When I was very small I was shaken awake by mother one Sunday night. She had urgent news for me.
“It’s wonderful. Wake up. Bird Dog is number one”.
She’d been listening to Radio Luxembourg and she was living proof that being old didn’t mean you couldn’t join in. Or was she? At that moment I wondered if the Everly Brothers were meant for me.
The recent controversy over social media this week made me think about age. The trouble is if you are in that quarter of the population over the age of 60 who are struggling to either comprehend the way to make it work or to come to terms with whether it actually matters, social media seems as hard to understand as the Sex Pistols were to our parent’s generation.
Much of the problem lies in the sheer inappropriateness of MPs and mature citizens, with their aching extremities, pretending they are young and trendy and merrily tweeting their passing thoughts. It also exposes the dangers of playing a game where you don’t really know all the rules.
As Daryll Scott the Creative Director of Noggin advised us: don’t try and join in because whilst it’s second nature to the young it’s not for you. You trying to be techno-cool is embarrassing, as embarrassing as a 60 year old trying to dance the invisible horse Gangnam style. After all do you remember watching your father doing the twist?
Enter 17 year old Jordan Hatch. Government is now advised by teenagers like him. We’ve seen him this week in his shorts and trainers talking very sensibly about websites. Someone who knows how to interpret fashion trends and predict what will be important and what won’t.
Many people say the world has been usurped by a conspiracy between technology and youth – that quarter of the population aged between 15 and 30. But beware they have discarded their laptops for their mobile phones and the social media they like and use are way beyond Twitter and Facebook. They’re Pinterest, Snapchat, Kik and Tumblr. Things are changing very fast.
But what is fashion and what’s sustainable?
What price the Washington Post?
Actually it’s $250 million. That’s what Jeff Bezos of Amazon paid for it. He has a brand that resonates with truth; a brand that’s been around for nearly 150 years; a brand that could link past, present and future handled right. (Look at the success of the Mail Online which is, now, the world’s most popular news site.)
The trick will be to do what happens in Dr. Who – regenerate every so often as the Mail has done.
So when they shake you awake now they’ll be saying.
“It’s wonderful. Private Eye Online has overtaken the Huffington Post. Honestly.”