[ This was originally posted on an old blog: Social Networking: The new Rock n' Roll ]
In the 1950's Rock n' Roll swept the (western) world and created a youth culture impact that still reverberates today. It also created a complete break between the "kids" who loved and the older generation who just didn't get it. Some said Rock n' Roll was undermining the moral fiber of the nation, some just thought it was a bunch of noise. The point is that music and culture where fundamentally changed by Rock n' Roll and everyone over a certain age was simply left behind. All of their objections and concerns simply became irrellevent. The kids just didn't care and they quickly found that they could define the world on their own terms.
Social Networking is the new Rock n' Roll, it creates a complete break between generations.
In our era Social Networking (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, et al) is going to generate another break. Our culture will be fundamentally changed and a new generation will re-define how the world works. You don't have to look far (or listening long) to hear complaints about lost productivity in the workplace, moral decline, "infantile" behaviour and kids not understaning the "real world". Well, once again, the kids just don't care. They grew up with IM and email. Everyone they know or care to know is online all the time and they expect be there to.
I suppose that some of you who are 30+ (like me) will be thinking "I get it, I'm there". I congratulate you for being so hip, but the truth is that you don't/can't really get it. No matter how much you try to engage with this new paradigm it will always be an effort. Some of you friends just won't participate. Those that do won't be totally open, or totally engaged. You may feel like you're joining in but it will never be the same.
We're like old jazz fans who appreciate Rock n' Roll for it's roots in Jazz but really we long for something more nuanced and sophisticated. Roll on you cool cats.