Socially Aware

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When I was the age of my oldest son (11), the internet, smartphones and tablets did not yet exist and personal computing in general was slightly more than a thought bubble.

Those times were neither better nor worse. Simpler would be the best most appropriate adjective.

You couldn’t check Facebook, upload an image to Instagram, get food delivered online or have an Uber ordered through an app (hell, you didn’t even have a mobile phone) but then again you didn’t really need to.

The five largest companies by revenue in 1980 were Exxon Mobil, GM, Mobil, Ford, and Texaco.

Today, the five largest as measured by market cap include Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway.

That’s a fascinating changing of the guard. Hard to believe it’s only a 37 year span because it seems like a lifetime.

From railroads to steel to oil to tech, industries bloom, mature, lose their luster, then new ones overtake the old.

I have never been one to bemoan the changing of the times and complain that life was better when we were younger. I enjoy things from the 2010’s as much as I enjoyed things from the 1980’s.

It doesn’t really matter what your opinions or complaints are anyways. Life moves forward with or without your approval. Generations that follow don‘t really need (or want) your blessing either.

The one trend that I do wish would slow down a bit for the sake of future generations, mainly those just entering into middle and high school, is the overwhelming focus on social media and how it is being used and consumed.

To be clear, I am not against social media in any way – these are important tools that create opportunity, improve economies, and connect people, for good or bad, from all over the world. I am a bit of a heavy user myself.

I will say however that in this fast moving socially interconnected world, mistakes can be be amplified and exacerbated faster than ever before. In addition, kids making mistakes these days rarely get a “do-over”.

Mistakes are made – because that’s what kids do as they slowly spread their proverbial wings and move into their teen years and eventual adulthood – and then either get blown way out of proportion or spread uncontrolled and quicker than wildfire. It’s a tough gig and selfishly not one I would have wished on my childhood.

It is one of my bigger worries for my own two boys…especially my soon to be middle schooler who I am sure will be faced with his own share of challenges around social media in the coming years.

As a member of Generation X and someone has made his own share of past mistakes, I hope I can provide Henry the guidance and skill set he will need to navigate the murky waters of social media.

I have a feeling he and his fellow Generation Z members will need all the help they can get.

Matthew Achak

Matthew Achak is the Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of FCR. His role within FCR involves actively managing all company wide sales, marketing, business development, social media, public relations, client facing communications, and ongoing program growth. Founded in 2005 in Roseburg, OR , FCR is the most respected outsource provider in the industry.

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