Monday, March 9, 2009

You Know You're Old When There's a Generation Below You

My birthday's not for another month yet, but I'm already starting to feel it.  Between the grey hair, varicose veins and inability to sleep through the night, you'd think I'm about to turn 58, not 28.  Anyway, I saw something today that made me really realize I'm no longer a spring chicken.  I'm not the current generation.  I'm past; I'm old news.  I'm not what the media companies want; I'm not who the advertisers are trying to get.  I'm so last decade.

Jerry Del Colliano writes articles about music, mostly about how terrestrial radio is vampired thanks to the morons who consolidated it.  Today, he had a post that broke down the generations tech/media-wise:

Baby boomers (that's my mommy and daddy)
• Radio (always on)
• Raised on TV (sit down to watch particular programs as scheduled)
• Newspapers (at the breakfast table)
• Cell phones to make calls (if they can figure out how to use them)
• iPod as a fascination (haven't gotten there)
• Social networking just breaking through (Mommy on Twitter)

Gen X (me)
• Radio (but it sucks -- their words) (very much so! But I still use it in the car and often at home)
• TV and MTV (MTV when it played music, will stare at TV if it's on.)
• Get their news online not in print (yup, only read a newspaper if I happen to come across one somewhere)
• iPods, Blackberries (well, I hate iPods and am against the mega-phones, but I do love my Zune.  My phone will have nothing more than #s on the keypad as long as I can help it)
• Social networking -- frequently for marketing purposes and business connection (ah, the beauty of Twitter (and blogging))

Gen Y (Munchkinhead)
• Radio only when there is nothing else (Munchkinhead does like her indie radio in Milw.)
• TV is better on a laptop or computer and even more desirable without commercials (I think she still watches TV on tv, but I don't know)       
• Forget newspapers (they make nice hats)
• iPods are standard equipment for this generation (never see her w/o her iPod)
Mobile phones are built into their hands (pretty much, or into her pants)
• Text messaging is obsessive ($40 over-text limit bills, right Mommy?)
• Spying on each other over social networks is a right of passage (that girl lives on Facebook!)
• They want to be involved in their media
• Want to stop, start, time delay or delete on demand
(yeah, I really have no idea here - Munchkinhead?)

I looked at this break-down and realized, I'm out.  What shook me up even more, my little Munchkinhead and I aren't in the same generation.  Technology has developed so fast, it's sliced a generational gap right down the middle of us.  I was born in the early '80s; she was born in the late '80s.  Somehow, that's a world of difference.  I grew up on Snorks, Rainbow Brite and Fraggle Rock.  I don't know what she watched in the mornings because, by the time she got up to watch morning cartoons, I was into sleeping late.  On weekdays, I was at school before she was up.  Mine and Alfred's after-school shows were Square One and Saved by the Bell.  I don't know what Munchkinhead watched after school; I got home with Mommy since she picked me up from my after-school activities on the way home from work.

It's funny though, despite how differently we use technology, and how I have no clue about many of the staples of her generation, I never felt separated from her.  I never felt like I wasn't around.  We played together all the time, often forcefully dragging Alfred into it.  (Like the time I made her Sir Barnabus and told her to go attack the grizzly bears, and she ran right for poor Alfred, who was trying to fix the computer desk.)  I feel like we share a lot of the same memories, just not necessarily the ones that relate to pop culture and media. 

Our media connections are either from our parents' generation (White Rabbit, the Beatles, etc.) or things that continue producing through multiple generations (Metallica, Sesame Street, etc.)  I can think of a few exceptions, things that Alfred and I sort of forced to stay relevant (the Little Brown Tape, the Little Blue Tape, maybe even the Little Green Tape, though we didn't discover that 'til we were in high school).

Well, I guess I better go eat a bran muffin and take a nap.  That's what old people do, right?

3 comments:

munckinhead said...

Hey i like newspapers, my school even has a newspaper and an entire shelve in the lib for newspapers so ppl my age still read them.
its not stalking its research ^>^
i think the last one has to do with TiVo and on-demand cable that allow you to record, stop, pause, rewind, etc something on tv like its a video or dvd.
And most tv networks have websites where you can watch ep that you have missed(fox, cbs, etc.). it comes in handy when u have a paper to work on and your show is on, you can just watch it in a week when they get it online and you dont have a paper due the next day.

MaryRuth said...

I'm looking forward to reading this article...this is a big topic of ours at work--we're all 40-50+ years old and we share info on what "these young people" i.e their kids are doing with technology.
I'm kind of a hybrid though...I fell asleep last night listening to old time radio (Suspense!) that was streamed from the internet and sent through our wireless network to the bedroom! How jacked up is that? ;)

Jeannie said...

ACtually, I read most of my news on the internet (when I read it at all) although I do prefer the newspaper - much easier to find the articles for me, plus I can read the comics without having to wait for the page to reset and have to look for the ones I want to read in a list.
We also listen to the 'phonograph', now that we have one with a needle - nothing like old vinyl!