I’m using the thin veil of “technology involves science” to disguise today’s blog as This Week’s Science Blog. This is mainly because I’ve had trouble finding any super-exciting science articles as of late. Apologies.
This is something I’ve always been pretty interested in: how different generations view and interact with technology. This article, written by Susan Weinschenk, reviews the similarities and differences regarding how three generations, Baby Boomers (born between 1943 and 1961), Generation X-ers (born between 1961 and 1981), and Millenials (or Generation Y, born between 1982 and 2002), interact with technology. The article is super interesting and I recommend reading it, but here are a few highlights with CLAUDIA COMMENTS!
Dualism vs. Ubiquitous: Boomers view technology as something separate, e.g., they “make a call on their cell phone,” while Millenials “make a call” and assume that said call is occurring on a cell phone as implicit information.
I don’t know if this one is inherent to generational differences or just availability differences. It seems like for Millenials (particularly the youngest ones), cell phones have existed forever and pretty much rule the world of telephone communication. To them, a landline phone is a pretty weird thing. Therefore, they make a call and assume that everyone knows the call is occurring via a cell phone because cell phones are the main available tool for making calls. For Boomers, on the other hand, they’ve had to deal with the transition from landline phones as being the main medium of voice communication to cell phones. Therefore, they still feel the need to qualify the means by which they are making a call.
Twitter and Facebook: Millenials prefer Facebook, Generation X-ers prefer Twitter, and Baby Boomers are kind of in the middle with the two.
I thought this one was pretty interesting. I would think the Millenials would be all over Twitter (‘cause, well, they are), but maybe the Generation X-ers like it because it’s not as complicated (read: mutable) as Facebook and therefore is consistently easy to use.
Is Technology Trapping Us? Baby Boomers grew up without the recent technology and are most able of the three generations discussed here to “let it go” and live without it. Generation X-ers are simultaneously most enamored with and feel most trapped by technology. Millenials incorporate technology in their lives pretty much 24/7, but are the most likely to eschew it in favor of more personal communication, such as speaking face-to-face.
It’s interesting that the “middle” generation of X-ers feel the most trapped by technology, but it also make sense. For Boomers, they can leave it ‘cause they remember life without it. Millenials seek to free themselves from it because it’s so engrained in their lives that it can become a hassle. It seems like X-ers have had to make the most effort to incorporate new technology in their lives and therefore have the worst time trying to break free of it again.
Once we’ve all aged another 20-30 years, it’ll be interesting to compare these data with those from Generation Z.
By the way, I found this article via a list entitled “47 Mind-Blowing Psychology-Proven Facts You Should Know About Yourself.” Usually I stay away from lists like these on the internet because they all seem to rehash the same things that everyone already knows over and over again, but this one is wonderfully written and actually involves interesting stuff.