I was at work the other day when one of my colleagues was describing a phone conversation he had had recently with a younger person about some software. The software isn't important, because the sticking point came over terminology: in trying to describe a needed action, he had referred to the "carriage return." As in: "And now hit the carriage return." The kid didn't know what he was talking about. It's pretty comical, and kind of reminds me of those (apocryphal?) descriptions of tech support people having to describe what the "any key" is.
Typewriters have been dead for many years now as technology has marched on. That's fine with me. Yeah sure, I do have a tiny bit of nostalgia for that Underwood I used to own (can't believe I got rid of it), but that has more to do with the fact that I was 16 when I owned it. If I feel the need to back away from the computer, there is still that nice pad of paper and a pencil. Unplugging has its charms. Less distractions too.
These cultural collisions related to technological evolution are always interesting. They always make me wonder what people from previous centuries would think if they could see some of today's inventions. A few years ago a friend of mine commented, right after coming in from a brisk snowshoe jaunt, that the sound of Velcro (our winter gear was full of it) would have been unknown to somebody from the 19th century. True enough, though I don't think they would have been shocked at the fabric itself. On the other hand, things like smart phones would have totally blown them away.
I see other collisions going on nearly every day. As the younger (and more tech savy) generation moves into the workplace, you end up with workers who can feel hemmed in by an office culture that's not always so open to full-on connectivity.
Want to look at something on YouTube? I'm sorry, that's been blocked. Hey, can you quit with the texting and get that research done? To be honest, I don't really know how the kids feel about this stuff. Maybe Don Tapscott is right. Maybe the "digital generation" has a different brain structure, one that can make them multi-task like a mofo. I can't wait to see the status meeting of the future, everybody with their heads down, tapping away at their hand-helds.