Evolution or Vomit…?


Late Baby Boomers and early Generation Xers don’t have much in common in the things that define our social sensibilities.  In politics, arts, sports, faith and much more, late Boomers and early Gen Xers tend to have different priorities, which often happens as one generation morphs into the next.  One thing we share though, is that we will be the only generation of humans who will have lived a fair part of our adult lives both before and after the advent of digital technology.

Though it’s true there were people born in the early part of the 20th century, before cars and before airplanes, yet lived long enough to see a man walk on the moon, the technical evolution they experienced does not compare well to the adults who woke up one day, and had the internet happen.  The technical evolution of the mid-20th century, was just that, a technical evolution.   Digital technology though, did not evolve, it vomited.

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My daughter wears a t-shirt that reads…

“One day I woke up, and the internet happened”

That’s not true.  It happened just a few years before she was born.  By the time she was in the 1st grade (1996), the internet was part of her daily life.  All of her sensibilities were cultivated in an expanding digital age.

I’m 55 years old.  If I consider my adult life to have started at age 20, then roughly ½ of my adult life has had access to the internet.  In blogging and social media, I have been a participant for nearly 1/4th of my adult life.  Assuming the internet isn’t a passing trend (wink), then when I die, I will have interacted with, if not been dependent on the internet for most of my adult life.  However, my adult sensibilities were all cultivated before the advent of digital technology, and before the internet.

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I obsess on that – that my adult values and sensibilities were formed before the influence of the internet, yet digital technology has been, and will continue to challenge those sensibilities for the rest of my adult life.  Because of this, I continue to wrestle with one question that nobody born into an already digital world will never have to address…

How has technology influenced or changed the way that I think…?

Of course, there’s no way to truly know this.  Most of my social contemporaries probably don’t care.  It keeps me awake though, it regularly interrupts my thinking process, and it bubbles under the surface of most of my thoughts, most of the time.

Perhaps a better question – if I go back a decade or so, is this…

How has social media influenced the way I think, and the way I behave…?

I’m going to spend the next few weeks, or perhaps the next few months, exploring those questions here on this blog, and I’m going to be very open and honest about it.  I’ve taken leave of all my social media platforms except for this blog.  Whether I return to them, I can’t say.

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As I write this, I’m halfway through the book, Irresistible, by Adam Alter.  If what I have written thus far has captured your attention, even a little, then I highly recommend this book, despite that I haven’t completed it yet.  I can already tell it’s one of the more important books I’ll ever read.

In an inverse irony, what has fed this blog going back nearly a decade, is that I have promoted it largely via social media.  That has worked well for me.  If you’re reading this, then you are one of just a handful of people who willfully subscribed to it, or had it fed to them via my email data base.  In either case, thank you for taking the time.

If a crazy man blogs in the forest, does he make a sound…?  Jhciacb

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this gem from Roy & Bruce.  Enjoy….

10 responses

    • Thanks, Shannon. My total no technology dreams were foiled within minutes of May 1. Caring for my mom, I realized how dependent I am, on her behalf, on the web. I communicate with her doctors, care givers and more, via email, texting, and GPS to take her places. Only GPS is optional. I’ll email you later this weekend with more details than you care to know. Thanks for listening.

  1. The Internet has added to my life and made things much easier. It’s just one of those things that you have to be watchful of and keep it in its place.

    “If a crazy man blogs in the forest, does he make a sound…?” Unfortunately, only if he still uses a typewriter 🙂

    • While I largely agree with that Dr J, i cannot recommend Alter’s book, Irresistible enough. It’s loaded with stats and good data up your alley. I may actually buy it for you. I think it will better illuminate what we may be up against…

  2. Always good and bad to this social media for sure. I think it is up to each person individually to understand it for themselves BUT saying that, some do not even realize it does make them think a certain way vs. establishing their own personal thoughts & opinions.

  3. Followed the link to that book and noticed the following comment from a reader:

    Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January 2010 by saying “What this device does is extraordinary…” for 90 minutes he explained how the new iPad was the best way to interact with all kinds of digital data. He believed that everyone should own an iPad. But Steve Jobs refused to let his own kids use an iPad.

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