Mental Health

The Social Media Generation vs. Gen-X

social media generation - Facebook login screen on a cell phone

I was having a conversation a while back with Candace at Revenge of Eve about whether we 40-ish people are at the beginning of the millennial generation or at the tail end of gen X.  The years that fall into each generation depend on who’s talking about it, but the birth year range 1981-1996 for Millenials seems to be a popular choice.  I certainly identify a lot more with gen X, and there’s a lot I don’t get about the culture of those who really grew up in the internet age.

Back in my day…

I notice a difference even between myself (born in 1979) and my brother (born in 1982) in the role technology has played in our lives.  When I was in elementary school, I remember using the really old-school floppy disks that were actually floppy, and the computer game Oregon Trail was the coolest thing ever.  Moving along to high school and the Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia was a big deal, and chat rooms started to become popular. 

I don’t think I really started using email much until I was in university.  Internet was dial-up at that time, and that could be a problem sharing a phone line with roommates.  I don’t remember exactly when my university brought in online registration, but my first few years I had to register via their automated phone system, which was a pain in the ass.

What I just don’t get

Where am I going with this?  Well, even though I feel reasonably computer proficient, I feel very far removed from the social media generation.  There are a lot of things I just don’t get, including the lingo.  Snapchat in particular puzzles me; I didn’t get what the point was when I first heard of it, and I still haven’t figured it out.

I don’t understand why I get followed on Twitter by these random dudes, many of whom say they’re in “USA army”, and they’ve got 5 tweets, hundreds of people they’re following, and a handful of people following them.  And inevitably someone I follow is following them.  Do some people just automatically follow back, and that’s what the fake USA army dude is hoping for?  Or is he a Russian spybot wanting to influence the Canadian election?  Regardless of the purpose, though, really why bother?

Image result for zack morris cell phone


Sexting was not a thing when I was in high school, because the only person who had a cell phone at that point was Zack Morris of Saved by the Bell, and it didn’t have camera capabilities.  How have teenage boys managed to convince girls to send them naked pictures of themselves?  What is wrong with our society so that we’ve allowed our boys to think this is okay, and how have we not imbued our girls with the confidence to recognize they don’t have to take off their clothes to have value?

Social Media Generation – Influencers

Why does Kim Kardashian have 131 million Instagram followers?  I can get that watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians can be a guilty pleasure, but it seems bizarre to me that so many millions of people want to get a regular fix of Kim K showing off her breasts.

I also don’t get Youtubers.  I don’t mean regular people with Youtube channels, but those people who have millions of followers for no discernible reason.  I heard the other day that Lori Loughlin, aka Aunt Becky from Full House, has a daughter who’s this big Youtuber with 1.9 million followers.  She’s been dropped from sponsorship deals with a couple of different companies.  Why does she have so many followers and sponsorships in the first place?  Everyone is special in their own way, but is she actually that special?  Even if she is Aunt Becky’s daughter?  That may sound mean, but does she actually have some sort of talent?

And then you’ve got that dweeb Logan Paul with almost 19 million followers on his Youtube vlog channel and the apparent maturity of a 13-year-old boy, and the complete tastelessness to post a video showing a corpse in Japan’s so-called suicide forest.  Oh, and apparently he’s a flat earther.  A friend of mine who likes watching Youtube was asking the other day if I’d ever heard of PewDiePie.  Nope, but apparently he’s got the most followers of any Youtuber at 89 million.  I decided to see what his deal was and I made it through 3 minutes before the obnoxiousness got to be way too much to handle.  According to Wikipedia, Dude Perfect ranks #8 with 40 million followers.  As with PewDiePie, about 3 minutes in I had to turn them off in disgust.

Are we getting dumber?

Part of why it puzzles me is that there are a lot of people out there generating amazing content on a small scale, so why are people by the millions choosing to watch dumbassness over quality content?  My theory, which of course may be wrong, is that once someone becomes a serious Youtuber, watchers end up flocking along like sheep for the ride just to be part of the next big thing.

Perhaps it has to do with being a little older than the social media generation, or maybe it’s more about my personal lack of tolerance for dumb humour, but either way, I just don’t get it.

