Carla Dearing on how Millennials are always well-connected online, but not to their increasingly bewildered elders. Compare her take to that of Jean Russell (born 1972). When will the internet live up to its potential for social organizing? When the Boomers sign off, hand off, move along, or die off. Today reminds me of when keyboards came into the executive suite around 1982 with the IBM PC. Many an exec could not type, and never learned, they just gradually phased into irrelevance. Today the leaders in giving are "too busy," etc. to have learned the net. So Milennials must "route around the damage," gently ignoring the elder-leaders who communications strategies now seem archaic. If, as an organizer, you plan an event and want to keep people in conversation before and after, you have to look at the ages. If the Boomers predominate, you might as well use email, since anything more elaborate like blogs, wikis, on line communities, will flop. Yet, the Boomers still have the money, the contacts with money, the institutional memory, and the organizational authority. So, we must slow down technologically to the slowest in the group, the elders, the leaders, the experts. I am afraid the only solution is a generational change that I myself may not live to experience.
If Boomer morale is based on Boomer ego being central, then it is in need of sapped. Real servant leadership drives toward making change rather than being the recognized focal point of change. Want to be part of social media? Earn your way with your words and community building rather than resting on the laurels of wealth or heritage. This is an emergent do-acracy with a flat organizational principle. Reputations on the edge are built in a few short years based strongly on action and results. Gifthub offers a terrific example of this: the visible network, the tangible history of quality conversations, the generous attention to others acting as consistent invitation. It isn't how old you are, it is how you play together. It appears mostly generational, but really it is a culture. If you want to join the millenials--BE different. Get into the technology, become fluent in social media, act with invitation, build trust through transparency, and facilitate the many-to-many connection that IS the change.
Posted by: Jean Russell aka Nurture Girl | June 03, 2008 at 06:16 PM
Thanks, Jean, well put. "Plays well with others," without hogging all the attention. Not taking oneself too seriously seems to be part of it also. But some of it is also, don't you think, a dexterity with technology, a habit of linking, or reading online? Then there are all those irreverent stangers online. Loss of dignity seems a risk.
Posted by: Phil | June 03, 2008 at 06:38 PM
No worries, children. The Tiffany Network is doping it out for us.
Posted by: Fungus McGee | June 03, 2008 at 06:54 PM
But, hey, Boomers are special too. We have always been the Me Generation and now the kids are the We/Me Generation. Fragile egos all around. The Happy Tutor has become a life coach.
Posted by: Phil | June 03, 2008 at 07:26 PM
Yeah, we ALL could use a little of this from time to time [mp3 audio]. It's a shame ol' Happy's gone beige.
Boomers Plan to Open Up in a Closed Sort of Way
Posted by: Fungus McGee | June 03, 2008 at 10:45 PM
Time to be death and reincarnation, maybe. We have outworn our earthly sheath.
Posted by: Phil | June 04, 2008 at 08:01 AM
Old news. Anyone remember '68 ? The world was gonna be different after that. Then money and power decided to have their say.
You can network your ass off (twice or three times if you care to) but if collectively we don't change things like capital markets, central treasuries and campaign financing laws, they'll net your work for you.
Posted by: JJ Commoner | June 04, 2008 at 10:48 AM
68? That was the year the OverArchies came out, yeah? Sugar Sugar? Who's Your Baby? Bang-Shang-A-Lang? Jingle Jangle? Every generation's got their OverArchies, as you say. May as well be be the same band, and maybe it is. :)
Posted by: Fungus McGee | June 04, 2008 at 12:32 PM
JJ Commoner is right. If we don't change the systems we build our world upon, then we are going to keep getting variations on the same results. Addressing poverty, for example, without addressing the system that creates and maintains it, is still just charity and merely marketed as change. An illusion for fools to rush in and be distracted from making much needed systemic changes. And thus, if it is all just Sisyphean maneuvering, why be so attached to what is?
Posted by: Jean Russell aka Nurture Girl | June 04, 2008 at 04:29 PM
Unless we eliminate control files kept by secret bureaus and used to coerce, blackmail, and suborn the forces of change, we will get no further than did MLK, who not only was surveilled but also shot. The world we have does not work for most people because the biggest benefits are drained off by overt and covert means to benefit the few who have the country and the world more or less under controll. To stand agains that is, indeed, Foolish. We had better stick to "being the change we want to see in the world," meditating, praying, and engaged in feckless but inspired acts of random generosity. Above all, we should set a good example of transparency for those who surveille us. Maybe they will be moved by our example and open up the FBI and NSA archives so we can correct any misinformation or illegally obtained information that may have gotten into the files by mistake.
Posted by: Phil | June 04, 2008 at 05:35 PM
eh, new tools are the progeny of old tools. heh.
eh, there's a lot of money to be made building tools that people label as "social."
eh, there's a lot of money to be made building tools that you can market as not being the next social media phenomena.
Generally, in either case, these are planned and built by tired people sitting around conference tables writing on legal pads with ballpoint pens, people who will either make a lot of money or not, with ambitions of building better tools than the tools they are using to plan the building of better tools.
There aren't really generations of people, only generations of tools, generated by people who believe in generations of people, as a reverse metaphor for the generations of tools.
