Like it or not, we’ve all emerged at this very specific point in time to share the rock. When it’s over, our time together will amount to a spec of dust on the timeline of history – but we’re here. Together. Sharing the air, the water and emerging technology. It’s kind of cool how we are all pioneers in this, the age of connectivity.

And yet, we’re as different in how we use the media, as we are different in age.

As far as I can tell, there are four main groups of us.

20-29 year-olds: These are the people who invented this thing. Before them, we were all chisling rock tablets to communicate. With a head full of hope and with a wide open landscape in front of them, this age group is the most restless of the bunch. Just don’t talk about things that happened before 1999, because they’re basically irrelevant.

OH in bracket: “One day the older generations will see. They’ll see!” (SHAKING FIST)

30-39 year-olds: There are two types of people in this bracket. The 30-34 year-olds who are shocked to have made it to 30, and who are beginning to realize that there is life yet to be lived. And the 35-40 year-olds who are deeply involved in their careers or their family, but rarely both, and often wishing that they had the opposite. This age bracket represents people who have had a hot spin around the track and who are now racing on stickier tires. Zoom zoom.

OH in bracket: “If only Klout would recognize my contributions at the office. Then I’d be beyond huge.”

40-49 year-olds: The most grateful bracket of the bunch. Most people in this group were promised jetpacks as kids and had to endure growing up during a time when people could smoke on airplanes. Connectivity to them is like hands-free repelling down the face of a jagged cliff. Committed to their careers or families, and often with both, this group is completely on board with the tools of social media but still believes that MTV plays music.

OH in bracket: “Do you think they’ll have an onion relish at the Tweetup? Maybe I should bring an onion relish.”

50-60 year-olds: These are the happiest people in social media. Sure, there are some in this age bracket who are bitter that the tools of connectivity weren’t discovered earlier, but don’t forget this is the same age group that brought the world disco. Happy-go-lucky and containing the wisdom of the ages, this group enjoys sunsets, strolls on the beach with golden retrievers, and singing Gloria Gaynor songs on Karaoke Night at the club.

OH in bracket: “I think Mashable might do a blog post on the social media knitting club I curate. I’m also contacting Leno’s people.”

Yes, it’s a great big beautiful world we share together, and we’re lucky to have each other. Because one day, we’ll all be gone. And yet, these random collisions we’ve made as the result of the technology we’re exploring together – will mean the world.


Jim Mitchem

The Ebb and Flow of Online Relationships
A Little Goodbye

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.