Generation Y: What are we good for? Absolutely nothing?

A simple enough question. How are we, as young people, perceived by older people?
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Throughout the average day, I consider the position of the Generation Y and Z and where we are as an entire demographic of people stand in modern society. Today is no exception, though the events of this weekend developed a perspective of which I have not considered before.

A simple enough question. How are young people really perceived by older people?

It's tricky, really. I cannot wholeheartedly with one-hundred percent clarity of knowledge and consideration understand how older people perceive either myself, or my entire generation, because I am not one. Simply put, I need to be told.

An email came through on Saturday from an older reader; a gentleman of the age of 71, with a keen knowledge of technology and a person of whom personal experience is clearly a valuable asset of his. He gave his opinion and frankly, I disagreed. I replied flippantly and thus the conversation evolved and crafted itself into a negative fashion.


Now more often than not, when you, the reader email me, I tend to respond. I do try, as not only do I feel it's good practice to communicate with others online (I am from the 'Facebook generation' after all), it also builds conversation and relationships with people of which, I will probably never meet but nonetheless are still important.

Why did I dismiss his opinions at first? Because it didn't align with my opinion of either myself or my generation. That was 'error zero', if you will.

It's the same argument that you would have if you had a Republican and a Democrat together. Both will oppose each other, yet there will still be dialog there to spur on the conversation but most importantly, the two couldn't exist without one another. You need one of something to give an opposing other. The economy wouldn't work if everybody was in credit; you need people who are in debt, too.

As the conversation rolled on, emails exchanged between myself and this older gentleman, it seemed that we managed to find a common ground. Actually, we were talking about Windows 7 and upgrading rights, in regards to one of my recent articles.

Suffice to say, by the end of the conversation we had ended on an amicable note and it felt, in my eyes, that we both thoroughly appreciated each other's views, and how important it is to communicate our opinions on especially deep-rooted beliefs such as politics or in this case, technology.

But it shouldn't have taken that long. It feels that not only myself, but many of the young'uns take to the streets with a headstrong attitude and are set in their ways. Our parents, our employers or older acquaintances may not understand or even fully appreciate our primary know-how or dependence on such things, it doesn't negate or cancel out their knowledge, understanding and more importantly, far greater experience.

Technology and communications are constantly evolving level carefully and crafted consumer perception taking a major stake in all of our lives. Everyone has an opinion, and no one opinion is more important or valuable than any other. The beauty of an opinion is that no one comment is unique, but they are all of equal standing.

My role here is to represent an entire generation of people of which I am a member of. While I feel it is important to listen to my, and I feel as a whole 'our' opinion, we as a generation should seriously value the opinion of those older than us. But it does work both ways, of course.

It's not a case of "you should respect your elders". No, it is a case of 'we are all people, and the older people have been around for longer, and while times have changed, you have seen a great deal more than the one view we have had as a generation born into the world of technology'.

It's not as catchy, I admit. But lessons are to be learned. Mostly by myself, which is what I enjoy most about writing here and reading your feedback, comments, thoughts and opinions.

We shouldn't be in a position where it causes rifts between 'the old' and 'the young'; we should be in a position where both sides are willing to sit, to listen, to share and to learn from each other.

Well that's my two penny-worth. By all means, have yours.

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