: the Wii is the most affordable gaming unit out there. End being corporate lackey.

  41. Gen X
    Gen X says:

    I scored 4 on the test and I’m Generation X!
    I only started using the internet and mobiles (cellphones) in this millenium, spending most of my life without them.

  42. john Caven
    john Caven says:

    I also score 3 on the test and also generation X too. because in our country,the high technology computers was not yet spreading in our country and it is very expensive for the better one, unlike the other country that they are almost using the very hi-tech computers.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Living Reflections from a Dream says:

    links for 2007-07-13…

    What generation are you part of, really? Take this test. » Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk I’m Gen X… for sure, like totally. (tags: quiz) Mr. Butch dead | Universal Hub (tags: life) 33 Names of Things You Never……

« Older CommentsNewer Comments »

Comments are closed.