The band was using the train station as a back stage area. I had unintentionally found myself face to face with the one band I had come to see. They saw me and I saw them and they waited for the inevitable screaming that comes along with rabid fans finding their way into backstage areas without an escort. It did not come.
I begged their pardon and simply said, "I believe I am lost.." They laughed. I smiled and they invited me to sit down. So, for the rest of the evening, I hung out with a group of guys that were looking for five minutes of normal as they coped with fame far from home. They asked me about school and my family. What I did for fun? How far were we from the beach? What was I going to do after I graduated? We just talked.
At the end of the evening, as I said goodbye; they asked me if I had a camera. I did not, but I told them that it didn't matter and that I had a good time hanging out with them. They told me I had tickets anytime they played in Florida and I only had to give my name to their manager. For an awkward moment, I invited them to go to the beach if they could carve out time on a future visit.
I am Gen X
I am the generation where "Video Killed the Radio Star". From pager to big block cell phones, shoulder pads and parachute pants, we gave you the home computer and the internet. We gave birth to your technological future, but we don't live our lives like you.
We were the last generation to have fun and make memories without social media. Our childhoods are cataloged in photo albums, not on instagram accounts. We have memory boxes and annual school pictures that mark the passage of time.
"We threw our hands into the air and shouted like we didn't care." We ran into the ocean without worry about the devices in our pockets or who was taking selfies. We didn't worry about documenting, we just lived.
Can You See Me Now? Under 40 or When I Noticed the Difference
We sat dead center of the theater. The lights dimmed, and a rock-n-roll downbeat reverberated through the theater. We were front row center at a concert. Instantly, we were on our feet with hands in the air, howling at the sounds of our past, reliving a moment in time. As I realized what we had done, I looked around to find others in the same position, eyes filled with nostalgia and longing for a different time. We were not joined by the "under 40". In fact, they were doing what their generation does in a moment of perceived glory. They had cell phones up and were taking pictures of us, in our experience. Whether they were sharing our behavior as a moment of foolishness on social media, I did not care, because in that moment, I was living.
That movie had reduced the images and sounds, and angst, of my youth into 2 hours and 20 minutes complete with big hair and denim and all the cliches' of the era. I had "felt the noise" and the "under 40" were talking pictures to post on social media of my experience.
A New Way to Live
Social Media provides the documentary experience that the "under 40" have become conditioned to expect should be a part of every experience. Just as I had thrown my hands into the air without thinking, they reach for cell phones with equal abandon. The music made me feel the nostalgia of the moment in the same way they view snap chat, except my moment was 2 hours and 20 minutes and their moment lasted 5 seconds. The cell phone and social media has been acculturated into their existence.
Our efforts to separate social media from educational experiences is breaking a cultural norm for the young and really, a waste of time. With this in mind, we should be looking for ways to adapting to their cultural experience, which means we must embrace that we live on different sides of a cultural divide, the digital divide.
What We Say and Do on Social Media Affects our Mentorship
Meanwhile, "under 40" stares at our feeds in abject horror as we overshare our thoughts and opinions without regard to how we are branding ourselves on the daily. With our posts, we become the archetypes of literature...the hero, the activist, the boor, the jackass, the whiner, the soccer mom, the bigot, the sociopath, the saint,... We offend with our honesty and in that, we lose our ability to use social media for the opportunity it presents to us. If we were to see the perspective of "under 40", social media could be a point to make meaning and connect with them, to bridge the divide. We should be making the most of our opportunities... why aren't we?
Advice on a New Way to Live on Social Media from Some Old Guys
Live with purpose,
2. The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.--James Madison
Let the facts speak for themselves, but we should all be allowed to speak our truth, so learn how to listen.
3. It is better to be alone than in bad company.--George Washington
We don't count our experiences in the number of friends we have, but in the quality of the friends we have.
4. Ethos, Pathos, Logos.--Aristotle
Know, Feel, Do. Learn the facts, share your feelings, and then, do something about it.