I’m not anti-technology, but it feels like it has facilitated a kind of dumbing down of society.  We’ve got a major world leader word vomiting on Twitter and calling the media the enemy of the people, when a free press is a necessity to have a free society.  Instead of the traditional media, some are choosing to get their news from social media, which personally I find rather frightening.  Social media can be a great place to learn that something has happened, but it’s not a reliable source to get the details.  We need more critical thought in this world, and less dumbing down.

Anyway, that’s my rambling rant for the day about the social media generation and all it entails.  Thank you, come again.

32 thoughts on “The Social Media Generation vs. Gen-X”

  1. I’m a few years younger than you and I don’t get a lot of this either. Maybe it’s a good thing about being autistic, that I don’t feel the need to be fashionable or even to know who/what these things are.

    I don’t think technology has dumbed society down, though. People used to go to cock fights or bear baiting or public hangings for kicks; I don’t think anything really compares with that.

  2. I agree with all your points. I worry about the influence of media particularly on young women and their self image. The pressure is enormous. We (society) have become to so desensitized to over socialization. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert but I fear young people are losing the ability to just be. To be alone, to look around at the natural world, to think and reason for oneself. OK, let me just stop right there before I get off on a rant. btw, I realize my opinions on this are jaded because I’m one of the last of the baby boomers. 😉

  3. I was born in 1976 and I feel the same on things as you do.

    I mentioned in my recent chit chat post how I closed Twitter again, cos I won’t need it now. I used it just for personal use when following local news, which was just to get information originally when I heard there was a fire where’s mum lived. I wanted to find out how it happened, just so I knew mum was safe.
    I was only on it a fair amount when I wanted to air my views and see if people were experiencing the same as me when it came to utility supplier I had issues with. During that time I was on it each day was when I noticed I had a follower. I don’t know how long I had that one follower. But it was before I had that crap with utility and I wasn’t sharing my blog posts then, so I was mystified as to why that person followed. 🙂
    I only had another followers this year cos I followed them and was sharing their tweets. So for closing it, I shouldn’t be missed. Lol

    Internet is good and bad. Good that we can educate ourselves and blog etc.. But the new generation will not know what we had before all that and that’s good face-to-face communication. I see them in their phones and not looking around at what they have. That’s the bad side. Will they miss their chances of socialising properly and missing out on things when they are older? Or will they not even realise what they missed? Especially if they didn’t miss it in the first place.

    1. That’s such a good point about the new generation not knowing anything else. The internet can be a good tool, but it probably helps if you realize that it’s not always necessary and the world can function without it.

      1. Yes. The world I think is becoming too dependent on technology. Businesses encourage us to do this online, to try and encourage to pay using our cards, but when this fails, what happens? Banks have shown to fail when technology has gone wrong for example, that you are left to queue up like the good old fashion days and get your money from the counter.
        They try and get us to contactless with our cards, which I never will go contactless.

        I’m not with Facebook as you know but read that had crashed recently that people were not able to communicate. It went on that long, that I read how some were sobbing because they could not access it. I just shake my head. It just shows how people depend on it, when they need to do other things in their life than just a computer or phone screen all day.

        I have to remind my friend that I am not connected to the internet 24-7. I turn it on and off when I need it due to only having so much internet. I will log on and check my emails when I am ready. I don’t do apps.
        I like to get out in the fresh air, or read a book. I could easily get stressed when I was once constantly connected to the internet. People need to learn to get away and have a break.

  4. I am a baby boomer. When I was in school, our idea of technology was a black and white movie on a reel projector on a Friday afternoon. I love technology. I hope I live to be 100 just to see what new things we come up with.

    But people, including myself, spend way too much time on devices of some sort. Recently when my son and family were visiting, after dinner at one point we were all sitting in the living room each with our faces in our own devices. Gone were the good old days when at least if you were all watching tv , you were experiencing something together and could share an occasional laugh or a comment.

    Each type of social media is great in its own right. It’s how we use or misuse or overuse them that I believe to be the problem.

  5. Hell yeah, I so agree with you! 💗 I love to follow people who inspire me and make this world a better place. I don’t like those youtubers or influencers who only show the good, what they bought and were they went. It feels so fake.

  6. This is a fabulous post!!

    My birth year is 1977, my brother’s is 1979 (your age!) and our younger cousin’s is 1981. I think what we decided once is that my brother and I are Gen-X and our cousin’s Gen-Y. I don’t think the millenials started until… maybe the late 1980s? I could be wrong about that.

