Baby Boomer meets Gen Net

My dad called me tonight. The conversation started fairly run-of-the-mill; school, work, his motorcycle and the general family update. He was in the middle of telling me about cooking ribs when he suddenly stopped and asked: “What the hell is that noise”

It took me a minute to realize he could hear me typing on my keyboard.

To wound his somewhat bruised ego I assured him that I was completely enthralled by his addition of cayenne pepper to his sauce and that I was simply multi-tasking.

He shook it off and we continued talking and got onto the conversation of my two and a half year old laptop that is still kicking but that I’m considering replacing. I was in the middle of talking about screen resolution and my external hard drive when he interrupted me with the GIANT cliche “When I was a kid we didn’t have this stuff, you have no idea how good you have it”

I let him tell me about walking uphill to school in his pyjamas before saying goodbye. I laughed thinking about how foreign and perplexing this whole Net Gen thing was to my father. While I consider the internet, my computer and iTunes pretty basic things to understand (heck you can Google the answers to anything) the fact that finding Google was a feat for my father was something almost frustrating. The other week he called me to confirm it was ok to click “yes” when the computer asked him if it wanted to restart. He reluctantly agreed after I explained to him what restarting the computer meant.

What’s the reluctance my Baby Boomer father has?

My thoughts took me back to a book I read this spring called “Grown Up Digital” by Don Tapscott. The book is amazing and talks about my generation or what Tapscott refers to as “the net generation” and how our assimilation of technology is changing everything from communications to business and science. But Tapscott also talks about how my generation uses technology in a way that that leaves any other generation befuddled and perplexed. For us net-geners, Tapscott says technology is “like the air”. We inhale in naturally, process it effortlessly and emit our own content to the digital world as easily as our lungs emit carbon dioxide.

I definitely recommend this book for Net Genners, Boomers, Gen X’ers or anyone who wants to understand how emerging generations and processing the ever evolving world of those confusing gigabites, tweets and links.

If I can get my dad to refrain from calling me every time he encounters a technological term he doesn’t understand (I love my father and he’s incredibly intelligent…just not technologically savvy) I might get less phone calls when the computer “just stops working” or “is giving him some stupid message”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Baby Boomer meets Gen Net

  1. Sometimes I wonder if all people over the age of 45 were raised Amish at one point in their lives

  2. It’s not about a denial of technology, it actually just wasn’t there.Think of where Dad was with the computer even 3 years ago, he’s gotten a lot better.

    The point is the children have become the educators and now it’s us who are passing on our knowledge to them.

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