From the dawn of time, people have organized in groups: for survival, for security, for strength. We are, at our primal roots, a fundamentally gregarious species.
And so for untold years, mankind sought out others and formed groups, small and large. That’s remained the basic pattern until last century when we hit an anomalous behavioral bump. During the roughly quarter-century stretch between the late 70’s and the turn of the Millennium, our group tendencies abruptly waned with the advent of the Me generation. Suddenly greed was good, everyone was looking out for number one and Faith Popcorn grew famous on her notion of cocooning. It was all about the Me; what’s in it for me? What do you got for me? We were a nation bowling alone. And it was good…kinda.
Ultimately, the Me generation was not sustainable, given human nature’s predisposition for congregation and cooperation. And that truth fueled the remarkable and remarkably rapid ascent of social media; a revolutionary phenomenon that quickly and completely changed America’s behavior. And not just the behavior of younger “digital natives”- – the 35-54 year old demographic adopted and occasionally dominates Facebook, Twitter and of course LinkedIn. Technology has proven a boon for helping us re-connect with friends, acquaintances and co-workers on our own very specific, very personal terms. We don’t have time for a phone call discussion, so we text. We didn’t get to the drugstore so we send an e-card to the birthday boy. We learn about vacations, births and job changes via status updates. And through it all we connect, even if it’s no deeper than a headline. We maintain a sense of community on our schedule.
Call this the We/Me Generation; Social Engagement on our terms.