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Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Are We Saying?

Our generation is very fortunate. Don't you think? Never before have we been able to communicate on a hive level worldwide instantly. If you grew up with the original Star Trek, you know what I'm talking about.

There was a time when the projection and distribution of the moving image was controlled by Hollywood. Now, all we have to do is lift a phone, a mobile phone, and point and click, and 60 seconds later we are sharing that video with the world on YouTube. So much has changed in our lifetimes. Never before has a generation been able to speak to not only the entire world instantly but all future generations as well. And all these messages, all these images have taught us what? We all like to laugh at people when they fall and everyone seems to enjoy watching cute baby animals.

With 85 million baby boomers and 50 million Gen Xers, there is already a yawning generation gap among American workers--particularly in their ideas of work-life balance. For baby boomers, it's the juggling act between job and family. For Gen X, it means moving in and out of the workforce to accommodate kids and outside interests. Now along come the 76 million members of Generation Y. For these new 20-something workers, the line between work and home doesn't really exist. They just want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are.

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But what else are we saying? I mean really. What else are going to say as we move forward. Who is steering the conversation?

To join in, at least with any kind of authority, you kind of have to pay attention. And those of us who pay attention, are quiet often referred to as Policy Geeks. We watch CSPAN and listen to public radio and read and discuss and generally eat up all things politics. And if we are very lucky, us geeks can steer the public conversation away from historical rewrites. Policy Geeks can even be trim tabs, helping share information so the larger herd doesn't go astray. I am that Policy Geek.