I think that was the title of a book by John F. Kennedy. A Generation of Tools. Whoever it was, he died young, I know that.
Posted by: Ikorush Sikorsky | June 04, 2008 at 11:10 PM
The tools and traditions do indeed have a life beyond us. In fact traditions skip around from generation to generation, die out, and come back sometimes hundreds of years later. T.S. Eliott made this point as he revived aspects of Metaphysical poetry, after several hundred years of neglect. So, likewise in America we reinvent Oligarchy, from seeds transplanted from European theorists, as well as our own native gifts.
Posted by: Phil | June 05, 2008 at 08:58 AM
Join me in a more efficient lamenting.
Sniff. Boo hoo. Better.
Posted by: Speed Grieving | June 05, 2008 at 12:25 PM
What are we speed grieving for? The Boomer's fading away? Our slow drift into senescence?
Posted by: Phil | June 05, 2008 at 01:01 PM
Guess it's a little ad that belongs in a box. A chip off the blue box, perhaps.
There's so much, imo. Not meant to be sarcastic, as if boomer's loss wasn't worth a full deep cry. There simply isn't time.
I wonder if millenials are coming of age with a sense of loss, or not. Will succeeding gens sense something missing? Maybe nothing is...
Sikorsky's "There aren't really generations of people" struck me viscerally. Does it you?
Posted by: Speed Grieving | June 05, 2008 at 02:34 PM
Yes, I do have a sense of loss; I often wonder if this is age talking in me, that what I sense as a risk of decline in community and democracy and the ecosystem might be in part a projection of my own aging. I do wonder if younger people sense the urgency of change, and how late it is, and how irrversible will be trends, if they are not already. I also tend not to believe that these generational generalizations are essential. We have parents but also forefathers and foremothers, often taken into our genetic code by reading, or going through training. To be deeply educated in a field is to have a tradition's DNA spliced into your own. I am only half kidding about being an Ancient in some respects. Stupidity, complacency, cliquishness, and knavery are ages old and cross all the generational boundaries. The rising gen is lost, so are we.
Posted by: Phil | June 05, 2008 at 02:52 PM
Hello Phil and everyone else:
I thought I would drop in on you and see what is going on these days. I have reinvented and renamed Key’s to the Vatican. We are now The Key’s to Faith Publication (www.thekeystofaith.org); please stop by and check us out.
The Key’s to Faith Publication
Posted by: Joseph Fosco, Editor-In-Chief, The Key's to Faith Publication | June 05, 2008 at 04:04 PM
Posted by: Phil | June 05, 2008 at 04:06 PM
What are the good topics these days?
Posted by: Joseph Fosco, Editor-In-Chief, The Key's to Faith Publication | June 05, 2008 at 04:08 PM
Will you consider writing a piece for us to publish on The Key’s to Faith Publication? The Chicago Sun-Times gave us a nice plug last Sunday: http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/980740,CST-NWS-sneed01.article
Posted by: Joseph Fosco, Editor-In-Chief, The Key's to Faith Publication | June 05, 2008 at 04:14 PM
Here is a thought, if you think Lord Black might agree. What if we did an article on ways a person, rich or poor, can "give back" or "pay forward a gift"? It might begin with the parable of the talents. It might then go on to Milton's great sonnet, "On His Blindness," which alludes to the parable. An example of giving back might be the philanthropy that Lord Black has engaged in over the years, but giving back, giving a return "on the talent that is death to hide," would also be the course he teaches in prison on history. He himself might see ways that even in prison other people from other walks of life do something, large or small for others. An article like that would have real appeal and would be in keeping with Catholic doctrine. You cannot speak for Lord Black, but if you are willing to show a draft to him and ask for his editorial suggestions and his additions, based on his experience, I would be happy to make a first pass. If he does not want to look at the piece, or does not want to be associated with it, that, of course, is fine. You could publish my effort as is, but it would be far more powerful if it included the insights of Lord Black as well, and any comments he might find from his students in his current Tutorials. What do you think? You don't have to ask him yet. I could draft the framework and you could forward it to him for his decision or collaboration. I would be honored.
Posted by: Phil | June 05, 2008 at 06:00 PM
Very nice idea; get me the piece and I will get it to CB.
Posted by: Joseph Fosco, Editor-In-Chief, The Key's to Faith Publication | June 05, 2008 at 08:04 PM
Speaking of Boomers, Millenials, and deep change to who and what actually run things, and and whatnot .. wandering along the streets here in Quebec City, I just happened on this .... World Social Finance Summit 2008.
It's in a ramshackle-ish not-for-profit arts centre in the lower town of Quebec City.
I noticed that neither Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, George Soros or CA Fitts were in attendance. Plus, it's in Quebec City, so no one of any importance actually knows where it is.
I don't expect much change to come of it.
Posted by: JJ Commoner | June 06, 2008 at 01:46 PM
Social change conferences generally do not produce much, alas. Now social venture conferences hold great promise, for more of the with bells on. I hope we are wrong, that new models with produce better results.
Posted by: Phil | June 07, 2008 at 04:10 PM
I will give it some thought.
Posted by: Phil | June 07, 2008 at 04:12 PM