We Baby Boomers have long thought we invented pretty much everything. If we didn’t actually invent sliced bread, we at least identified which side needed to be buttered. From the cultural and sexual revolutions of the Sixties with our hippie dippie, free love, free speech, flower power, no plastic, “Who needs more ‘stuff,’ man?” anti-establishmentarianism to the Eighties’ New Materialism where our mantra did a one-eighty to “Whoever ends up with the most stuff wins” to the New Right, Silent Majority, neo-conservatism, Family Values of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, we have always felt empowered to promote “our” values as “the” values.
God bless ‘em, our kids seem to have figured out to ignore our inflated mass sense of self importance.
While computers did come into their own on our watch, the powers of mass social networking were, whether we Boomers want to admit it or not, discovered and developed by our prodigy. They MySpaced out, friended up, and YouTubed down the mighty River Internet. They even seem to have evolved the species with a new developmental feature, TTA (Text Thumb Ambidexterity.)
OK, they blazed the trail, but B.B.s don’t like being out-maneuvered on social movements. So, we’ve jumped aboard the Facebook, et al, bandwagon full force. We’re all a-Twitter as we StumbleUpon Classmates who are LinkedIn to Slashdot and who Digg Xanga as we Friendfeed LiveJournal entries from Bebo that were Tagged on Ning as we Hi5 each other over that Delicious Last.fm recommendation once we’ve Reddit. A study on Pingdom posted in February showed a full 32 percent of social networking site users are undeniable Boomers with another 25 percent of users being from the Boomer “cusp” (ages 35 to 44).
So, Boomers and their close associates are hitting the Web hard for social interaction. Granted, it’s those Boomer-cusp Middle-Agers (who were 20-somethings when the Web truly hit World Wide “wowness” in the 1990s) who are leading all packs for online sociability. But, they’re kin, not kids, to us full-bore Boomers. Together, we account for more social internetting than our tech-brained children.
But, dagnabbit, them young whippersnappers are up to their rascally shenanigans again. After they scooped us with social media savvy, they are now securing their online profiles much more aggressively than we. The recent Pew Research Center report, “Managing Your Online Profile,” finds that Boomers are far more lax about managing their Web “face” and less likely to guard their privacy and manage their online security than those 18- to 29-year-old rapscallions. How dare they outperform us again!
Well, gang, we better get a grip or these young punks are going to trot us out to the old revolutionaries’ pasture right quick. We need to take heed, secure up, and get our Web acts together or they’re going to out-revolutionize us again. We obviously followed the lead of the kids to Web-based socialization. It looks like they’re scooping us on the need to look both ways as we cross the Information Highway, too.
Eh? What’s that you say, sonny? I need to watch my healthcare data as it goes digital, too? Clementine, call Dr. Peel…I think I need to have my “privates” examined.
Now, where’d I leave my cane?
From the crotchety, old trenches…
“Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.” – Ayn Rand
Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician, directs the “Pediatric Office of the Future” exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the Professional Advisory Council for ModernMedicine.com. More of his blather…er, writings…can be found at his blog, practice web site or directly from firstname.lastname@example.org.