Every generation stakes its claim to things unique to its experience, and nowhere is this clearer than in technology. Younger generations will always be the early adopters, whether it’s Beatle wigs, the Rubik’s Cube or Instagram.The hallmark trait is that it remains uniquely theirs. Once something enters the mainstream and achieves popularity outside that age group, it hits an invisible wall that hermetically seals it off from any “it” factor it might once have enjoyed. I call this pivotal moment when something turns from “trendsetting” to “toxic” the Granny Point.
Social media is the generational battleground upon which Granny Points are established with alarming speed. There was a time when Facebook was considered the metric by which kids could measure both their popularity and parents their technological savvy. It hit the Granny Point years ago, however. My 85-year-old mother checks Facebook, for instance, if not necessarily willingly (it’s the only place she gets to see all the pictures of the grandkids we keep forgetting to send). When I ask my middle school students about whether they use Facebook, they look as if I’ve just asked them if they own tax-sheltered 403-B accounts.