The tale of two baby boomers

Let’s start with this caveat: We did not ask Marla Russell to write this. Okay, now that’s out of the way, and we can just present what she sent us from Philadelphia. She calls it, The Tale of Two Boomers.

Sometimes I think there are actually two generations of Boomers. The 40 Boomers and the 50s-60s Boomers.

Marla Russell

Marla Russell

What makes me say this? Well, I just read David Henderson‘s story on BoomerCafé called “Baby Boomers Stake Out Claim In Digital World,” which talks about how boomers are finally getting savvy about technology. How we are now finding Facebook and other digital wonders.

I would say that may be true for some boomers I know, like my sister (born ‘46), my neighbors Barbara (’48) and Tony (‘45), but I certainly wouldn’t say that about myself or many of my friends. In 1994, I was nose-down in books about the rapidly expanding internet and anxiously dialing up my 9600 baud modem to see what was out there. I learned to hand-code a website in 1995 via AOL’s “Coder Café.”

aol

But, there are always naysayers and doubters right? When I was trying (in 1995-96) to get my current company to embrace email, I met resistance. I explained how much better it was to email rather than phone a client, which meant trying to catch him or her at a “good” time. With email though, the clients could read messages when they down time between appointments and had a moment to spare. One of my colleagues, a video engineer, said to me, “Oh that Internet thing is just a fad, it will die out just like CB radios.”

Hmmm … CB radios, huh?

An early Apple computer.

An early Apple computer.

And guess what? Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak were all Baby Boomers. Yup, we boomers ARE the digital age. Nerds and Geek boomers brought us into this amazing technological age and many, I dare say, are still innovating. Not just keeping up, but innovating.

Look at the BoomerCafe website. This is a well designed, content rich, and certainly not tech-shy website. It’s built by Boomers, right? (Yup … 100%.)

The tech-side of Marla Russell.

The tech-side of Marla Russell.

As I am more closely considering this Tale of Two Boomers, I’m realizing this is actually a matter of personality and comfort zone, not age. My 20-something kids aren’t really that tech savvy. They don’t tweet and they ask me for the best compression codec for YouTube. My 40-something friend calls me up to help her figure out why the printer isn’t printing or what’s going on with her cable modem!

So yes, sometimes I think there are actually two generations of Boomers. But, no that’s wrong, there are millions of us and we’re all different. Some born with an insatiable curiosity about anything current and state-of-the-art, and some most comfortable with the familiar, and contented with what is recognizable and agreeable.

Marla Russell in Greece.

Marla Russell in Greece – the fun side.

Of course it takes all kinds to balance out this world. I say welcome to those who are now comfortable to peer into the present with open eyes and only somewhat reluctant fingers. To the trailblazers, thank you for imagining and executing an entire new age. The Information Age!

Marla grew up a country girl, but moved to the city … actually several cities (Miami, NYC, OKC & Philadelphia). Owner/ Operator of See Worthy Productions, a professional video production company. Also a certified personal trainer, avid gardener, and ever flourishing cook. Recently started a new blog WellOverForty.com. A blog written by a community of voices who live, love and focus on moving forward in healthy and heartening ways. Embracing and mastering the art of aging gracefully.

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2 Comments

  1. I worked 25 years for the United Nations and we had a director (he was 60 in the 1980s, not a Baby Boomer at all!) who was convinced that the whole office should be using Internet – we were among the first to use email, long before our work partners in governments who are members of the United Nations ever did. And I was among the very first ones to learn how to do an Internet search long before Google was born (back then, there were several options but I liked Yahoo best!). And yes, I totally agree with you, there are all sorts of BBs, the Net-savvy techie types and the others. Like there are BBs into fashion and others into astronomy! But you raise a deeper question: can one really talk about generational characteristics and do they make any sense? Is the BB generation as a whole not really tech savvy because Internet was born too late for them to learn it in their youth? I think 2 things: (1) generational features are always rather “iffy”; (2) the Baby Boomer generation is unusually long, in principle from 1946 to 1964, corresponding to a post war baby boom. So you really have 2 very different kinds of people who say they are BBs: the first generation (roughtly to 1950/55) and the second generation (1955-1964) and because of the birth and spread of Internet and pc in the 1980s, there is a break between those two.

    And then of course, to muddy matters, you have exceptions like me: I belong to the first BB generation and act like the second BB generation! Cheers!

  2. Thank you, Marla, and Boomer Cafe, for this piece! I think this sentence hits the nail on the head: “As I am more closely considering this Tale of Two Boomers, I’m realizing this is actually a matter of personality and comfort zone, not age.” While my partner John glares and swears at his smartphone (which he only got because it has a camera, which is useful for his business) and longs for his flip phone, I blog, tweet, create Facebook ads and websites (for John’s business as well as my own), learn more Google apps every day, and on and on. We are both 59.

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