What Is the Millenial Pause on TikTok? The Answer Is Quite Literal

If you're guilty of the "millennial pause" on TikTok, then you just might be an out-of-touch millennial. But what is it? We're here to explain.

Bianca Piazza - Author

Jan. 19 2023, Published 6:50 p.m. ET

Source: Getty Images

"OK, boomer!" If you're still saying this in 2023, you're likely an out-of-touch millennial. That's right, it's happening. Slowly but surely it's creeping up on them (them being us). They're falling behind, losing touch with all the hip, cool, and trendy things. Millennials can throw on wide-leg jeans and part their hair in the middle all they want (even this reference is outdated), but they'll never be as ahead of the curve as Gen Zers.

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And, millennials, while we're at it, keep the words "doggo," "adulting," and "smol" out of your mouths. It's for your own good (once again, for our own good).

Whether they realize it or not, millennials are following a certain trend on TikTok, called the "millennial pause." And no, it's not a trend that'll elevate their "cool" status. In fact, if you've never heard of the millennial pause, you may be guilty of participating in it. It's even possible that Gen Zers are laughing at you as we speak. But don't fret, we're here to save you.

Millennial pause
Source: TikTok/@nisipisa

TikTok user @nisipisa coined the term "millennial pause."

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What is the "millennial pause" on TikTok?

Unbelievably, the millennial pause is a literal pause millennials take before speaking in their TikTok videos. Yes, really. But why? Well, they don't realize that the video is already recording. Though the routine pause lasts for less than a second, it's impactful. It's giving "is this thing on?"

Despite being the first generation to grow up with social media (hey, Myspace), millennials are flopping. And yes, Gen Zers are both cackling and cringing.

According to The Atlantic, the hilarious term was coined by Boston-based TikTok user @nisipisa in a November 2021 video.

"I am obsessed with the fact that not even Taylor Swift is immune to the inevitable millennial obligatory pause before you start talking in a TikTok to make sure it's actually recording," she says with a smile, calling out the Grammy-winning artist. "God! Will she ever stop being relatable? I love her!"

The hashtag #millennialpause has earned more than 18.3 million views on TikTok.

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Source: TikTok/@kathrynfiona

TikTok user and writer Kate Lindsay — who wrote the aforementioned Atlantic piece — spoke about the millennial pause as part of a larger conversation in a 2022 video. (And yes, she made sure to edit all of her pauses out of the video.)

"I thought this was a super funny observation and also part of a larger trend that I've been seeing, which is basically that millennials are aging out of the internet," Kate began.

"I don't mean we can't use it anymore or that we don't belong here, but that the internet that we built and used for the past 15 years is not the internet that we are on anymore. But, millennials are still using a lot of the hallmarks and behaviors and tics from that old internet."

Kate went on to say that "millennials were the first generation to grow up on the internet" and are also "the first generation to ever get old on it."

It's funny how a dreaded .5-second pause can elicit such fascinating cultural conversations.

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