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50 Things Millennials Know That Gen-Xers Don’t

Apps, memes, micro-stars and more!

There’s already been a preponderance of scientific studies and general handwringing about Millennials, all attempting to piece together the puzzle of how this cohort feels about politics, sex, identity and more. Recently, we isolated some potential blind spots for twentysomethings in our 50 Things Millennials Don’t Know About list. Now, though, we’ve decided to focus on those artifacts that this still-unfolding generation knows better than any other. Does a list of emoji, dating apps, Disney Channel stars, and Tumblr favorites constitute a coherent cultural whole? Probably not. Is it a reasonable millennial mind-map? Sure!

Contributors: Hazel Cills, Maria Sherman, Monika Zaleska and Rolling Stone Staff

Steve Roggenbuck

Steve Roggenbuck

With curmudgeons like Jonathan Franzen scolding millennials for being Internet-addicted, Steve Roggenbuck's support for social media as a connective, supportive platform for budding writers has never been more refreshing. The Alt-Lit writer turned sorta motivational speaker champions veganism, poetry as a means for social change, and loving the moon. His hilarious video blogs and his most recent project, Boost House, a publishing press and artist residency, have inspired countless young fans.

GPOY

Selfies are commonplace all over the Internet these days, but the Tumblr favorite hashtag #GPOY stands for "Gratuitous Picture Of Yourself." And when you scroll through your Tumblr on lazy Wednesday, you're bound to see a bunch of attractive, carefuly selected Photobooth selfies for #GPOYW. 

Horse Ebooks

Horse_ebooks

Twitter is a hothouse for weird, and Horse_ebooks is one of its weirdest accounts. Originally thought to be a bizarrely brilliant spambot, the account fired off near-koans like, "Everything happens so much." The account was eventually revealed to be the work of one man, Jacob Bakkila, and the handle continues as part of an ongoing performance art project.

Molly Soda

Molly Soda

If you've ever had a Tumblr, there's a chance you've scrolled past a picture of the rainbow-haired, rat-loving artist known as Molly Soda on your dashboard. Her web presence and hilarious YouTube series "Tween Dreams" are beloved by blogger girls hungry for early 2000s nostalgia, with references to Hot Topic, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Avril Lavigne. Molly Soda was also a back-up dancer for Grimes, further burnishing her Tumblr credentials. 

Tyra Banks America's Next Top Model

Tyra Banks’ “We Were All Rooting For You” Rant

Supermodel Tyra Banks' modeling competition TV show America's Next Top Model is dramatic almost every year, but 2005's season four gave viewers a very special moment. The infamous rant, which has racked up over 1.7 million views on YouTube, has Tyra losing it at an outspoken contestant named Tiffany, whom Banks had deemed insufficiently serious. Tyra's screaming, "I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU! WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!" will live forever in TV lore.

MTV Next

MTV’s ‘Next’

Next was a gem of a dating show. A single contestant would stand outside an RV. Inside the truck were five possible dates. When each date stepped off the bus, the screen froze to reveal quirky facts about the date (e.g., "thinks the world is his oyster"; "licensed metrosexual"). At any point during the date the contestant could shout "next!" and the date would end, even if that meant shouting it right as someone got off the RV. 

Allison Pill

Alison Pill

Millennials will probably remember her as first appearing alongside a pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, but the actress has since displayed her left-field charm as lesbian activist Anne Kronenberg in Milk, Zelda Fitzgerald in Midnight In Paris, and as an able deliverer of Aaron Sorkin's rapid-fire dialogue as Maggie on The Newsroom.

Lulu App

Lulu

The self-proclaimed "First-Ever App for Girls" (because all other apps are for boys?) lets users anonymously rate guys in your Facebook network. It's opt-out, so you can find almost any dude you know/dated/made out with and tag him #BigFeet or #OpensDoors. It also gives you a little quiz that lets you rate guys based on their humor, ambition, and, duh, looks. Flipping through Lulu reviews is kind of like one-sided speed dating. And it's funny until you realize, like, what if someone was writing anonymous reviews of me on the with hashtags like #NapoleonComplex or, gasp, #AlmostTooPerfect?

