Hey You, Get Off My Yard: Why Old People Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Write Book Reviews About Social Networking

Now, I’m not under 30, thank god, but this article came across the RSS wire. The original review was written by Richard Bernstein, a New York Times book critic and columnist at the International Herald Tribune. The article in question was about Mark Bauerlein’s new book, “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30).”

I’m going to add my opinion under each snippet.

“The great thing about the Internet is that it gives everybody an opinion and a venue to express it,” Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University in Atlanta, said in a recent phone conversation. “The bad thing about it is that it gives a venue to everybody with an  opinion.

“But one of the signs of maturity is to realize that 99 percent of the stuff that happens to you every day has absolutely no significance to anybody  else.”

Sure. But these are conversations I have every day with my friends, my parents. At least they are polite enough to just nod their heads and agree.

There are statistics to point to in this regard. A survey by the National School Boards Association indicates a very large number of students spending around nine hours a week doing computerized social networking and another 10 hours watching television. Other surveys show a majority of high school students doing an hour or less of written homework a  day.

There are lies, more lies, and damn statistics. I watch much less television than my parents. How come no one reports on that?

That’s a school problem. If the teachers aren’t giving out enough homework, then something’s wrong with the system. For that matter, there’s always been uneducated masses, and somehow there’s this assumption that everyone should be able to write like Nathaniel Hawthorne. That’s entirely not something I’m not interested in on any medium.

And then there’s Facebook and the other social networking devices that were created for young people – specifically at college campuses as a way for new students to be introduced to their communities – and have been adopted by older ones to do exactly what their children spend too much time  doing.

Language changes. People’s habits change. Networking changes.

Just because older people adopt it doesn’t make it bad: it just means the product management group of that site understands target audiences.

Some of us use the Facebooks, LinkedIns and MySpaces of the world for more than just reporting, “I think I’m going to eat corn flakes this morning” (which is close to the message I had for my activities for the day). It’s a way of connecting in the crazy world with some of our friends that is both professional and personal.

Social Networking has been around for as long as there were two people on this Earth, and just because the form is different doesn’t make it any less important.

It’s really up to us to take the tools of the day and teach our children how to use them more effectively. Right?