I’ve Become That Old Guy

Social Media for Managers has been a really special class to say the least, and I am so glad I switched into it before the semester started. Here I am at the end of the semester, still struggling to write proper English, spending one whole minute on each and every sentence, revising and rewording them in a painful process apparently called ‘blogging’.

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At the same time though, I’m very sad to see these bimonthly blog posts go. Quite frankly, I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve written 7 of these over the past 12 weeks, which is the most writing I’ve ever done outside of schoolwork. Apart from all the in class discussions, readings, and TED Talks that have taught me so much, this class has also taught me how to access my creative side and think outside of the box and for that, I am very grateful.

As I reviewed my first blog post on my initial thoughts I noticed I briefly mentioned that when I was young, I used to be a voracious reader and I’m not anymore, due to all the distractions and devices that reduce our attention span. But I noticed that as I wrote these blog posts, they helped me focus my attention and deepen my depth of knowledge, instead of just my breadth. (Admittedly, as I went to refer back to my first blog post just now, I got distracted and went on Twitter, checked out some article headlines, then got distracted by a Twitter advertisement and the next thing you know, I was on adidas.com shopping for shoes that I can’t even afford. I swear, even with this, I’ve made progress!)  I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue this momentum as I’ll no longer be forced to blog as a grade, but this class has showed me that it is possible to work on my attention span which gives me a lot of hope.

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Getting back into Twitter was so much harder than I thought it would be. I deleted it in my sophomore year of high school and found myself struggling to get back into it when I had to use it for class, even though the latest version wasn’t so drastically different from the version I was used to years ago. I now know not to make fun of my parents when they ask me how to maneuver Facebook or some other app that they’ve just downloaded. This stuff definitely isn’t easy, and I’m sure I’ll be asking my children the same seemingly stupid questions one day and they’ll be the ones laughing away. This struggle that I had with Twitter, along with the different perspectives I got from class over the past 12 weeks has made me question and change a lot of the notions I initially came into this class with. Here is what I realized:

This rapid change in technology isn’t a new concept to humans and society as a whole.

I have frequently thought to myself, “I’m so lucky to have grown up without the constant barrage of notifications and texts from iPhone’s, iPad’s and all the other handheld devices that rule our lives now. What are these kids who are so attached to these devices going to do when they grow up? They’re screwed!”. I came to last week’s class ready to make the comment that it’s so scary seeing 1 year olds navigate through YouTube with ease, but can’t even say a coherent word yet. Sure enough, another person made a very similar comment (I think it was Masha). This made me realize that many people in my generation feel the same way about the generation below us, and this sounds eerily similar to the token old guy we’ve all talked to who says things like, “back in my day we didn’t have…” and then proceeds to go off for 5 minutes talking about some privilege or distraction we have in our lives now that is ruining everything that is pure.

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So what have I learned? The world really isn’t ending and the next generation will be completely fine. The picture Prof Kane put up in class really shifted my perspective:

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As humans, I think history always repeats itself and the same big problems arise in every generation; the only difference is that they take shape in different forms each time. I’ll bet that when the generation of the ‘1 year old iPhone holders’ gets to our age, they’ll be predicting the same horrible fate for the generation after them. “Teleportation is going to be the end of humanity! I can’t agree with this.” they’ll say. Yes, the pace of innovation is increasing exponentially and the future of technology has unlimited potential. But I still have faith, a lot more than I did at the beginning of the semester at least, that humanity will continue onwards as it always does and we will be fine. Ultimately, I have learned that going against the grain and resisting innovation, change, and progress is a huge waste of time and energy. The quicker we embrace change, the quicker we can adapt to it and continue to live the life we want to live.

10 comments

  1. I loved this blog and couldn’t agree more with almost all of your points! As I read this blog, I stopped to answer a text from my mom, followed up on something she asked about an e-mail, went to go check on a christmas present order on FedEx, and then came back to this blog… so you are not alone. We find certain tendencies we have developed to be sad, tendencies of generations below us even sadder, and have no faith in the future of human behavior; but as you said our grandparents thought it of our parents with their changes and our parents thought it with us. This is the never ending cycle of thought, yet innovation and change never ends and we continue to move on and progress despite the skepticism and judgement of these changes. Great blog! Very relatable thoughts for how I felt blogging and tweeting this semester!