    The Oregon Trail game… YES! I remember playing it at the mental hospital when I was fifteen. They actually gave me class credit for missed school simply for playing the Oregon Trail game. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: don’t leave in March (too early), and don’t leave in May (too late). Always leave in April! 😀

    (This is where the Donner Party went wrong. They freakin’ left in AUGUST. No, just no. Very poor planning.)

    HA HA! I have no understanding of social media either. I use FB, and it works for me (this time around), but Twitter makes no sense, and I haven’t bravely explored any others.

    HA HA! Yeah, when I was a kid, I thought the wave of the future would be camera phones. Wow, I was wrong about that! Go technology, go!

  7. I guess I technically fall into the millennial generation (I was born in 1989) but I can’t really empathize with how kids are today. It’s too different. I too remember using actual floppy discs to store documents and games, although junior high and high school was around the time cd burning was the rage and I had a really bulky cd player and headphones for my songs. I remember using Napster and Limewire to find music illegally lol, where dialup was still required to access the internet, when the home phone was just a generic cord phone with that awful shrill whenever a call came in and there wasn’t a built in option to change the ringtone. The only cellphones I vaguely knew of were the flip phone kind, but I never owned one until college. It was more for emergencies than actual texting or calling people. And AIM chat! It was hilarious back then… I must have had like 5 different usernames I used to type to friends. I think I fell off that trend wagon as I never used it again after my early college years. My first blog was on xanga but again I think it was a trend thing I got bored of because I never went back to it. People seemed to go crazy for Myspace then too. I never understood it.

    Youtubers are kinda meh. I have to do an internal eye roll for some of them who don’t even call themselves YTers anymore and name themselves “influencers”. Personally I just don’t get the YTers who are able to make money by doing what seems to be like the most mundane things on camera. No, I don’t want to see you do a mukbang of McDonald’s or what beauty/fashion goodies you got from your latest FabFit box and I don’t know why it is relevant to film for a video anyways…

    I have a Twitter but it’s a double edged sword too. It can be a nice way to connect with likeminded people like on WordPress, but certain aspects of it are annoying. I hate the follow suggestions thing, or what seems like people following me randomly because I liked one of their tweets or I happen to follow someone they know. It is all very casual and I am never sure what is authentic and what is not.

    1. I’ve been able to manage Twitter pretty well by being really selective about who I’ll follow, but I agree, the follow suggestions doesn’t work well.

      I suspect anyone who calls themselves an “influencer” probably doesn’t deserve to be influencing anybody….

  8. I don’t get it either. I’m supposedly Generation Y but I don’t know what exactly that mean. I think it’s spared me from getting caught up in this madness. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy social media but just not to such an extent as millennials.

  9. I’m not even sure what my classification is, I was born in 61, but you make so many great points! I totally agree that the internet has caused the dumbing down of society, and it’s up to teachers and parents to reverse this trend and get kids back on the right track before we are doomed as a society. Everyone needs to go watch Idiocrasy again (if you haven’t already) and see how frighteningly close we already are!

  10. I am your brother’s age but I can relate to what you say. Considering all that you said and the Facebook outage recently, I find it ironic that people can spend so much time on social media and not be considered problematic, on the other hand, spending so much time on internet gaming should be considered an addiction that warrants the label of a syndrome or disorder.

  11. Although I am only 52 going on 53 soon, I feel so out of touch with everything “Social Media” this and that. Even though my FB account is still open, I rarely even know it’s there. Snap Chat, Twitter, Instagram, and everything else… Maybe I am just to set in my ways, or I’m just getting too old for it.
    For crying out loud, I’m still trying to learn how to do stuff on WP, let alone anything else. LOL!
    I for one, have no desire to follow Kim Kardashian and all the offspring from all their big breasted/big butts and daily drama of what to wear, to what nightclub they should all celebrate their birthdays at. Give me a break!
    Oh, good, Lord. You have me ranting now. LOL!
    I’d rather follow people here in my world of WordPress. They are at least real to me!!! 😊
    One more thing… in 1979, I was learning how to type on a typewriter. What was a computer back then for me???? LOL! 😊

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