Communication or Generation Gap?

by Kristina on August 2, 2010 · 6 comments

1950's Ford by Bob Jagendorf.

Last week while I was on vacation with my Dad I realized that his life is not as involved online as mine is.  My father doesn’t use online banking; whereas I check my bank accounts every morning before I take my shower. My father does use email, but he doesn’t read or contribute to online blogs. He is not a member of Face Book or Twitter. My Dad doesn’t even have a cell phone.

Is my Dad’s lack of interest in modern technology a communication gap or a lack of interest in technology by his entire generation?

Technology is not the only thing that my Dad and I don’t agree on. My Dad doesn’t like to use drive thrus at Tim Horton’s (the Canadian equivalent of Dunkin Donuts) because he feels that drive thrus are a big donut conspiracy. He doesn’t feel that they produce the same quality of products as inside the actual donut shop.  I however, am the complete opposite. I am always running between 1 and 15 minutes late. Therefore, I need everything in my life right NOW, actually I needed it yesterday.

During the time that we search for a parking spot at Tim Horton’s, park the car, and wait in line inside the donut restaurant I could have answered a text, made a phone call, and checked my bank account balances online from my smart phone.  Waiting is such a waste of time.  How did people keep track of their bank accounts before online banking?

The difference in time efficiency between myself and my father could be due to the fact that I am in my late twenties, nearing the peak of my career, and also trying to start an online empire with my MADAM brand of websites.  My father on the other hand is recently retired and spends his days playing chess, card games, and golfing with his other recently retired friends. According to my Dad he can afford to wait for his tea and donut at Tim Horton’s because since he retired he “has nothing but time.” My Dad is 57 years old and he comes from a generation where technology was not as valued as it is today.

My mother is a little more technology advanced than my Dad when it comes to her cell phone. She even uses online banking to pay bills, whereas my father still visits his “bank lady” so she can stamp his bill.  However, when it comes to the internet, my mother is in the early stages of the learning process. She recently quit her upper management job in hospitality after 30 years to start her own event planning business.

Yesterday morning she called me at 9:30 am to tell me that she had been up since 4:00 am researching “the internet” online.  She printed out a 15 page document about the importance of social networking for new small businesses.

No friends on Face Book? No Tweets on Twitter? I can’t even remember how I kept in touch with my “friends” before social media. How many of your parents are your friends on Face Book or active users of other Social Media sites?

It is so important for businesses nowadays to actively manage their social media websites.  It is a cost efficient method for advertising and networking.  What would you do if you couldn’t read your favourite blog every morning, or if you couldn’t follow your favourite blogger on Twitter?

Photo By BobJagendorf

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave August 3, 2010 at 7:48 am

I don’t know about the quality difference inside versus outside (I would tend to believe it’s all the same!), but I understand why your dad likes to go into places instead of using the drive-thru. Sometimes you just need to interact. When we use Facebook to see our friends, online banking to take care of our business, and websites and news feeds to learn about what’s happening in the world, we miss out on being around people.

Sounds like your dad needs some “people time” if his hobbies while retired tend to involve others (chess, golf, etc.) Meanwhile, after 30 years in the hospitality insdustry, perhaps your mom has had enough interactions to last her a while and thus is welcoming technology to streamline things.

Just a guess…except the part that we all need to interact sometime (even if it is by Facebook and Twitter).

2 Tim August 5, 2010 at 12:45 am

I blocked my parents from my facebook since they started friending my friends and associates, which was just wierd.

I don’t believe it is a generation gap or a communication gap. I know plenty of old/older people who function on every new gadget imaginable.

it’s a matter of how we choose to live our lives at certain points in our lives. My parents were facebooking etc until my dad had a mini stroke. After that, they were fixated much more on building personal, f-2-f friendships and doing activities that are not tech driven.

It’s too soon to see how the generations that were born with an iphone as an appendage will deal with aging and mortality. I wonder if we will remain so detached, which all these new technologies afford us to be and become, so much so that we will be tweeting our status on our death beds, or will we want the comfort that only personal interaction can really bring.

i have yet to see any of these technologies actually save time.

3 Kristina August 5, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I couldn’t live without personal contact. I do use Twitter and Face Book but it doesn’t not replace personal contact in my life with my friends. I still send out Christmas cards every year. I do not send out a mass email to all of my friends and family to replace individual cards. I feel that a personal message is a nice touch.

Sometimes I wish my Dad was online a bit more because it would be easier to contact him. Between our cottage, his home, and the golf course I can never reach him. I always tell my Dad that he is the busiest man I know who has nothing to do. He tells me that he chooses not to have a cell phone because he doesn’t want to be reached.

4 John Parachuk August 11, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Hi folks,this is Kristina’s Dad.I don’t personally want to be part of this electronic age because I feel that it slowly but certainly is an all consuming snowball type of time wasting control.You become committed,time committed to address these control types of media.To be hip or current you have to be on facebook,on twitter,e-mail,cell phones.You have to make time commitments to these venues for them to have any value.Time that you cannot spend on yourself,why?To be cool,to be hip,to be happening.I’m already that,I never needed electronics to achieve that status.I was just a good friend,I helped my friends when they needed me,I offered my support,my time,did stuff for my family,took care of those less fortunate,I was charitable.I believe in giving back……giving back personally.I have the time because I have control of my life.It’s not consumed by twitter or facebook.I don’t have a cell phone because I’ll call someone when I need to speak to them.I’m in control of my time.I’m not at the beck and call of everyone’s dire need to speak with me.I have an answering machine and I get back to those who need to speak to me when I wasn’t there.It really didn;t matter that they didn’t get to speak with me when they wanted to,it still worked but on my schedule.It’s not that I’m against electronics,it’s about winning.It’s my life and my time and I want to control it,not be controlled by it.Hope some of you folks understand,get your control back,it’s yours’.Love Kristina’s Dad

5 Susan Smith August 13, 2010 at 8:35 am

Hi; Kristina’s mom here. While I’m not a big fan (or user) of Twitter or Facebook, I am a fan of Linked’in. While in a meeting this week, the subject of Social Networking came into discussion. Should we be teaching our post-secondary students the etiquette of social networking? I believe so. There is nothing more rude than sitting in a meeting when attendees are constantly looking at their Blackberry, iphone, etc. Are you really that important that you can’t turn it off for an hour? I don’t think so!! As a manager, I have a “Blackberry Free Meeting” policy. As far as my friends and family knowing where I am, or trying to find me? Not a problem, because I prefer the human contact. I can tell by the tone of their voice if things are ok. Besides, if you’ve seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, then you’ll understand that my family has no problem tracking me down!
The social networking is not going away. It’s all in how we use and apply it.

6 Tim August 18, 2010 at 11:47 pm

what a shameless pimping out of your parents Kristina ;O)

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