We grew up in a world where something was cool for about 10 minutes then it was over, onto the next big fad. But now it seems like trends last about a minute and a half and it's over; about as long as it takes to create a new web page or download a song. What used to have longevity and last for weeks is over before it even begins.
I feel lucky because I got to see both sides of the spectrum -- the world before the technology invasion and the world after, where it's necessary to have at least five gadgets going at once, although sometimes it's not the brightest move to handle all of them while driving. Our generation didn't depend on iPads, Kindles and other forms, aside from the Game Boys and Disc-Mans. We didn't stay indoors because there was nothing to do unless it was raining and even then we were begging to go out if only to the porch.
But the kids today are so different, everything is centered around their tablets or iPods. They barely look up unless the place was on fire and even then, they still wouldn't budge from the screen. A big problem today is the video game violence that gives kids ideas about how to handle specific situations instead of using their words.
Here are some trends I've noticed that have drastically changed since I was a kid.
Today: Renting a Movie through Netflix or iTunes without ever having to leave the room.
Then: You'd actually have to get up, go outside and go to Blockbuster where you'd peruse movies and rent them for five bucks and then return them before they would charge late fees that cost more than the rental fee.
We live in an age of instant digital download and the ability to purchase entire albums through our computers and download them directly into our iPods and tablets. Literally sitting in a parking lot, you can pick, purchase and download the entire album within 60 seconds as long as the wi-fi holds out.
Then: Lining up with about 1,000 other people outside of a Sam Goody to be the first person to get the album for that one song that was beaten to death on Top 40 radio and we'd even overplay the song, for hours on an end until our parents literally got sick of the album and were forced to play and seek with it to get some peace.
Today: We get our movies directly streamed without ever setting foot into a movie theater. We can actually download a movie the night before it's released theatrically and nation wide. The download even costs the same as going to the movies.
Then: After a movie was released in theaters and it either bombed or was a success, you had to wait for months for it to be released into either VHS or DVD and it wasn't released into a thin box. It was about the size of a large envelope and there were no special features on the DVD -- you got the movie and ratio aspect, that was it.
Today: We have iPods, tablets, kindles, blue ray players -- all sorts of ways to play back movies at any moment and it's so easy to transport at the drop of a hat. There's no cause for boredom anymore because how can you be, with 38 Gigabits at your finger tips?
Then: We had Game Boys, Portable DVD players and Disc-Man's -- all required an investment in batteries but always seemed to die the moment the car left the driveway, the Disc-Mans seemed to have a long live, you could literally drop it from a height of seven feet and it wouldn't break. I know this because my cousin did this experiment off the garage and it not only survived but continued to work as if it never been dropped.
TODAY: We can pick and choose what internet programs we want and customize them to our exact preference. We can change the format and place our favorite sites as a banner. Wi-fi is everywhere and we never have to worry about paying for internet.
THEN: We had two programs to choose from and they both involved tying up the phone line. Signing on to early AOL, it sounded like a cartoon and sometimes when you connected, you could actually become a third party in a phone call and eavesdrop and if someone left the phone off the hook, it was a race against the clock to fix it so you could get into your Instant Messages with random strangers over random things -- like Facebook groups except it is more safe and you are more cautious of what you share.
BOY BAND BREAKUPS
TODAY: Teen idols have been getting into trouble since the beginning of time and boy bands have been breaking up even earlier than that. Because of that mentality when a boy band comes out with some new fantastic song, everyone takes a bet on which member is going to split from the group, who's going to rehab, and who's going to be arrested. Boy bands literally come and go at the snap of a finger but we don't seem to care as much because as soon as one leaves the scene, there's another on the horizon.
THEN: We never imagined our favorite boy bands breaking up, for us it was devastating because we didn't have as much access to them as teenagers do today; our access was limited to magazines, books and merchandise. I remember when New Kids on the Block broke up, I was like seven or eight and it was as if I had lost a member of my family; I grieved for days. I never imagined that nearly 20 years later they'd be getting back together and continually going back out on tour with other boy bands of our teenage years.
SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS:
TODAY: Kids today don't want to sit through a 90 minute cartoon that doesn't involve some Zombie, Vampire or Bratz Doll. Even Barbie doesn't catch a break. Little girls are all about the Monster High or Disney Princesses. It's the same characters over and over again in more expensive outfits.
THEN: We were all about the Looney Tunes and Saturday morning line up from 6am to noon. It was nonstop cartoons... all sorts of different characters, including a group of misfits at recess, hero saving Ninja Turtle, a creature that went bump in the night and singing raisins from California. It was all about different characters and concepts.
TODAY: If it isn't on a computer or on a video game console, the new generation isn't interested in going outside and playing without some sort of device attached to their hands. To remove a device and take it way, it turns into the Exorcist, complete with head spinning and foaming at the mouth.
THEN: We played all sorts of games using our imagination. We created characters and imitated TV characters. We took DIY and made the best of it. We made forts, rode our bikes, pulled some incredibly stupid stunts way before the guys from JACKASS ever thought about it. It was fun just being around other kids who were willing to be just as stupid.
I hate to sound older than my age but if you look at our parents generation, whose technology was limited to color TV and record players. We really had the advantage. We came up in an era just before technology exploded and created this whole new medium including social media so there was no pressure. It was the absolute perfect time to be a kid and sometimes I wish we weren't as advanced as we are.
Ferris Bueller said it best. "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around, you might miss something."
What sort of trends do you see today that are different from the ones we grew up on? Is there a specific trend that has stood against the test of time? What sort of trends would you keep or get rid off?
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