November 9, 2009

What’s the story, morning glory?

What happened to old-fashioned communication?

What happened to old-fashioned communication?

Remember “The Telephone Hour” from the early 1960s Broadway show and movie Bye Bye Birdie? The song depicted a teenager talking to a friend on the phone, then that friend talking to another, and so on. This was — and may still be for many Boomers — the quintessential method of communicating. One friend tells another a story, and then a third friend hears it from the second.

These days, many Boomers communicate via Facebook — its fastest-growing demographic is people over 45. I have embraced Facebook myself. I enjoy catching up with friends and family, seeing photos, learning what’s going on.

On the other hand, “embrace” is not the word I would use with Twitter. But because I am in the marketing/advertising industry and always try to keep up with the times, I recently made a commitment to engage in the conversation. So I went to my local library and checked out The Twitter Book, which promised to deliver “a bunch of sensible, down-to-earth material on using and enjoying Twitter.” The book has me trying to wrap my brain around “hashtags” and “tools for tracking trends” while generating click-throughs and sharing photos with “TwicPic.”

So, even as I am unavoidably assimilated into the social networking generation, I ask: if Mad Men can devote 10 minutes to Bye Bye Birdie, why can’t we all just pick up the phone when we want to engage in “ambient intimacy?”