Thursday, September 12, 2013

The m-Generation!

What do you think the "m" here stands for? Am I talking about the "Millennial Geneation," or "The Multi-tasking Generation," or maybe it's the "Mobile Generation." If you guessed mobile, you think like me. 

Generations change and with every change, there comes an improvement, or at least that's what we hope for. Let's take a quick trip back to the future and see how we have changed. The Generation X, those of us born between the 1950's and 1980's, were the ones who as children played on the streets and relished street food without worrying about the level of bacteria in it.  Our teenage saw the birth of Pac Man and enjoyed the intelligent humor from Looney Tunes to Tom and Jerry. As adults we had memorized the phone numbers of all our friends and knew how to read a map and find our way around without any satellites guiding us.  We had no video games, or iphones or ipods and yet had a very full filling and enriching life. A life that taught us to survive with the bare minimums. Today those Gen Xers are parents to what I call the m-generation or the "Mobile Generation." 

A 5 year old today may not know how to write the lower case letters or read fluently, but they know how to swipe a finger, enter a password, find the App store and download an app. An app, which in turn promises to teach them to read and make them smarter. If this blogpost was an Excel spreadsheet, it would give me an error message saying "circular reasoning." 

The rattles and baby blocks have been replaced.
I am not against the technology however I do have a problem with telling kids to master typing when they are still learning how to write cursive properly.  The logic in all this, "these kids are never going to write like the old times, by the time they grow up, it will all be voice activated."  I agree, it will be voice activated, but to me that's like telling a child, why learn how to ride a bike, when you're going to be driving a car anyway.  

I know many of you will scoff at this ideology and that's okay. We all are entitled to our opinions, and I continue to believe that basics cannot be replaced. It's old school thinking, but holds merit. Learning to write or ride a bike is not only about learning the basics, but also about developing the fine motor skills. The human body adapts itself very quickly to the changing environment. Our brain cells learn to fire the signals differently, so as we get more technology enslaved, there will be a shift in how the neurons interact.  

Very often the proponents of technology tell us that we can shut down technology whenever we want to. True we can, but what they don't know is that the use of technology also trains our brain to think differently.  The smart phones today have the power to enslave us. We don't control technology, it control us.   If you disagree with this statement, you either don't have a smart phone or are in denial. There are very few of us, who have the will power to shut it down and let it stay shut. 

The mobile generation today allows the cell phone to be the command central of their lives. The ratings on yelp decide the restaurants, the likes on Facebook make or break their day and the video on Khan academy is a more trusted source than the traditional math book.  This generation is also a generation of undisciplined thinking and one that needs instant gratification. With internet browsing getting faster and more efficient every day, the need for patience is diminishing and the desire to multi-task is increasing, with not much improvement in productivity. 

Do I have technology in my own home? You bet, I do.  However, I am the odd parent who still insists on penmanship with my kids. It's a balance I think. One has to draw the line some where. 
We can today watch a movie, chat with friends, order our textbooks all at the same time and by a small 4-inch held device called a smart phone. How we use our smart phones today has become an extension of one's personality.  

While researching on the topic recently, I came across an interesting article Mobile Revolution Killing British Manners. We all are familiar with the formal British manners, the art of greeting, meeting is now being replaced by the art of tweeting and texting. Though I don't think its a problem unique to British. It's happening everywhere. Only difference, cultural differences make it more acceptable in the USA. Britain on the other hand has always prided in its formal etiquettes so the incapability of the m-generation to do so draws attention.  

As I write this post, I say to myself, is the situation really that gloomy? Are mobiles really that bad? The answer is no, they are not. The mobile in itself is a very useful tool. The introduction of the iPhone has been nothing short of a revolution, the problem is us. We the people have chosen to let the mobile dominate? Why do we need to check our Facebook messages even before we get out of bed? Why does a like on Facebook bring a smile on our face?  Why do we have to watch that episode on YouTube, so what if you missed an episode or two of your favorite show.

The addiction is in us and not the phone. Yes, mobile addiction cases exist and have opened up a whole new field of specialization :). Internet withdrawal symptoms is a reality today. 

The singular mobile has infinite possibilities and has created a seismic shift in how we think, work and socialize.  It has allowed for flexible working, has made radical changes and improvements in healthcare, has removed redundancies in finance, eliminated the geographical boundaries and thus allowing for global business models. On  personal level, it has connected us to the world like never before. 

The smarter Gen X are recognizing the trend and joining the band wagon. They are today up to speed with technology, use it effectively at work and to monitor their kids too. Yes, you can do that. But you have to be a step ahead of the game like this parent was How I used Samsung phone spy software to track my teenager?  Would you do it?  Be honest! 

The mobile is here to stay. It's not going anywhere. In fact with every passing year it will only get smarter and more capable of controlling us.  Don't be afraid. Man made mobile, so it cannot be smarter than the human brain. All you have to do is, shut it down every once in a while.  

And mark my words, the day is not far, when one smart entrepreneur will reinvent the art of writing and make millions by doing so. 
The feel of crisp paper and the joy of writing with a fine instrument cannot be replaced by a few keys . 


  1. I belong to X generation, with a mindset that mobiles are useful tools but then its not always required to live ones life!!! we can surely be better off without it too!! Maybe the quality of life would be much better without it - Many of my friends would disagree with this statement of mine but i say this from my own experience! My life was much better till the day i got a MOBILE!!
    Today's generation is spending more time looking to their mobile and their mind is blocked with the thoughts induced by what they see on mobile....thereby decreasing their thoughtfulness and logical power!!!
    Technology should be used to the extent by which it can help increase ones efficiency and not to the extent where it starts ruling you!!!!
    We still have time to save ourselves.....I have started acting on it...have U????

  2. I'm also generation X, the old school thinking, does hold merit, but rather then "Old School" I'd like to say NEW School. I say this due to the lack of the basic skills ,such as writing with pen and paper, sadly it is NEW to those born with in the last 5 years or so. I'm a grandmother of many, ages 1-14 and most do not know how to even hold a pen. Schools are sitting them in front of computers ,rather then handing them paper and pen.

    I'm also in a business, that is mostly dominated by Generation M, and I have found that work edicate is gone. Not answering emails, or being rude in a email because they can. Generation M has no accountability in this area, because there is no fear of face to face personal interaction.

    I see my grandchildren, have no imagination, they cannot seem to play with non computerized toys, for very short periods of times. Hmm it makes me wonder if "Toy's R Us" knows that, but is hoping the parents won't figure that out and stop buying useless toys that get tossed in the corner in lou of the video games?

    With my children the phones are their life blood and extension of themselves. I do enjoy the technology myself , but I think the key word is BALANCE….