Millennial Verbal Tics, Volume 1

I’m going to start a series of posts about Millennial Vocal tics. Many of these will have been pointed out before, but I don’t know of anyone who has actually listed them all. Feel free to submit some more.

The Starting So

“So, I was just looking at Bryleigh’s Instagram, and… OMG is she with Aiden again!?”

There is sometimes a little pause after the “So,” as the millennial adds dramatic effect. This form of the Starting So is typically used by girls. The “So” adds nothing to the sentence, it could be removed and the meaning would not change at all. What “So” adds in this case, is a kind of arch cattiness, a sort of ironic quality that Millennials find attractive because they are driven by a desire to be seen as sophisticated and urbane.

A slightly different form of the Starting So is the type infamously used by Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley figures like Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Here’s Mark Zuckerberg:

So Facebook is not one thing. On desktop where we grew up, the mode that made the most sense was to have a website, and to have different ways of sharing built as features within a website. So when we ported to mobile, that’s where we started — this one big blue app that approximated the desktop presence.

But I think on mobile, people want different things. Ease of access is so important. So is having the ability to control which things you get notifications for. And the real estate is so small. In mobile there’s a big premium on creating single-purpose first-class experiences.

So what we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app.

So what we want to do is build a pipeline of experiences for people to have.”

The idea of enduring an entire “pipeline of experiences” provided by Mark Zuckerberg really makes me want to eat a bullet, but leaving that aside…

I call this form of the Starting So the Nerdsplaining So. When a nerdy guy wants to hold forth on his interesting thoughts, he adds the “so,” which gives his speech a sort of impersonal, professorial quality.

I think the common thread here is anxiety. Millennials are notoriously nervous and anxious, likely a consequence of growing up in unstable family environments, being fussed over by Helicopter Parents, and the frenzied competition of a world suffering from Elite Overproduction.

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