Could technology be making the gap between generations even bigger?
One night last year I was on the train home after one of the most exciting football matches in history (not that I’m bias) and I saw something that really got me thinking. What looked like a grandfather, father and son were sat on the train together talking about the match. The youngest of the 3 generations pulled up the highlights of the match on his phone and placed the phone in a position where all 3 could watch. The father and son were watching intensely, while the grandfather looked like he was still trying to work out what he was watching. I chuckled, and wondered what sort of technology would my grandkids be showing me one day if I’m lucky enough to have them? It’s incredible to think about, and quite scary too.
But are the advancements in technology having a negative affect?
At SMR Social we get a bit of a kick from the latest technologies. Did you know in Russia they have 3D printed a HOUSE! It’s incredible. But we’re all aware of the other side of technology. Could it be costing people their jobs? Is it making us lazy? (YES). But what about the social side of things? Unfortunately, we don’t mean the social media side of things, we mean the real life interaction that humans instinctively need whether they like it or not.
From a social media marketing perspective it’s great. People are glued to their phones and constantly browse through all of the social networks checking for new updates. We know this because we do it to, just not to the extent of the younger generation! But sometimes we have to take our marketing heads off and think about the future of the human race, and then write a blog about it.
Although we still like to consider ourselves very young, especially in the world of business owners, we still come across some much younger faces when going to business networking events. It’s really interesting to see how they act differently compared to us, and compared to the older generations as well. There are always awkward moments in networking situations and it’s obvious that the best thing to do is just try to talk to someone, anyone, and have an interesting conversation. Not for any personal or business gain, just so you’re not standing there looking uncomfortable! But what to the younger generation do in these moments now? They pull out their phone and pretend to be checking important emails etc, or some of them are quite un-ashamed that they’re simply messaging friends or browsing through Facebook. That’s fair enough, and we have to accept that this is just how things are, but isn’t it also a bit of a shame? Sometimes those conversations that we have to force ourselves into can be the best conversations we ever have and can lead to the best opportunities.
There was a section on daytime TV recently (we watch it for researching content, honest) about how more children are having problems with sleep these days and they think it’s down to using mobile devices before bed. One child was absolutely distraught when her parents decided to take her iPad off her at bedtime so that she could do what she usually did and lie in bed using it until the early hours of the morning. Now, I have to admit that I can be very guilty of this. But I like to think that it’s only when I’m being productive either in business or in self-improvement. I won’t sit in bed for hours just browsing through Facebook and talking to my friends. If I don’t have anything in particular to read then I’ll go to bed, but occasionally an article or video will trigger my interest because it is related to work or a personal goal I’m working towards, and I get dragged into a world of content that I didn’t know existed. Next thing I know, it’s 4am!
It’s also quite concerning to think about how much technology could be affecting how much the younger (and older) generations are actually getting on their feet and moving around. There’s not as much NEED for social interaction anymore, because we’re all so constantly connected. We don’t NEED to go into town to meet our friends, because we’re speaking to them right now in messages.
Could our age be the ‘inbetween’ generation?
For us it almost feels as if technology is moving faster than the generations, and we have been left in between a generation that grew up with no technology, and a generation that doesn’t understand that there was indeed a life without it not that long ago. Technology came in as we were becoming young adults, so we’re well and truly hooked by it, but we also appreciate the benefits of leaving our phones at home and going out into the world to appreciate what’s real in life. What will the younger generation be like in 50 years time? Will young people actually speak to each other face to face? Will the cases of social anxiety continue to grow because people aren’t used to throwing themselves into uncomfortable situations, and don’t actually understand that a certain level of anxiety is very healthy?