You may think that you are part of the best generation, but if you’re part of my generation, then I contend that you are part of “Generation Awesome!”
I am born in the late ’70s, and after some unofficial research I’ve noticed that if you’re born between 1970 and 1980, namely on the cusp of Generation X (1966-1976) and Generation Y (1977-1994), then you are set to be in the technology industry. Here is why:
You’ve lived through an array of music devices. You owned a record player. For me, it was by Fisher Price and my first album was “Thriller.” From there it was my pink Sony boom box that I had until college; although tiny, it was a beast.
If you desired a particular song and didn't want to by the album, then you would repeatedly call your favorite radio station and beg the DJ to play it. For hours you would sit with your trigger finger on the “record” button waiting for that sweet sweet moment when the song got played.
You remember the birth of CDs and took awhile to embrace them (since you couldn’t record your favorite song or make a mixed tape for whom you believed to be your true love). Yet, eventually you began to create your CD collection and found yourself to be the coolest kid on the block when you found that hidden song.
Of course you remember the birth of MP3, the rise and fall of Napster, and the cries of the music industry. You've “heard” it all.
You appreciate phone technology and sometimes miss that long swirly cord. You remember rotary phones and de-friended those who had too many zeros in their number. You remember calling your friends over and over only to get a busy signal, (our kids will never know what that sounds like), and then calling the operator to have her break through the line to make sure everyone was alive over there.
Prank phone calls were a Friday night event and this existed long before *69. At some point, you or your friend got a second line, and that was the “raddest” thing ever. If you weren’t cool enough for a second line, call waiting reigned supreme. Can you still remember your first phone number? You remember pagers and car phones, (that were hardwired to the car) and then of course the wide array of cell phones over the last decade. Today you may not even have a home phone “land line.”
You remember life before computers. Maybe you grew up with a typewriter. From there it was a word processor and not everyone had them. I remember being dropped off at my friend's house so I could use their word processor, which still required a good bottle of White Out. When I was in high school, keyboarding was offered as an elective. I took the class, and it turned out to be the best class I have ever taken. I can type crazy fast without even looking at the keyboard, which is a huge asset in my new writing sideline.
My senior year was the first year when typed essays were required. Generation Awesome knows how to write, even in cursive (which isn’t even being taught in some of today's schools). I bet that you remember your first family computer, and you remember the birth of the internet. You remember AOL and that screeching sound a modem made.
My freshman year in college was one of the first years that email addresses were assigned to incoming students. We were on the cutting edge. I remember creating my Yahoo email address thinking this thing would never stay free, and I still have that email address today. We created “clever” email addresses that seemed so funny at the time, and now we blush when we give them.
As for computers… you saw the first in the home office to the computer that lives in your pocket.
You’ve seen great change in the way we communicate. You’ve written letters and probably even had a pen pal. You’ve been inside a post office and have had them hold your mail while you moved or went on vacation. With the advent of email, you reconnected with old friends with long letters. Today you use social networking with the rest of the crowd. You’ve IM’d and now message friends through Facebook. You’ve even developed a talent for expressing your feelings, thoughts, and opinions in 140 characters or less.
The point is that my made-up “Generation Awesome” has a grand regard for technology; we thrived before it and have succeeded with it. We appreciate how much life has changed and continues to change. We can text message, but we can also hold a conversation and make eye contact. We can use the map app, but still know that even-numbered addresses are on one side, and odd numbers are on the other.
For us, anything is possible, as we’ve lived through the technology boom. We understand how big the world is, and yet, how much smaller it is than it used to be. Because we’ve seen such transitions in every walk of life, we possess a massive amount of respect for technology, therefore, are poised better to sell it and design around it… or at least understand it and adapt to it.
What’s your favorite pre-technology or new technology memory?
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.