Tuesday, October 04, 2005
If it isn't enough that the mass media constantly promotes division between Generations X and Y and the Baby Boomers, now we've got IT writers bemoaning the fact that younger people tend to be much more enthusiastic users of technology than so-called "techno-geezers", suggesting that you know you're beyond it when:
*You're the only one in the supermarket checkout line not talking on a cell phone to pass the time while waiting for your turn to pay.
* When you walk down the street with your friends you're talking only to them instead of multitasking - talking or text messaging with someone else on your mobile phone while talking to them at the same time.
* You don't use IM to let all of your friends know where you are at all times.
* You don't download songs every night to load on your iPod.
As it happens, I know lots of geezers who spend their evenings downloading tunes to their iPods, and for that matter, downloading and in some cases recording podcasts. They use IM as a matter of course.
Conversely, I know some younger people who don't use IM and don't have iPods, possibly because they tend to be more strapped for cash than the average person of middle age or beyond.
While it's true that younger people as a rule tend to be more enthusiastic users of technology, I am convinced that older people would have been just as wild about it had it been available when they were kids or teenagers. They may not use it now simply because they're in a different phase of life, bringing up kids for instance, with all the demands it makes on time and funds, and opportunities.
Some social researchers suggest that younger generations use socialising technologies more because they're more sociable than previous generations. Frankly, I regard that as hogwash. They use it more because they're modern kids, and it's available. And so they should.
And older people should enjoy using the technology that's available and relevant to them. And remember that comparing yourself to others, as Max Ehrmann pointed out, can make you vain and bitter. And BTW I am not a Baby Boomer.