Passing an old community notice board the other day on my walk to get some milk, I did something unusual – I stopped and read it. Not because there was any one thing in particular that interested me, but rather the whole piece. It was familiar and perfectly normal as anything else around me, but about as obscure as seeing someone using a mobile phone with buttons. What caught my eye the most was the fact I had seen nearly all of these notices before on my Facebook or Twitter timeline within the past few weeks. There were a few ads for local events, a few hand-written notices for handy jobs, a missing cat notice and a council anti-litter ad.
I spoke to my mother later in the day about it, explaining how redundant this way of spreading news becoming, wondering how many people actually paid attention to this board. She had a different idea, as someone proud to not yet own a Facebook account, she claimed that these notice boards are for the rebels like her, the ones who aren’t yet settled into the digital world, who use the traditional medias like “hand written notes” for news.
The world will leave behind those who do not develop as quickly as the leading few unfortunately, no matter how easy/sweet/better life was considered before the digital age. The local community notice board will be around for many years, but will eventually be taken down as the last of these generations leave us, or when ‘notice-board funding’ is cut or something. Same goes for traditional ideas of many things we’ve considered the norm for decades, if not centuries. I mean, print media made the town crier redundant so why won’t my Facebook events tab kill off the hand-written invite?
I live in a world where my 80-something year old Grandmother owns and regularly uses an iPad but still writes hand-written letters to complain to restaurants. We’re seeing such a mixed bag of opinion when it comes to technology; most people don’t know where they stand about new innovations or even the ones that have been around for a while. We see Apple leading the battle against ‘plugging things in’ while the majority stands and laughs at the case of adapters the average newer-gen users have to carry around, but we all know that the wireless era is coming, and everything is about to get a little more convenient.
So, the point is, should innovation leave those unwilling to adapt in the dirt, stuck clinging to the dying and outdated? Should we let the new-tech naysayers laugh in their sleeves for a few months and laugh back when they come crawling because the ‘new’ became mainstream? Of course not, but it’s going to happen anyway.
We live in an age were a smart phone is considered a luxury by half the population and as a necessity by the other, where having a Facebook account is practically an indication you’re a real human for some but for others, it’s a scary new privacy-stealing world that they never want to explore. Unfortunately, the constant insults and judgement of young generations by the older, fuelled with nostalgia for a simpler time, will never cease from generation to generation, hundreds of years into the future. All we can hope for is a well-considered future, integrating the best of the old mixed with the new.
– Jenni Harrison