  2. Glad that you realize that you too will be that Old Guy one day (don’t worry, i don’t think you’re there yet). My challenge is that I realize it anew and in new and different ways every semester teaching this class!

  3. cattybradley · ·

    I loved this – definitely agree! I liked your point about being quick to embrace innovation or change. I think this is becoming more and more relevant. I think society would avoid a lot of problems if our policies and management of technology was more proactive rather than reactive. I think people put off the idea that certain technologies will be a reality sooner than later (I.e. Self driving cars) when really we should be spending more time planning for the impact of these developments.

  4. adamsmea89 · ·

    This was a great post, and I can relate to a lot of what you were saying. I was also not a blogger or Twitter user before this class, and being forced to do these things made me realize it really isn’t so bad. I think it is very interesting how each generation believes the generation younger than them is doomed, but this does seem to be a pattern through out history. We have made immense technological advances over the last 100 years, but all of a sudden today people believe it is different. I agree with you, that is probably is not different and everyone will figure out how to make technology work with their lives.

  5. Thanks for your reflections Aditya. I enjoyed being in your discussion group all semester and I enjoyed hearing your thoughts and takeaways from all the readings and TED talks. I think your right, ever generation has their ‘beef’ with the generation below them and this is how it has been since the beginning of time. When it first comes out, people see technology as a scary thing, but then we adapt and we are better off with it. Once again, great reflection and I hope the best.

  6. rohansuwarna · ·

    Awesome final blog! I honestly agree with you in that every generation will encounter the same moral problems about progressing forward with technology. Many people are and will be uncomfortable with people depending so much on technology or spending so much time on social media platforms. But, as you said, I feel like we are still headed in the right direction because technology and social media have given us so much to help our lives.

  7. Great final post, Aditya. I completely agree – that picture that Professor Kane put up in our class definitely changed my idea as well. With our parents always yelling at us to get off our phones, it’s very easy to start to feel like we’re becoming less social in terms of face to face interaction. Thankfully, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. The things that make us human have not changed – we like to be connected to people, but not THAT connected. It’s why some people will still unfriend people on their social media platforms, why many people make their Instagram accounts private, or in the most extreme case, deactivate their social media accounts. However, one thing we can say with certainty is that we have become comfortable talking to someone behind a screen. It feels normal and genuine (sometimes). Although we might type in “LOL” in a text message even though our facial expression has literally not changed in the course of reading the text message that supposedly made us laugh, we definitely feel comfortable being behind those screens to communicate. Which isn’t a bad thing. Thanks for all your insightful comments, Aditya.

  8. Man, these posts are good this week! Have seen the movie Midnight in Paris? It was written and directed by Woody Allen about a man in Paris who goes wandering away from his wife at night down the streets of Paris and accidentally travels back in time. He meets the likes of Picasso and Hemingway. He has a great nostalgia for the past and everything great that it holds. Today’s world and all it’s luxuries or distractions feels so insincere. To his surprise, the famous historical men and women he meets feel the say way about their era. They look back even further in the past to a greater time and dismiss their own current time period as banal.

    The moral of the story is of course that there will always be change and you can always look back to a ‘better time’ but that nothing was really better or worse. It was simply different. That photo from class with the students reading their newspapers: it shows you that yes everything changes but nothing really changes.

  9. michaelahoff · ·

    Great point on the useful painfulness of blogging. My attention span has only lessened recently, and blogging forced me, too, to think deeper on topics that I would have otherwise skimmed through. Ironic that it was a social media class that caused that.

  10. jagpalsingh03 · ·

    Great post Aditya! I really agree with your last few lines and wholeheartedly believe that “the quicker we embrace change, the quicker we can adapt to it and continue to live the life we want to live.” Change is the one constant in the history of the world but unfamiliarity scares us, which is understandable. As technology does increase exponentially, we need to lose this fear of the unknown and invite the challenge. I think that’s one huge takeaway that we all garnered from Prof Kane’s class. I also had the same experience writing blogs. Sitting down every weekend brainstorming, procrastinating, and eventually settling on a topic was a common habit this semester; yet, by the middle of each post, I realized how much there was to write and the challenge wasn’t reaching the 800th word but rather fitting the information into 1200 words. I will miss exploring topics in detail and reading about them too via other classmates’ blogs, but in the end, I learned a lot from Prof Kane and everyone else in the class. Great way to end the semester!

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