From Slay to On Fleek: Linguistic Features of Millennial and Gen Z Internet Communication

Aileen Dieu, Makenna Kumlue, Nicholas Litt, Jazmine Pineda, Rafael Santos

The social media community is truly that, a community. Groups of people gather based on common interests to share ideas, offer support, and even criticize opposing views, for better or worse. Millennials were the first generation to create an online community, and through that, a whole new array of lingo, trends, and even celebrities arose. Then, Gen Z entered social media and created their online community filled with their interpretations of millennial slang, as well as bringing a whole new batch of slang to the mix. However, the interactions between both groups yield confusion, amusement towards popular trends in either community, and even irritation due to a lack of comprehension of new terms. In our research, we observed the specific tokens and behavior displayed by both groups individually and in interactions with one another across varying social media platforms. We found varied sentence structure, emoji use, and critical attitudes of Millennials towards Gen Z slang. Yet, for the most part, Millennials and Gen Z communities interact fairly effectively across some parts of the internet.

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