Grant McCracken: Douglas Adams On Generational Rhythms In The Adoption Of Tech

Grant McCracken: Douglas Adams On Generational Rhythms In The Adoption Of Tech

Thoughts from the late 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' author about how technology is assimilated.

Grant McCracken, Cultureby
  • 16 may 2011

Douglas Adams was the author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We have just passed the 10th anniversary of his death.

In 1999, when the internet was still being greeted with some suspicion in some quarters. (Hey, just a couple of years ago, a group of planners at a big agency were prepared to tell me that social media was just a passing fancy.) Adams wrote an essay that includes this wonderful passage that segments technology adopters by age:

Then there’s the peculiar way in which certain BBC presenters and journalists … pronounce internet addresses. It goes ‘www DOT … bbc DOT… co DOT… uk SLASH… today SLASH…’ etc., and carries the implication that they have no idea what any of this new-fangled stuff is about, but that you lot out there will probably know what it means.

I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:

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