When Your Parents Inherit "The Crazy"
Here we go, another long winded rant. As a millennial, we are fortunate to have seen the birth and rise of all the social platforms. From AOL Instant Messenger to having Tom in your top 8 friends on Myspace, we’ve seen it all. Even the excitement and explosion of Facebook friend requests that blasted higher than my blood pressure before my annual physical. We were blessed to learn the basics of social media as it grew from seemingly harmless networking to now the bane of internet’s existence. However, our parents were not nearly as fortunate.
All the nuances, decorum, and etiquette we learned from watching and participating in the evolution of social media has given us a set of skills. A set of skills that make us a nightmare for people like you.
The preceding generation was given no such learning curve. Thinking back, it is very clear how this general technology divide all began. It started with a rogue relative, who you adore, but has no chill when it comes to commenting. You post a photo of you and your significant other sitting in a hammock. Instead of a "like" or endearing comment, they take the road less traveled. They post a question about how your parents are doing, how school is going, or if you saw last night’s NCIS episode.
Annoying at first. Embarrassing even. Accepted, because they were new to the platform. We have to remember we were dabbling in social media when dial-up internet was still a thing. Pen pals and chain-letters didn’t quite prepare them the same way.
Our parents' generation was still an internet toddler compared to us. Remember when Facebook was by invitation only? Your status had “is” in the subject line. That exclusionary culture eroded quickly and the floodgates opened to all.
I believe social media has accelerated the generational crazy for our parents. Let me explain. When you were a young knucklehead you may have had a grandparent who you loved very much. Sure, they may have used outdated racial vernacular or smoked pervasively while sprinkling asbestos on their ketchup sandwich, but you loved them anyway. Your parents, for the most part, seemed normal.
Like Steve Guttenberg normal.
Your grandparents were the crazy ones because they were two generations removed from you. You grew up watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and at the same age, your grandparents were selling newspapers for a nickel and advocating for a child’s right to work. A different third grade experience for sure. (Ignore the lack of historical continuity).
Now, as millennials we are starting to see our parents make the transition and adopt the crazy. This is normal and organic except for how quickly it's happening. Oh and it’s all happening in public. It's been exponentially accelerated thanks to social media. Is there evidence of this? Well, mostly qualitative rather than quantitative. When I witnessed a clip from Day After Tomorrow being shared during the latest snowstorm as if it were real footage… I’d say that is worrisome.
Or a sincere belief Bill Gates is microchipping me with a vaccine. So much information and so little fact checking. This idea is similar to viral moments and campaigns that command the masses. Companies use these same tactics to sell products.
Hello Essential Oils. Good day Peloton. Bonjour Slap Chop.
Public school in the 90’s conditioned students to check the evidence, validate the sources, and cite everything. The previous generation ate plagiarism for breakfast.
Throw an entire generation a megaphone, polarizing election, and you get some crazy cocktail of backyard-barbeque-logic.
Enter the “share” button. Also known as the acid-reflux of the internet. If I see one more video of Joe Biden sniffing, I’m going to ram my q-tip into my brain. Yes, he’s a sniffer. But also, I’ve fallen victim of this too… just not since the very beginning. Oh the time I wasted thinking Lebron James was the Anti-Christ. Thank God there was no share button.
The idea that someone unearthed the “truth” from their butt-stank-tweed couch in bumble-f Poughkeepsie, is not worth thinking about. All of these videos are designed to be believable. Even if they are predicated on truth, that is how they work. This is what the viral moment wants, for you to believe just enough to hit the share button. Fueling your anger by posting or responding to an inflammatory post is exhausting to see unfold. And no one's mind ever changed because of a Facebook post.
Trust us, we're millennials; sometimes known as the Dick-Pic Generation. After a break-up, you can scrub your social media of your former flame all you want. Don’t be surprised when you later Facebook stalk them and see your mom is still commenting on their new photos… congratulating them on their new relationship.
Like I said, no chill.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not an indictment of our parents. Okay, maybe a little. Mostly this is yet another criticism of technology and the Skynet-level-influence it has over retirees. Our parents are destined to inherit the crazy role at some point, as will we eventually. Unfortunately social media has ignited that fuse much sooner.
When we were young, we could just warn our friends when our crazy relative would be coming by. You could embrace it for the Saturday family reunion and move on. Now the entire world can see when your dad starts retweeting Kevin Sorbo’s Italian fan page.
Don’t worry, I’m also aware of all the crap we millennials suck at. We, by and large, don’t like confrontation. We are less motivated than the previous generation. We don’t want to work as hard. We are pervasive job hoppers addicted to nostalgia and craft beers. It just so happens we have now aged into the category that believes we know more than our parents. Similar to how our parents viewed our grandparents in the 90’s.
Time to undercut my entire thesis. All that to say, this blog requires sharing and social media to survive. Instead of sharing a video of some faceless doctor talking about mineral oil, consider sharing our blog. We sure would appreciate it.
This whole post could have been summed up by one phrase: "Ok Boomer."