Why I think Public Parts Ought to Include a Generational Focus

I'm looking forward to Jeff Jarvis' book, Public Parts. I'm really hoping that it's a book that convinces my mother – and her generation – that social networking isn't just a frivolous activity.

heads up: this is a pretty old post, it may be outdated.

Tonight, I asked Jeff Jarvis on Twitter if he intends to include cross-generational interviews/research for his in-progress book, Public Parts. To my surprise, he answered 15 minutes later, in the dead of night (east coast time difference and all), with an indication that he intends to look primarily forward.

Twitter shorthand and late hour  what it was, I presume that Prof. Jarvis meant that he doesn't intend to focus on the technological or sociological generational gaps, and will instead attempt to observe/predict how the future will unfold.

Though I primarily agree with Prof. Jarvis's thesis that publicity is the new default state, I would urge him to take a closer look at the generational problems. Based on personal, anecdotal, evidence that older generations – even people in my own millennial generation – I can say that society isn't comfortable with publicness.

The average lifespan in the US is 78 years and the most of the population is over 30. The majority of the population doesn't fall into Gen Y (which grew up with the Internet), nor the generation after us which doesn't remember cassette tapes, nor most of Prof. Jarvis' generation, that mostly, aren't as well adapted to the social implications of the internet.

Professor – I am pretty much sold on your thesis, but I'd predict that most are not. I don't think we can afford to wait 50+ years for those not acclimated to the Internet to be replaced by younger generations.

I'm eagerly looking forward to your book, even more so than the last. I am hoping, that you can make a case that my mother can understand and sympathize with. Without her generation's, we'll be waiting more than 50 years for your observations and predictions to become reality.

I don't want to wait that long.

The above has been a late night post brought to you by a tired writer who has stared at too much PHP all day. Please excuse the sloppiness.