Big Wolf on Campus

‘Big Wolf on Campus’

Long before Twilight and the other hundred werewolf-filled TV shows and movies, there was ABC Family's Big Wolf on Campus. The sitcom followed high schooler/werewolf Tommy Dawkins (Brandon Quinn) and his goth friend Merton Dingle, who battled the supernatural creatures that had invaded their tiny town. Tommy's cheesy facial hair and a script littered with pop-culture references made this short-lived show an eternal favorite of the ten people who actually watched it. 

Stargirl

‘Stargirl’

Young Adult author Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl is one of the few YA novels to have stood the test of time, with its anti-bullying, nonconformist message consistently relevant. The story of an eccentric 10th grader nicknamed Stargirl taunted and shunned by her entire school for looking and acting differently went on to inspire real-life "Stargirl Societies."

Kony 2012

KONY 2012

In March of 2012, the organization Invisible Children released a video that called for the arrest of Ugandan thug Joseph Kony by the end of the year. The film, which focused on Kony's recruitment and abuse of child soldiers, went viral, leading to millions of reblogs and Facebook posts. But Invisible Children's slacktivist movement to hang up posters for an event called "Cover The Night" raised questions about its legitimacy. The campaign slumped after the organization's finances went public and it was alleged that very little of the cash was going to direct action. Oh, and then one of the founders of Invisible Children was busted for public drunkenness and masturbation. Yeah, great job catching Kony!

Snapchat

Like Mission Impossible's self-destructing messages, Snapchat photos disappear shortly after being sent. So you can snap and send without fear that your shots will get saved by the recipient. (Oh wait, except for screenshots.) But Snapchat isn't just about sexting. There's nothing quite like hanging out with other gen Y-ers while someone takes a selfie, adds a pink mustache via the draw tool, and sends it off to someone across the room. Did you open it yet? How about now? Now?!

Go-Gurt

Go-Gurt

Go-Gurt: A long tubes of yogurt that you can squeeze out instead of eat with a spoon. Attractive? No. Delicious? Yes. You had to eat about three of them to equal the amount of yogurt found in a regular container, but they were worth the trouble.

Gifs

GIFS 

You can pronounce it with a hard "g" as in Graphics Interchange Format (full name, wow). Or like the peanut butter (JIF). Either way, there's nothing like finding the perfect GIF to explain your current state of mind. (Molly Soda's GIF wall is at left.) There's Tumblrs upon Tumblrs full of these animations. Best thing: condensing key pop culture moments for our non-existent attention spans. #RealHousewives. Worst thing: if you have slow WIFI, no GIFs for you.

Mae Whitman

Mae Whitman

After playing George Michael's forgettable girlfriend Ann in the show Arrested Development, Mae Whitman had memorable roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as the sword-wielding Roxy Richter and The Perks of Being A Wallflower as the outspoken feminist Mary Elizabeth. But it's her role as the rebellious teen Amber on Parenthood that she's most known for. Though, Mayonegg Ann will always have a special place in our hearts. 

S Club 7

S Club 7

Everyone knows about the Spice Girls, but only true pop aficionados will recall their junior counterparts in S Club 7. The diverse British crew came to fame through a BBC Television series but shined brightest on CD, via most memorable single like "Bring It All Back," "Reach," and "Never Had A Dream Come True." Ain't no party like a S Club party!

tinder app

Tinder

The future is now, and it's pretty sexy: while Gen Xers might find millennial practices of dating strange and, well, uncouth, Tinder takes hook-up culture to new heights. Here's the run down: you create a profile connected to Facebook and start looking for singles in your geographic location based on shared interests and friends. You see five photos of your future significant other alongside a sentence or two personal description. You swipe right if you find this person attractive, left if you don't. It can mostly result in sex.

gibby icarly

Gibby From ‘iCarly’

Much like Steve Urkel was to Family Matters, Gibby (Noah Munck) was the  bizarre friend and neighbor to the central crew of iCarly — before fans fell in love with him and he became a series regular. Near the end of the show's run, he was getting as much screen time as iCarly herself, but somehow his proposed spin-off series Gibby wasn't picked up. Maybe it was a good call. A little bit of Gibby goes a long way. 

