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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

In 2019, memes containing the phrase Ok, Boomer flooded social media as conflict between generations became more prevalent. Terms with similar connotations, like snowflake, already maintained a stronghold in mainstream discourse, creating a niche for additional age-related terms. Examining memes, tweets, and podcasts, I work to examine the impact terms like Ok, boomer have on online discussions. While it can be argued this type of communication reflects ritualized insults similar to that found in Labov’s writings or Delfino’s examination of joning , such comments show an ideology deeper than hierarchal establishment. When compared to samples found in social media and a National Public Radio podcast, this research indicates a larger age-based language ideological issue, reflecting presumption and negative stereotypes related to age. These ideologies echo the tension between generations online, demonstrating issues similar to that discussed by Crystal Kadakia in her book discussing the difficulties millennials encounter in the workplace. This project examines the usage of age-related insults in modern discourse and the language ideologies it reflects using a digital discourse analysis.

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