Millennial Pause: A 20th Century Phenomenon

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The Millennial Pause is the result of growing up with social media. Because Millennials are the first generation to grow up with social media, they are also the first to age out of it. The term was coined by a 28-year-old YouTuber and TikToker who lives in Boston. Gen Zers make up much of TikTok’s user base, but that doesn’t mean Millennials don’t use the app. Many Millennials have embraced TikTok to connect with their friends and family.


For those unfamiliar with the term, the “Millennial pause” refers to the split second that Millennials wait before they start speaking, just to ensure that TikTok is recording. The pause often results in awkward or cringey videos, but it’s something that Millennial users have come to accept as part of the social media landscape.


Gen Zers have picked up on the Millennial pause and are now mocking it. Many Gen Zers see the Millennial pause as a sign of narcissism or entitlement. Michael Stevens, a 24-year-old TikTok creator, based in New England, told me over email that he thinks the Millennial pause is “basically a bunch of silly little nuances strung together to create a personality that is very giddy and excitable about the normal or mundane.”

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Whether you think the Millennial pause is cute or cringe, there’s no denying it’s become a part of our online culture. So, if you pause before starting your next TikTok video, know that you’re not alone.


In addition, internet SMS is a product of how we communicate online. They are shaped by the limitations of the medium, as well as by our creativity. As our language use evolves, so will the internet SMS we create. So, the next time you’re feeling nostalgic for the good old days of the early internet, remember that the language of today’s internet is still in its infancy. Who knows what new internetisms will be born in the years to come?


So, if you’re a Millennial who has ever hit “Record” on TikTok, there’s a good chance you’re guilty of the “Millennial pause.” But don’t worry, you’re not alone.


What do you think of the Millennial pause? Let us know in the comments below!

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