Generational Musings – No Thanksgiving Leftovers

By Sean Dowdall, General Manager, Landis Communications Inc. (LCI)
Sean Blog
This year we traveled and visited family for Thanksgiving. It was a perfect holiday setting in the forest and the dinner was amazingly delicious. But, because we traveled, we didn’t have a supply of leftovers to enjoy for the weekend. So what would then be the natural thing to do for dinner on Black Friday? Go to the neighborhood sushi bar, of course.
The sushi place recently relocated just a couple of doors down from an old Victorian storefront to a brand new condo building. The place is ultra-hip and sleek with dramatic lighting. We chose to sit at the corner of the bar counter. The couple next to us was just finishing up and within minutes, a threesome replaced them. Pleasant hellos were exchanged and we all knew the proximity of the seating arrangement would prevent any conversation from being private.
Not too many minutes later, the threesome started talking about generations, what age defines Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials and Baby Boomers and what makes these generations different other than age? It turns out one woman was Gen Y and the other two Millennials. Ms. Gen Y had the most knowledge (most of it accurate – at least what I could overhear), but the Millennials had many questions. They wanted to know how they are different from older folks. So out came the phones – theirs and ours!
I used my phone to do some quick research about generational differences regarding online and social media usage. It turns out there are some things one would expect and some surprises. For instance, younger generations prefer mobile, use emails less and rely on text. Older generations do more research across different sources and like using desktops / laptops.
The private conversation turned into a nice exchange about the topic of generations. I added some firsthand insight about Baby Boomers. I then told these new dining companions about the Greatest Generation – those living through the Depression and World War II. Surprisingly, they had not heard that term before. One of the Millennials looked it up on her phone. We chit-chatted for a few more minutes about what we all did for Thanksgiving and then our conversation died down.
Rather than differences, we instead found our cross-generational commonalities; we all like sushi, use phones to find facts and fill in dinner conversation and none of us had any Thanksgiving leftovers.
Thoughts on generational differences? Leave a comment below or email Sean at [email protected]

8 thoughts on “Generational Musings – No Thanksgiving Leftovers

  1. Thanks for the blog Sean! It’s always fun to be part of a conversation with people from different generations, and from a marketing perspective it’s essential to understand how to best reach your target demographic. Sounds like marketing for sushi should focus on mobile ads!

  2. Sean, I always love meeting new people – what a great story. Thanks for the thought-provoking question about generations. I notice that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still like to connect “voice to voice” over the phone, where Millennials seem to hardly ever make old-fashioned phone calls. I also know several people in their 40s who swear off Facebook, only to return, then swear it off again. It’s an interesting commentary on a generation who did not grow up with social media, wants to stay current, yet struggles with how to fit it all in and use time wisely. But what I love most about your Thanksgiving story is how we can always find something we all have in common, across all generations, and enjoy each other. And that’s what Thanksgiving is all about!

  3. Great piece, Sean! I think a great survey idea would be to find out how many people are switching to “friendsgiving” celebrations rather than the traditional family time that’s been the focal point of this holiday for decades. Though some people tend to dread spending more time together with their families than they need to, a friendsgiving is almost always a guaranteed good time.

  4. Sean, I think about how to best work with the digital age quite often. Being a Baby Boomer, my childhood had tvs with tubes, dial phones, letter writing, library books, board games, and records! I had to go to the library, even in college to do research (card catalogs).
    When preparing Thanksgiving dinner I had the Internet as assistant cook. Digital music…but what did we listen to…rock from the sixties! Then we could play Scrabble online, but you being younger helped me update my IOS, Netflix streaming for entertainment.
    The digital age has invaluable assets…but being a BB I always feel like I am overwhelmed and ever behind. Younger generations take it all as a given. Yet, I still seek quiet and Nature’s solitude and beauty. I say all generations should find value in all things…don’t limit yourself by choosing the digital over Nature or Nature over the digital!

  5. I enjoyed that blog! Sean is a very good writer. On a similar topic about inter-generational communications, I had dinner with the 22-year-old daughter of my friend Joel well last night. She doesn’t even have an email address -she only texts. She is a mature young woman whose goal is to bring Palestinians and Israelis together through spiritual growth programs in Tel Aviv. I actually thought after talking to her that her generation may in fact be able to resolve what our generation has botched in the Middle East. Although she was very idealistic I also know that hard nose approaches certainly haven’t worked.

  6. Loved the post, Sean. I’m glad you had such a positive discussion on generations – it’s usually such a debatable and heated topic. Glad it turned into a learning experience for everyone.

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