hi5

hi5

Even if we don't like to admit it, for those of us under the age of 13 in the early 2000s, social media could sometimes seem daunting. Hi5 addressed that problem by explicitly creating a positive way for young people to interact online. There was one official rule: no bullying allowed.

skittles

‘Taste the Rainbow’

Skittles' "Taste the Rainbow" catchphrase has been kicking around for years, but in the late-'90s and early-2000s, the confectioners began running a bizarre series of commercials, including one that ended with the multi-colored candies falling out of the sky as a child whispered "Skittles, taste the rainbow." Other versions of the ad saw magical birds in Japan caused uttering the phrase, or a dog stumbling upon a Skittles rainbow in a remote forest. There were tons of weird variations, and the spots have inspired all sorts of filthy parodies on the Internet in recent years. 

Juno Temple

Juno Temple

After appearing in English films like Atonement, UK actress Juno Temple moved stateside to become an indie film staple, earning parts in Greenberg, Kaboom, and Lovelace. Her knack for snappy delivery and her choice of eccentric roles helped her earn a BAFTA rising star award, but some people still likely know her as "that British girl with really crazy hair."

Evan Peters

Evan Peters

Who can play a sadistic school shooter, an accused serial killer, and a Frankenstein-esque boymonster and still look ruggedly handsome while doing so? Evan Peters, who's currently every American Horror Story-obsessed teenage girl's dream boy. The actor had a few small parts in TV shows and movies like Parenthood and Kick-Ass, but it wasn't until 2011's Ryan Murphy-produced American Horror Story that Peters finally made a name for himself — playing very tortured young men. 

Kid Pix

Kid Pix

The game of choice for "indoor kids," the pixelated drawing program Kid Pix was a baby Net artist's dream. It was basically a pimped-out version of MS Paint, complete with animations, pre-drawn graphics and killer sound effects. Hearing that "OH NO!" after hitting the delete button was pretty satisfying. Please get a petition to make that the Internet's official deletion sound. 

Purevolume

Purevolume

Nostalgia for technology is no new thing, but nostalgia for websites? In the early aughts, Purevolume was a hot bed for discovering new acts, primarily those of mall goth/emo affiliation. Think vintage MySpace without the social content.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Everything that is beautiful and wonderful and probably rendered in a faded '70s hue makes it way onto Pinterest, a social networking tool that allows users to "pin" images/videos/what have you to their "pinboard" to share. Everything on the site is adorable with a capital "A."

Ari Graynor

Ari Graynor

Chances are if you've seen Ari Graynor in a movie she was acting intoxicated. As Meadow's roommate Caitlin on The Sopranos, as Caroline in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and as Katie in For A Good Time Call, and more, Graynor's perfected the sloppy drunk badgirl routine. Though the raspy actress can do more than just appear spout curse words and appear tipsy, she's just pretty damn good at it.

Ryan Hemsworth

Ryan Hemsworth

This DJ-producer specializes in the kind of inclusive, feel-good remixes and sets pioneered by Girl Talk, ones where a month-old pop song can be an occasion for both instant nostalgia and sweaty dancing. 

Brooke Candy

Brooke Candy

Many people probably saw Grimes' video for "Genesis" and thought (among other things), who is this alien-esque woman in a metallic armor bodysuit with long pink cornrows? 'Twas Brooke Candy, the rapper and stripper whose Tumblr cyberpunk meets Hustler aesthetic has earned her a cult following. The video for her song "Das Me" finds her dancing on top of a hot pink limo as it cruises down a bland suburban street while she beseeches the people of the universe to jiggle their asses. 

Zoey 101

The Quinn and Logan Romance on ‘Zoey 101’

Zoey 101 was running a little thin on ideas around the fourth season, so they decided to shake things up with the unlikely romantic pairing of Quinn Pensky and Logan Reese. The brainy Quinn and the obnoxious Logan were bitter enemies for years, but during one fateful moment on a bench they kissed and became Quogan (or Linn, depending on your preference.) They kept their romance secret until the series finale, but it inspired fan fiction stories by Zoey diehards. 

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