When Millennials become oldschool

Will we struggle with technology in the future?

Orsolya Nemes
Apr 8, 2015 · 4 min read

Most of our Baby Boomer parents grew up in a time when having a phone at home was a big deal. Now they are surrounded with kids swiping left and right on one of their smart devices 24/7. They came a long way. But will there be a time when we, the now 20-somethings will turn to the younger generation to help us out with a device? Most definitely.

I remember when I bought my iPad and showed it to my Mom. She held it for a split second and gave it back to me saying that she won’t touch it because she’ll mess it up. Even though I tried to convince her that all it had was a single button, so it’d be pretty impossible for her to ruin it, I couldn’t change her mind.

That was the first time I pictured my future kid coming up to me and asking for a chip for his 10th birthday because all his friends already have it implanted and why can’t I understand that having all your IDs, health data and credit card on a small wedge in your wrist is not against the natural order of things at all. Oh come on, Mom, you are sooooo oldschool. Me. Who grew up in the age of technology labelled as digital native.

And he will be right.

It took about 75 years for the telephone to connect 50 million users. The radio hit this goal in 38. It wasn’t until 13 years till 50 million people were sitting in front of their television screens in their homes. The Internet reached this milestone in four years, Facebook in two. It took the iPhone three months to get into 50 million pockets. Angry Birds Space 35 days. [1] There will be another 50 million user / record speed product soon, no doubt.

Our parents had to stay in line to use the computer. Now all kind of devices are staying in line for us to use them.

In the past couple of decades everything seems to have sped up — especially if we consider technology. My generation, is used to new, revolutionary devices and solutions being thrown at us every day. We try them, worship them and then move on to the next, most up-to-date and effective thing. And the new stuff keeps coming. We’ve always done that, ever since we were kids. Let’s just take music. We started with vinyls then came cassettes, CDs, mp3s, YouTube videos and now music means Spotify. All in less than our 30 years of walking the Earth. Gadgets are getting faster and faster and enabling us to do more and more. And this isn’t full speed yet.

My parents have the same devices as I do. For them, their phone is mostly for talking to people. And by talking I mean calling them. For me my phone is a window connecting me to the rest of the world. Mostly by typing.

But it’s not going to stay this way forever. There will be a time when I will have to catch up.

Even today, kids show me apps and shortcuts they use on a daily basis I’ve never heard of — and I consider myself well versed in new releases. The actual youngest generation is always the most adaptive to new technologies — and there will always be a new technology.

Heck, they will be making new technology soon.

I start to wonder when I see little Alphas using tablets and smartphones. Their brain is wired in a completely different way than even mine. They run on a completely different operating system. And they will use and develop new tech according to their own code and way of thinking.

There will be a time, when I will be oldschool. I will be outdated. As I grew up digital, I guess it will be easier for me to figure out how to use a new interface or gadget than it was for previous generations. But I’m sure I’ll be scratching my head and will have to ask my future kid what apps — or by that time probably accessories too — he is using in order to keep up. Sooner or later, no matter how weird it might sound for me now, I might buy that chip for him. And you know what? I might even have them put one in my wrist as well.

Unless we have a blackout.

My ebook (co-production with Generation Why blogger Steffi Burkhart) on Generation Y is out! Download it for free here.

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