To set the stage for the context of my growing up and any social media commentary, I thought I would give you a look back on what was happening in the first decade of rock and roll. During the ‘50s people were building America and starting families after World War II. Hence, the post-war baby boom. For those of you under the age of 40, that’s why we’re known as the Baby Boomers.
It was also during the height of the Cold War. We all watched or listened to the news filled with what the Reds (aka Russians) were up to. They were indeed the bad guys. If you were a Communist, (or even suspected of being a Communist), let’s just say the s--- would hit the fan. I remember when the Russians were shipping missiles to Cuba and the United Nations debated over their potential bases. JFK and the U.S. Navy eventually stopped them with a blockade. The tension due to the potential act of war was felt by all of us, even though we were only in grammar school. Some very concerned citizens built bomb shelters.
I now look back, remembering the drills at school. The teachers instructed us to hide under our desks to protect ourselves if an atom bomb was detonated. Yeah, right, if the bomb went off over in Oklahoma. I would have been much better off kissing the closest girl just before we were incinerated.
Beyond that dark cloud hanging over us, it was a great time to grow up. Life seemed simple, balanced between school, fun and leisure, and I never heard anyone say their parents were out of work. But what was also exciting during those decades was radical change: the building of infrastructure like the national highway system, suburbs being created outside of large cities, television’s impact on society, the civil rights movement and the emerging global economy.
A few culture comparisons:
Twitter Grapevine/word of mouth
CNN Walter Cronkite
Flickr Photo album and slide tray
Digital photos Polaroid
Video 8mm/Super 8
GPS Gas station attendant/road map
Wii Go outside and play
iPod Transistor radio
iTunes Records/Record Albums
Google Library/encyclopedia/Yellow Pages
YouTube 8mm film
Computers Your brain with a slide rule
eHarmony Speed dating, dances, bars, blind dates
Electronic files Manila folders
eBay Swap meet
Mobile phone Phone booth or stretched cord
Text message Folded note
Dancing W/Stars Arthur Murray Show
Green/recycling Drinking water out of faucets and returning your glass bottles
GEICO gecko Jolly Green Giant
Al Maag is author of the book "Social Media Isn't Social" available on Amazon.com; and a principal at MaagComm+