A strange thing happened early this year, I received the most unexpected request on Facebook and as we close out the first decade of the 21st century it inspired me to look back at the last 10 years and take stock of just how much our world has changed. As we entered the new millennium our fears focused on the Y2K bug and the issues related to coding dates as 2 digits as opposed to 4. Over the past decade broadband internet usage has grown exponentially, Apple introduced us to the i Pod in 2001 and since has sold over 220 million units worldwide. Research in Motion introduced us to the BlackBerry Smart Phone in 2002 and since has sold over 50 million units worldwide. Flash technology reached a point where it became possible to make video players and in 2005 YouTube’s website was launched. In 2004 we were introduced to Facebook and 2007 brought us the 140 character speak of Twitter, ultimately changed the way we communicate and engage with the world around us.
And while all of this technological advancement has been taking place around us it is not the only significant change or perhaps even the most dynamic one to occur. As a population we also became older. In 1999, the median age of Canadians was at 36.4 years of age, in the past decade that number has crept up to 39.5. Those between the ages of 45 and 64 now comprise almost 1 /3 of our entire population and if you account for those up to the age of 90 that number grows from 30% to over 40% of our population and as the Baby Boomers continue to enter into this age grouping those numbers will continue to grow. 1
Unsurprisingly, technology continues to evolve and change at a feverish pace, continually pushing the boundaries of limitation and challenging us to dream beyond today’s reality and into the possibilities of tomorrow. While younger generations tend to accept, utilize and ultimately master these new possibilities, technology’s very surge tends to leave the not accepting in its wake. In a sphere of “here today but gone tomorrow” those not willing to accept, utilize or even keep pace with the changes occurring around them, rightly or wrongly will inevitably become irrelevant or even archaic. And yet that has not and is not happening.
Today rather then allowing technology to define its users, technology’s users are defining it, understanding its value and embracing it for their own purposes. And that group that now represents approximately 40% of our population, surprisingly (or maybe not at all) they have embraced, defined and mastered today’s technology for their own purposes. Having virtually eliminated time and space technology truly allows people to stay connected with not only their closest friends and family but also those who live great distances away. It allows them to chat, share pictures and videos, share stories and understand not only what is happening in their backyards but also in the backyards of far away places. All the while defining how and when they use it.
Oh and that Facebook request, it was from my dad. After accepting it I simply asked him what took him so long!