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Joking generation: The strange ways of the Kenyan millennials


Each time we have a weighty matter on our hands, there Kenyans on social media who always try to make light of it by poking fun, creating memes and jokes.

Take, for instance, last week when we went to the polls. As most of us were panic-stricken and all, there was a bunch of Kenyans who kept cracking jokes and poking fun at the sensitive matter to ease tension. These group largely comprise of millennials. These are younger people born between early 1980s all the way to early 2000s.

These members of generation Y are taking over not just a country but the world. You can’t avoid or ignore them. Around here, they are arguably the largest living population. Unlike the general populace, millennials behave in ways that the average man or woman finds strange if not bizarre. One of their most common characteristics is that they are fun-loving and joke a lot.

Digital natives enslaved by their mobile phones

These digital natives are slaves not just to their phones but also social media. Considering they grew up toying with technology, they consume media on mobile phones rather than on traditional platforms like radio, TV or newspapers. They are addicted to taking photos and documenting virtually every aspect of their lives. Just before eating, they take a picture of the meal. Others take pictures of themselves in odd places, including in the toilet. When they are not tweeting, they are on Snapchat documenting this or that moment of their life. Their entire day is documented. When you keenly follow them on social media, their morning always begins with the sun rising in the east. How interesting!

Materialistic and driven by style, fame, image

For the ladies, they seem to worship materialism, especially the college type. What’s more, they are also deeply driven by style, fame, image and wealth. They, unfortunately, also have unrealistic expectations from men. They have a greedy fascination for men with success stories, but never want to be associated with them when such men are starting from scratch. Due to their love for bumming around, fun and disdain for work, they have an obsession for “binge watching”. These boys and girls can watch an entire movie series in one sitting (a 24-hour watching marathon of sorts). This is where streaming services such as Netflix comes in handy. If you have no clue what Netflix is, then, clearly, you are ‘old school’ and don’t belong to this generation. Unlike the older generation who placed so much premium on getting married, Generation Y care less about family and kids. Small wonder then, that, many remain single and unmarried for long.

Selfie craze and hash-tagging everything

When you follow them on Twitter or Instagram, a day can’t go by before seeing them use hashtags. #weekendtings, they caption the pictures they take over the weekends. #officemanenos, when at the office. #burialtings, when they take selfies with coffins at funerals. #holidaytings, when on holiday. #Breakfasttings, or #lunchmanenos, during meal times. This lot never wastes an opportunity to take a selfie. They even pose with the dead! Some take selfies with coffins, or at accident scenes. Considering members of this generation in question are obsessed with what people think of them, they tend to do things to please others and care so much about their image or what others say about them. Heck, they never miss an opportunity to show off to the world expensive drinks or good food, just before eating. It’s crazy how some girls take tens or even hundreds of pictures, in their search for the best shot to share on social media. Millennials are obsessed with only content that will make them gain popularity on social media.

Love for SMS, WhatsApp chats

If you are of the older generation and you plan to make a phone call to these young people born in the 1980s onwards, think twice. Just so you know, these people love text messages, WhatsApp and Facebook chats more than anything else. These are their preferred modes of communication. They seem to dislike phone or face to face conversations, particularly with older people, including their own parents. It is crazy how some millennials spend more time on their phones— mostly on social media— while at official meetings, at live events or at night clubs. Nowadays, members of these generation spend more time browsing the internet, watching short video clips, forwarding funny texts or clips in WhatsApp groups than dancing or talking at night clubs

How corporate world is responding

Generation Y has pushed employers back to the drawing board and many now treat them differently, as if they were a special case. With the increased number of employees belonging to this generation, companies have devised unique and creative ways to reach and retain them. We now have many employers who, for instance, offer laptops to such guys to carry home to make it easy for them to be productive and efficient. “When recruiting these types, as an employer, you have to go an extra mile to get them. Partly because most are creatives and talent based and thus hardly apply for jobs. You have to literally headhunt and lure them with goodies. Contrary to general perceptions by employers that this lot is lazy, entitled and self-centred, employers can still get the best out of this group because despite them being different, they have a genuine desire to make the world a better place. 

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