Friday, 5 August 2011

I'm in the wrong generation

Aside from obvious things like the fact that I would rather listen to Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles or The Platters than Rihanna, The Parlotones or The Black Eyed Peas (or the fact that I can't even think of more current bands to mention here because I refuse to listen to most radio stations because "it all sounds the same to me") there are certain things that make me suspect I was born in the wrong generation.

I'm not talking about the fact that I would rather sleep than go clubbing, my intolerance for bad manners, or how I believe in God, marriage and other concepts that many my age seem to think are passé. Right now I'm talking about attitude.

I'm supposedly part of Generation Y. And I can see some of those Gen Y traits in me... independent, entrepreneurial, lifestyle-centred, fairly media savvy and often anti-establishment. What I don't have is that Gen Y confidence when it comes to career and social media stuff.

There's this guy of my generation (I think he's three years younger than me) who is also a journo. He covers all sorts of stuff, from politics to music, and he has hectic opinions on everything, which he broadcasts to the world at large through his articles and social media.

He gets equally hectic comments in response, but he carries along quite merrily. I admire him for his writing skills and his guts. But sometimes I also read an article he's written and think it's really immature or just overly dramatic for the sake of being dramatic.

I still feel wet behind the ears in the media world. I've only been writing for five years. Some hacks out there have been doing this for five or six decades. They know everything about everything. It's awe-inspiring. And I have deep respect for the experience of age (another factor that makes me think I'm in the wrong generation).

I could never just hold forth on serious matters like news and politics and expect everyone to listen. This guy does. And people do listen. People take him very seriously.

And I feel both jealous of him and extremely relieved that I'm not him. It must be lovely to have such influence, but what a lot of responsibilty! Although, as a Gen Y dude, he seems happy to assume that the effect his work has on other people is their issue to deal with.

Another very non Gen Y trait in me is that I am suspicious of social media. Yes, I use it. I'm on Twitter, Blogger, LinkedIn and even (grudgingly) on Facebook. I enjoy it (except Facebook, which I pretty much ignore). But I don't trust it. I am very cautious about what I say (maybe not so much on this blog, but definitely on Twitter).

I cannot tell you how many times I have started a Tweet and then deleted it halfway through, because in my mind the internet is forever and I'm not sure I want that trivial Tweet to be around forever.

Friends and colleagues my age Tweet about all sorts of things, some of which I would never dream of mentioning IRL, nevermind online (another characteristic of older generations). They blab about their jobs, their bosses, their sex lives, the annoying things their kids and partners do... I won't go there. I won't even go near there. In fact, I suffer from acute post-Tweet stress disorder.

As soon as I've posted a Tweet, I start to wonder what people will think when they read it (I'm sometimes like this with blog posts too and will come back and edit a few times after publishing). Will they think I'm making light of serious issues? Will my clients judge me on my opinions? Will my sense of humour offend someone?

And, much as I wish that I had the confidence to Tweet in peace, I would also rather be OTT about protecting my friends' and family's privacy and my business reputation than become a fun-to-read-because-it's-just-so-inappropriate fount of useless TMI fluff. And that is what convinces me that I should actually be 45 years old.

Well, that and the fact that I choose Women & Home Magazine over the mags targeted at my age group and have recently taken up knitting again.


po said...

Heehee I think I am a bit of a hybrid of generations because I really enjoy social media but other things like the music (yikes) are yuck. I find it really annoying actually that Twitter and Facebook mavericks who actually know almost nothing and do no research say whatever they want and expect responses, which they do get, of course, because of social media. I think it is dumbing down journalism and devaluing the importance of strongly considered opinion. I think Twitter for some reason gives people a "Hero" or "we are in a special club, helll no, special class" complex. Have you noticed? People honestly belive that

A) because they voice their opinions on Twitter their opinions matter and are very intelligent

B) they are now "activists"
C) they are special because not everyone "gets" Twitter, only special people do.

You are not special by using Twitter. Any idiot can do it, and many do. I cannot stand the sycophantic aspect of Twitter, makes me want to hurl.

I sound like a real old person ranting now.

Jenty said...

LOL you are funny... and I'm the opposite... I'm a Gen X in theory but in reality I have more Gen Y traits

Louisa said...

Nothing wrong with knitting. ;-)

I don't read any mags by the way - no news is good news? If something happens that's important enough I have no doubt I'll spot it on a lamp pole on my way to work.

Angel said...

I have also deleted many blog posts and tweets before I publish them, for very much the same reasons you do!

Anonymous said...

I think it's because you write for a living, you feel that your writing should be a certain way. Like how an interior designer worries what their home says about them.

Slyde said...

ive been wanting to join the Twitter generation for a while now. i think i'm the last hold-out.

Helen said...

I am very selective about who I follow on twitter etc because some people just make me angry.

And knitting is awesome! Maybe one day I will be able to make something more complicated than a simple ribbed scarf!

cat said...

I am sort of in between - can actually not decide.

And you work for my fav mag!

Angel said...

Ooh! I gave you a "versatile bloger" award!

Anonymous said...

You know, a friend of mine raised a really good point. We think our music is rubbish because we're hearing the best of the generations before. Like I'm sure they had rubbish singers/poets/whatever... just we don't know, you dig?

But I have a on-again-off-again relationship with social media. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don't. I quit facebook three months back, I still haven't missed it. Twitter is still there ish- but that too is just dry.

So I get you on that front. Plus they make you focus on a status instead of living life JUST to live. You know what I mean?

But I like people's take on their religions. In fact, I like the difference- if there is one. I mean spiritual beings are sentient and thereby magical. Much more boring are the atheists. So feel free to speak on your beliefs should you ever want to.

Anonymous said...

I used to love twitter but since I started a new job I just don't have time. Many of the people I follow update all day so I'm very much out of the loop.

I totally get what you're saying though, I really do think hard about what I want to say before I put it out there. In reality I'm pretty opinionated but I don't really put it out there because I'm just not up to the issues I'd have to deal with.

It's really hard to find a balance sometimes.

Also Women & Home rocks. Mags like Cosmo makes me want to stab myself in the face.

phillygirl said...

Hahahaha. What it really sounds like is you need a truly anonymous twitter account to experiment with, hell you don't need to even tell the truth, who would know? Consider it a social experiment ;) I always wonder how a new twitter account picks up new followers if no one "knows" them.