Social Media & The Generation Gap

I’ve deliberately avoided joining Facebook for as long as possible. As an analyst, I harbored a good deal of distrust for that company and its attitude toward privacy. In effect, many of the company’s executives don’t seem to feel people deserve or need to have any privacy. I think there are two reasons for this; one reason is a generation gap. Many people under thirty live their lives on the web. The second reason is that Facebook makes more money if more people’s valuable info is available for advertisers.

Having sworn off Facebook, I found my publisher pushing me to join so I would have more of a web presence. I finally joined and began adding connections to friends and relatives. What struck me was how my old high school group reformed right before my eyes. First one, then a second and third, and then finally virtually the entire group re-established links, including hard-to-find women who had given up their maiden names and thus could not be found via any search engine.

At the same time that people like me join Facebook and begin tweeting on Twitter and establish blogs such as this one, younger generations are swearing off Facebook and even Twitter and moving to other platforms such as Instagram. I’m amazed at the time and effort one 13-year old spends sending out Instagrams. The number of Instagram followers becomes a badge of honor for people such as her.

I think younger people don’t want to be associated with a social network where the older people have taken over. Who wants their mother reading their Facebook page? So, they have gravitated to other social media where the response is even more immediate than with Facebook.

I imagine a time not too far from now (putting on my old analyst/futurist hat) when people under twenty will communicate via Internet chip implants that give them instant access to each other. Scientists are pretty close to translating brain activity into thoughts and words. Imagine simply thinking a message to your friends. The advantages include privacy since your parents can’t look over your shoulder at your screen and instant access.

Imagine now what happens if the web goes down. Suddenly kids will find a overwhelming, frightening silence enveloping them. Without any voices in their head (the subject of an unpublished novel I wrote), the silence will be disorienting.

High school is the most intense emotional period in most people’s lives. Many people never get past high school when it comes to their feelings of self-worth. Sociologists note how when people come together for a high school reunion, they immediately re-establish their old cliques which means there are insiders and outsiders. The former cheerleaders and football heroes basque in reflected glory while the nerds feel like nerds again even though they might have founder stock in Intel or Microsoft and can buy anything in the world they want.

Now it’s possible to recreate high school without having to travel to a reunion. No wonder Facebook is becoming so popular with the older generation while younger people are gravitating to other social media.

ET is Alive and Living on the Moon

I’ve been doing research lately for my next book, a science fiction thriller that also has some inter-species romance. For years I’ve heard of crazies who claim there are Government conspiracies and aliens on the moon. I always lumped these people with the other conspiracy nuts, the ones who believe in black helicopters, Big Foot, etc. After reading hundreds of articles I suddenly stopped laughing.

You have to understand that I spent twenty years as a technology analyst. My job was to sift through tons of data and come up with useful information. I was very good at what I did. So, I began sifting through all kinds of Government reports, eye-witness reports, and even statements from ex-astronauts.

Do you know that short-wave enthusiasts managed to record conversations by astronauts on the moon when they went off the public airwaves? They reported massive structures and alien spacecraft. They also reported being shadowed by alien craft in a not so friendly fashion.  Did you know that ex-astronauts as well as ex-NASA employees have complained about being muzzled by the Government when it came to talking about extraterrestrials? Did you know that President Kennedy proposed we join forces with the Soviet Union in a common space effort during the height of the cold war?

Even more revealing are the photos and movie clips that NASA has claimed it lost. Every time a scientist points to what looks like a suspicious object on the Moon or on Mars, NASA responds that it is just an optical illusion. Then, suddenly, the original film clips disappear.

The word among UFO believers is that aliens are involved in major mining operations on the Moon. They even point to disturbing pictures from Mars, including the famous face and pyramid-like structures. An ex-astronaut indicated that it became clear that the aliens did not want people from Earth coming too close to their operations. Since the first couple of visits, we’ve steered clear of the Moon.

Have the aliens contacted Earth’s first world governments and proposed terms for living together in peace? Rumors persist that President Eisenhower met and negotiated with some aliens. I’m not sure of that part, but there are much too many outlier data points to assume the U.S. Government is telling the complete truth. Some scientists have begun referring to NASA as an acronym for “Not a Straight Answer.” That appears to be pretty accurate a description.

One choice is believe the U.S. Government that all the pictures NASA has lost are merely incompetence even though these same scientists were able to launch rockets that landed and returned with pin-point accuracy. Similarly, the Government claims that all the UFO reports have failed to pan out. Think of that assertion and remember that many first-hand reports are from military veterans as well as from seasoned pilots.

Years ago a think tank wrote a report that concluded that there would be mass hysteria if people discovered there were aliens. Organized religion would be hard hit, particularly those denominations that stress that Man is made in God’s image. People would react much the way they reacted when they heard a recreation of H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds and thought it was a real news report.

So, maybe the Government is trying to prepare the population for the inevitable announcement. Think of how gay marriage finally became socially acceptable in most states. Hollywood started off by showing positive images of gay people. First they were pleasant but peripheral to the main stories, the good friend or the loving brother. Later Hollywood began producing shows where gays were lead characters and avoided stereotyped roles. Think of the recent Transformers movie that included Transformers on the moon. Now imagine a steady diet of extraterrestrial movies that soften the public’s fear of the unknown. While I doubt we’ll ever see such a lovable alien as ET, we’re bound to see more positive than negative images.

So, think like an analyst the next time we have a controversy over reported UFO sitings or NASA film clips that seem to show objects too regularly shaped to be naturally formed. What are the odds, for example, of film clips of Mars that showed round, square and triangular objects that we’re told occurred naturally? If the Government’s explanation seems too contrived, it probably is lying and holding back information the public is entitled to know.