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Logan’s Run and Social Media

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This morning I see this wonderful video ECM-Its Similar to Logans Run from @ljseverson. Believe it or not I had this post in draft so I am pushing it out  before it is ready because I now know for sure “they are coming for me.”

In 1976  there was a cheesy sci-fi movie followed by a short-lived TV series titled Logan’s Run. Recently I found myself gaining a new appreciation for it as I took stock of my true place in the Social Media universe.

Here is the synopsis: in a post apocalyptic Utopian society people live intellectually dim but peaceful lives inside a protective dome. The problem is it is resource limited and they need a form of population control so at the age of thirty everyone “ascends” in a glorious psuedo-religious ceremony that results in their death and environmentally responsible recycling.

This story was so packed with thinly veiled social commentary that it is hard to figure out just who wasn’t a bad guy. Logan as one of the state police is sent under cover to infiltrate the resistance who only want to live outside and grow old (the horror). Upon discovering his future as fertilizer Logan decides on a career change from jackbooted enforcer to fugitive freedom fighter struggling to spread the truth.

One of the central themes was what would happen if we really bought into the idea from the sixties counter culture that you shouldn’t trust anyone over thirty. Satirical or not, we still have this argument today in technology and it is playing over and over again like a broken record. (yet another reference most of you won’t be able to relate to)

When it comes to social media I am starting to feel a little like Logan as I ask

  • Am I over the age limit for relevance for social media opinion and innovation
  • Am I a fugitive from the process enforcers trying to get the word out that there is life outside the process dome while paradoxically fighting to stay alive while the younger crowd tries to recycle me – a fate they  are doomed to experience themselves
  • Should I just give up and become an advocate for the establishment and live out my days as an admin disabling accounts and denying access to feel important. After all rules were put in place for a reason.

Not only are my children convinced I have no idea what I am talking about but business leadership is equally enamored with what the cool kids today are doing and rushing to emulate it.

What began as superficial interaction is now embraced as groundbreaking communication for no other reason than the fact that everybody is doing it.  Insert old tech reference here. Client Server, OOP, Agile, SOA, blah blah blah.

Texting, tweeting, and virtual relationships of Facebook substitute for real conversation, understanding of process and value of experience and somehow we assume these have business value. Maybe they do but asking the question in certain circles is the analyst’s equivalent to “Get Off My Lawn.”

Both sides of the argument devalue the other missing the point that real success is when new ideas are embraced and leveraged by the establishment to overcome competition. Experience and enthusiasm are not mutually exclusive.

The funniest thing to me is all of the recent college grads groaning about elder technologists haven’t noticed that in the remake of Logan’s Run (scheduled for release in 2012) – the age limit is lowered from 30 to 21 so even they are too old to be cool. I am just glad that thanks to my kids I have a stock of Chuck-E-Cheese tokens so I can buy off the new technology decision makers with a round of skeeball.

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4 Responses »

  1. I too can remember Logan’s Run…well before the series was in reruns and before we had a VCR in the family. I remember the female antagonist, Jessica, seeing an elderly man with wrinkles for the first time and asked, “What are those cracks in your face?”. Perhaps the trick in life is to not show your wrinkles.

    You are absolutely correct, both sides tend to devalue the other. I do think however the young tend to devalue the older crowd a bit more (I know I did when I was that age). The establishment has always made room for the young (and their new ideas)…so the young can become part of the establishment. That is the circle of life.

    Personally, I embrace the change. I enjoy seeing the end of the telephone and the decrease in usage of email as social media becomes embedded in business and society. But my eyes are beyond social media. I expect to get a kick out of seeing the look of today’s 20/30 somethings’ faces when their younger siblings decide to rid themselves of social media in the next decade. Just as Logan did I will adapt to the change because I’ve already shown that to be my strength. I know there are a lot of my colleagues that have already failed…but that was their choice. The real fun is about to start as the social media enriched Gen Y’ers don’t know what is about to hit them (but we do). The generation still playing little league today will either take a step back or take a huge leap forward and run circles around all those 20/30 somethings of today. It’s inevitable and I smile because I’m bored with social media and disappointed Generation Y didn’t bring more to the table. What’s next because isn’t there more than this?

  2. great comment – I have the what’s all the fuss about reaction too with social media because from a a technical level it is just not that interesting. Afterall as the name implies social media is not a technical achievement but a anthropological one. It is an integration of the technology into the fabric of human interaction so that the pathways for engagement through electronic means stop being something “apart” from who we are.

  3. Although your assessment on Social Media phenomenon is somewhat accurate up to the point, the importance of social media is somewhat underrated here although there might be some generational miscue out there. Don’t get me wrong, as far as the discussion of the generation gap according to the Logan’s Run theory, I would be already in the six feet under. However, although the merit of the Social Media is just an anthropological one as you correctly identified, the future of the technology may be completely unrecognizable to us of all whether you are in Logan’s predicament or not. It will be definitely and completely different from the current technology concept: it will be completely mashed up with social, cultural, or human behavior, we may not able to identify where the technology starts or ends. I can tell this by watching the way of my wife’s Facebook usage. Although she would be in Logan’s camp, she uses it to connect her contacts and friends otherwise unreachable. I strongly believe we are in a crossroad of the huge technological (r)evolution that we never experienced before. Oh, one thing I would suggest is that the sequel of Logan’s Run age limit should be further lowered from 21 to -21 to be accurate. Anyhow, the way you work now will be completely altered because the future of technology is going to be absorbed into the human behavior and we all can evolve into something new although whether it would be good or bad for us is another matter to consider. Inevitably, we Logan’s Run folks will consider the evolution bad, but those who are born now will see it as normal.

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