The Mindset - Class of 2016

In 1998 Tom McBride, professor of English and Keefer Professor of the Humanities and Ron Nief, emeritus director of public affairs at Beloit College developed The Mindset List. They created this "witty" list to provide faculty with a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of incoming freshmen.Published annually by Beloit College, the list has turned into an internationally, monitored guide of the changing worldview of each new college generation. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications, and used for a wide variety of purposes. Its website gets more than a million hits a year. Further, they have published a history book related to the List called The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages.The college class of 2016 were born into the era of cyberspace and measure their performance in bit, bytes, and bauds. They are skeptical of America future and place in the world, they question moral absolutes and doubt the value of a college degree itself in light of current economic climate. They are masters of the electronic media. They use to CDs, DVDs, iPad, iPod, e-readers, MP3 players, tablets and smartphones. Textbooks, and radios are almost obsolete!The list includes 75 references of the Class of 2016. I'll share 20 of them here and you can go here for the rest.For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty.”If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of Dumb and Dumber males.The paradox "too big to fail" has been, for their generation, what "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" was for their grandparents'.For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.While still fans of music on radio, they often listen to it on their laptops or replace it with music downloaded onto their MP3s and iPods.Since they've been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16 cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.Lists like this could prove very beneficial to marketers, business, political and civic leaders in knowing the audience/customer they must cater to. Do you know the mindset of your customers, affiliates and associates.Want to realize your dream and maximize your potential? Join me at or where training is exceptional and support is unmatched.
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  • I found this article interesting.  Though I got a kick out of the things this class has not missed because of not knowing about, I wonder if their minds are truly 'set'.  Your point on knowing to whom we are marketing, is well taken.  Thank you.  Sharing.

  • Great article Stephen. Shared to Twitter.

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