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Richard Laermer Headshot

Well Hello There, Generation WTF

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I'm not ashamed to say it: Mine was the first seriously cool generation. We are post-Boomer, and we had it all figured out. Everything made sense, we seemed to come along at the right time.

Fast forward a few (maybe quite a few) years; as we were getting settled that Gen X arrived on the scene. The X kids weren't anything truly special -- young adults who worked a long day, drank a longer night, talked about what they deserved all the time, and could easily manage a computer. Dirty little secret: Our group was a lot less boring than these dudes.

Generation X. Boring.

Then came today. What's going on? We have a bunch of 20-somethings who look everything up on Wikipedia b4 the question gets asked. All this free source living is fabulous yet it can't teach you what you need to know about the humanist side of things.

That's why Generation WTF is, according to them, unstoppable. Lest I sound like a crotchety old man (ROFLMAO...an emoti-acronym thrown in for the youngsters!), let me say I do know several WTFers super well, and work with them on a fairly frequent basis that's not without fun. I find the WTF phenomenon isn't a passing phase, either, since it is sticking to many workplace newbies.

Gossip Girl. WTF.

The new gen's We Came First stance is, yep, partially deserved. A ton of tech and/or social change has been proliferated during their short adulthood and these guys grabbed it by the ball-horns and owned it full stop. However, in the rush to instant expertise, WTFers often forget that the inventors of the stuff they use every single day were born in my time. Ahem.

You know it's true. All these ramblings arrived in me while I was wandering the streets of downtown Austin during the morass of youth at SXSW ("South By"). I looked around and saw WTF in every direction. And my thought was striking: The next time you snarkily call me "sir," how's about breathing a bit of context into your smarmy tumblr. update of your telling of the story?

Can you do that, kid? Can you?

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