Twitter Tuesday: It Looks Different From the Outside

by Trish


Image by Sean McColgan

Different from the outside. This is how I explain social media (Facebook/Twitter mostly) to folks who aren’t sure about it. They call it “not authentic” or “self-serving” or “myopic.”

It does look that way from the outside, because it’s a generational gap. Gen X and Gen Y approach life differently than  other generations (including Boomers and older Gen X). Every generation does. Boomers saw life very differently than their parents, Gen X from their parents, and this is Gen Y doing the same thing.

Except Gen Y and more and more Gen X aren’t going to just go for the status quo. Remember the 1960s? Remember the huge changes wrought in our culture? These were the Boomers and their overthrowing of the cultural status quo. You had your chance and now Gen Y and Gen X are doing it and they are actually succeeding. Their fight isn’t exactly political in nature, it’s attacking the very undercurrents of our society: traditional and mainstream media, how news is delivered and who decides what is important, how they live their lives and spend their money, and make their decisions, how to save their world, how to live with less, how to help others, do good unto others, that sort of thing. And they are doing it! They are successful. I think it might make some Boomers a bit jealous.

I believe Gen Y brought down print media. I think the Boomers tried rebelling against the status quo and breaking all the rules to accomplish that same purpose. Gen Y just did it better. They changed everything and pulled the rug out from underneath everyone. I think the Boomers now know how their parents felt just a little bit.

But this isn’t just a generational clash: this is a new revolution. Our publishing is changing, our media is changing, our news focus is changing, what we deem news is changing, and that is good news, I should think, for the Boomers, for our country. Isn’t this what you wanted in the 1960s? Gen X isn’t so dumb, we were born in the aftermath (in the late 1960s and 1970s), into a world that hadn’t changed much except nothing made sense and no one knew what was going on. Gen Y arrived in the 1980s and took one look and said “no way, no how” and promptly led us to something new.

However, before we so quickly crown Gen Y the winner of this epic battle between generations, I need to tell you how Gen X saved the world. Gen X is the middle ground. They understand both approaches. They’ve listened to Boomers talk about their social revolution and they are often at the very center of the Gen Y revolution. They are the moderators of this clash/revolution and they will temper both sides so that it works. I’m Gen X, but I test as Gen Y. I hang out with a lot of Boomers, so I hear the same arguments over and over and over.

Look how social media has taken off. It’s a Gen Y thing, but do you know the fastest-growing segment of social media right now is Boomers? That’s right. The Boomers are jumping on the bandwagon faster than ever. Everyday another person I know who shook his/her head and said “not for me, not authentic” is joining Facebook, starting a blog, joining Twitter, and having a ball.

It looks different from the outside because it’s not your revolution. Join in and soon it will be. Isn’t this what you were so angry about in the 1960s? That no one understood you?

Well, try to understand this: it only looks myopic and unathentic because you haven’t put in any time to try and learn about it or utilize it. You expect everything to make sense to you just because it always has. Instead of being spoonfed this revolution, you’re going to have to work a little bit. And come on, no one cares about your purist tendencies (we’re so not going back to the 1960s just so you can prove your point). I’m Gen X and I’m here to get you and Gen Y to work it out. Don’t like it? Too bad. This is the world now.

Join in. Put out some effort. Jump in, the water’s really nice actually.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Perry July 28, 2009 at 9:52 pm

As a boomer born in 1955, I’ve fully embraced Twitter and Facebook. Although I’m newer to Facebook, I like it better than Twitter. My 26 year old son and my 20 year old daughter don’t use social media as much as I do. Although my son is the reason I originally joined Twitter and FB. I think they’re both really cool. And I love the blogosphere too. Getting around the government controlled media is all good in my opinion.

admin July 29, 2009 at 7:16 am

Excellent, Perry! You folks are propelling social media to actually become something. I wish I could get you to talk some sense into some people I talk to online and that I meet at the mall (when you say you blog for a living, you get all kinds of responses from strangers who pshaw the need for blogs or anything else online; I don’t think they are even online!). Thanks for the support and keep it up!

Perugxo September 9, 2009 at 8:09 am

What can I do with Twitter?

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