Thursday, March 19, 2015

If you're a child of the 70's you should be jealous.

"You're a child of the 80s if... you know you're a 70's kids if...  and only children of the 60's know..." ; The truth is, if you're any of these things, you're probably really jealous of a child of the  noughties or the teens...

Those nostalgic Blog & Facebook posts, Tweets etc that seem to go viral fairly easily, always cast the modern day as an instant gratification cursed, pasty faced video game playing introvert ridden society and the [insert decade of your choice] era as more wholesome, healthier, righteous and just plain better.

Yet that same technology, infrastructure and social medium used to promote the message of piety  provides us with the most information rich, accessibility to everything, and a more even playing field than ever in post industrial revolution history.

Firstly, I think there are some pretty thick lensed Rose Coloured Glasses being worn when it comes to memories of the various decades of the 20th century.  We're always criticising the millennial generation and Gen Y, for wanting things now, for sticking their noses in iPads, iPods, mobile phones and the like, but I remember video games in the 80's. A bit more crude by today's standards for sure, but every bit as addictive, and condemned just as fervently by parents and grand parents who "had to make their own fun back in their day!". The 1970's and 80's, while holding some wonderful childhood memories for me and my friends were also a far less tolerant era, in which the ability to memorize the periodic table, the years of the World Wars, the Magna Carter, the Ming Dynasty and the capital cities of all the countries in the world made you "smart".

In our current, privileged era, of so called instant gratification - I prefer the term instant feedback and accessibility incidentally - the problem of rote learning has been solved. To quote the Great Seth Godin - "you no longer need to know how long the hundred years war lasted" - the facts are in your pocket. The spoils go to the most creative user of the knowledge just as they did in the 1960s and 70s when Steve Jobs, Bill Gates et al were forging the information era, just as they did when Henry Ford revolutionized transport, or Andrew Carnegie steel production.

You still need drive to succeed. You still need creativity and the ability to apply your knowledge and deliver high quality solutions to people's problems, in order to succeed. What I feel that modern technology, the Internet and the instant society we live in does, is level the playing field so that anyone with a few hundred dollars for a lap top and/or a phone, has access to what they need to produce, publish and connect.

For the record, my kids play a lot of video games - it's easy for them because you can grab a iPod and sit on the couch at any time - they don't need to slide out the Atari, change the setting on the TV and interupt eveyone else - that doesn't make it any more "wrong".  Those same kids play cricket with neighbourhood kids, kick the footy in the park and have to be dragged away from our cricket club nets, usually after dark every Saturday night, after having played cricket in various forms, Friday evening and all day Saturday.

I don't think things have changed that much across the generations. Maybe the tools of the "kid trade" have changed, but kids are still kids - just with more opportunity than ever before.