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Defining the Orwellian Generation Gap

September 28, 2010

Filed under: observations,Tech — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 7:02 am

I was recently in New York City to meet with a new client and unexpectedly got some new insights into the generation gap.

I was having lunch at a small SoHo restaurant where the tables are so close you can’t help but hear the discussion next to you. I listened for almost 20 minutes while 4, 30-something managers talked about marketing, social networking demographics, and user information to keep in touch with young customers and create an online community. I knew the terms but this was the first time I heard them used in polite conversation.

This was my first clue that there was a generation gap between our tables.

Finally I couldn’t help it, I excused myself for listening but asked if the group was at all concerned about privacy, noting the recent Verizon television ad which shows everyday objects morphing into antennas for the ‘always connected’ generation. I told them I found it creepy and didn’t ever want to be that ‘in touch.’

Their unanimous response – privacy is always part of the conversation but the younger generation thinks always being connected is the way things should be. They want everyone to know where they are and what they are doing all the  time. As one young woman said, “our generation doesn’t want that, but the young people do.”

I thought I was talking to young people, but they were describing their generation gap.

I was worrying about George Orwell’s predictions and they were worried their company would be left behind because it wasn’t Orwellian enough.

I’m not sure what all this means. I thought i was pretty up to date with my Twitter  account (eariess), blog, LinkedIn page, and text messaging but I guess the faster I go the further behind I get.

I do take some solace from the text messages I get from my 90-year-old father. I hope if I make it to his age I’ll at least be  in touch with whatever the current generation is doing.

In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about you can find details at this Wall Street Journal Article.

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