The question is more rhetorical than providing an answer. Every generation disrupts the patterns of the one before. You only have to think of the way that music has evolved or the way that the pill revolutionised sexual freedom, to know that it is in the nature of humans to push boundaries and to disrupt order.
But what of books?
All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine. ~ Jim Rohn
I work with and see many people in my age bracket – the over forties (loosely classified as baby boomers and generation X), who are recording their work and experiences for others to share, but also to leave a legacy, through books, both digital and print. One of the things I am most pleased about in this digital age is the way in which we can put our ideas out there so easily and be in control of how we leave our thoughts. What I also adore is that despite digital books making it quick and easy to publish, there is nothing quite like the feel of your printed book in your hands.
But I digress.
When I was growing up the Internet as far as I was concerned didn’t exist, I consumed books, I devoured stories and I created adventures under blankets thrown over the washing line or inventing kingdoms in the woods.
Without having children and undertaking no research, I can’t tell you what today’s young ones do. If you are a parent – tell me, do your young ones consume and devour books or are they wedded to their computers skimming content, searching for the next quick digital experience?
Digital gives almost instant satisfaction, you can create new content in minutes from the insight and comments left in long trails from blogs to videos. It seems to me that we want to be more in control and to be able to customize our content than ever before. Is creating our own digital experience container on the web akin to my messy bookcases, creaking with books in allsorts of sizes, colours and weird titles?
I can remember sitting in my nans house, watching black and white versions of Corrie and the news. With only four channels, hopping around like my family does today wouldn’t have delivered much. So the trusty book was always a handy back up.
Even us boomers and gen Xers race around the Internet looking for quick fixes of content, I am an avid fan of Facebook and Google Plus, where connecting to my friends and peers is short, sharp and entertaining. When I want to know how to do something quickly I go to YouTube. If I want some creative inspiration, I flick back and forth, quickly scanning information, never staying for long in any one spot. I read digital books, or should I say I peruse them. The way that I get the most pleasure from books is still to hold them in my hand, feel the paper. smell the print and loose myself in well crafted words. Books unlike digital content, books remain a multi sensory experience and despite taking up space, are for me a vital part of life. They are created from fire and passion and unlike digital ignition fuel are long burning and delicious.
If these millennials (generation Y) are the people that are going to save us, then I for one want to see them leaving their legacies in books – both print and digital. Who knows, the next generation might have found a way to make paper without killing trees. Or as in the program Revolution the electricity may be turned off and then what?
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~ Benjamin Franklin