The Other Boomers Get A Social Network

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If you didn’t know there was a Generation Jones, you’re not alone, and those of this generation are not alone either – a new social network called Boomj.com aims to connect them, ridding them of the more ominous moniker, "the lost generation."

The Other Boomers Get A Social Network
The Other Boomers Get A Social Network

The label is the brain fruit of social commentator (the title given him at Wikipedia) Jonathan Pontell, who theorized there is a generation between the Baby Boom generation that proliferated at the end of World War II, and Generation X, which has been traditionally marked by a sudden slowing of the birth rate (and a general sarcastic malaise that generational theorists said meant we lacked a real identity, hence the X label, as they didn’t know what to call us…there’s a pattern emerging, I think).

For quite some time, these generations have been marked by the birth rate, with Boomers born between 1944 and 1965, Xers between 1965 and 1979, Generation Y(a.k.a. The Millennials) beginning about 1980, when birth rates spiked again.

(There are numerous names, though, as no one seems to be able to define any of these generations with absolution. Instead, they are divided into ever-increasing, often self-defined, subsets, some calling themselves the MTV, Echo Boom, or Internet Generation, unless of course, they’re one of the Indigo Children, which are a different group altogether.)

But Pontell and his Generation Jones (which automatically conjures up a generation of addicts – they’re jonesin’ for…) say that birthrates are not a good enough differentiation for identifying generations because of the cultural identities that exist within each of them. By cultural identity, he seems to mean pop-cultural identity.

Boomj.com draws the line this way:· 

Baby Boomers were born 1942 to 1953; we associate their youth with Howdy Doody, Davy Crocket hats, and later, Woodstock and Vietnam War demonstrations.

Generation Jones, born 1954 to 1965, is a newer concept and name that represents the actual children of the sixties (more wide-eyed than tie-dyed); Jonesers were weaned on The Brady Bunch and Easy Bake Ovens and later were the teens of 70’s heavy metal, disco, punk and soul.

The Boomj social network aims to provide a place for "Jonesers," who’ve been "mistakenly lumped in with Boomers," to connect based on "shared formative experiences," rather than head counts.

It makes sense on certain levels – my father and his younger brother grew up in completely different times – and on others, it seems both unnecessary and a concept invented to market to this group. But if there is identity to be found for an entire lost generation that hasn’t been found thus far (it’s only been 50 years), then far be it from me to keep them from it.

However, in practice, there is no end to the divisions we could make among the generations of the post-WWII era. There is a disconnect between my sister and me as she was one of the earliest Gen-Xers and I one of the latter. She’s all hair-bands and jax and I’m all grunge and Nerf.

But doesn’t it seem silly (and somewhat arbitrary) to define ourselves by what was being marketed to us at the time? Maybe I don’t want to be a Gen-Xer. Maybe I’d rather be part of the Thunder Cats and Transformers Group, and my sister can be a member of the Lawn-Darts-They-Tried-To-Kill-All-Of-Us Generation.

Is my future stepson, then, a member of Generation Xbox? The Celebrity Cult, or Generation Emo?   

I don’t suppose it matters, and if this group feels, half-a-century later, that it has gone undefined for all this time, then I wish them luck on settling that via the Internet.

The Other Boomers Get A Social Network
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  • http://www.cyber-key.com M.-J. Taylor

    >>There are numerous names, though, as no one seems to be able to
    define any of these generations with absolution.<<

    Absolution? I believe that’s something conferred by a Priest upon a Penitent … as in remission of a sin …

    I know you have meant ‘with absolute clarity.” It was pretty funny, though, if you meant it as a double entendre …

    As someone on the cusp of both generations, (born in late ’53), I did appreciate the article.

    M.-J. Taylor

    • Jason Lee Miller

      Originally, while pounding it out, I used the word without thinking because it seemed to fit. I did a double take and had to review my religious vocabulary, and once I remembered what absolution was, I thought it somewhat (admittedly a stretch) apropos. So I left it there, hanging on the page like a wart, wondering if anybody would notice, call me out, or get the joke.

      You did all three. Nice work.



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