Monday, October 19, 2009

What She Said

Jessie Newburn is a long time friend of mine. We’ve known each other since the early nineties. Back then she promoted herself as a Certified Grammar Goddess and her company was called Do the Write Thing. From leased office space in the old Oakland Mills village center office building, she wrote many a resume for Columbia professionals. These days she works for Nemetschek Vectorworks in Columbia.

Throughout the years she’s always been the quintessential Columbia girl with her fingers firmly on the pulse the community, not just through the eyes of her generation but with a perspective of generations other than her own.

This was clearly demonstrated in this excellent blog post she wrote yesterday.

Though it is a little uncomfortable for a Baby Boomer, albeit late Boomer, like me to read, it really speaks to the dynamics of social discourse. I found it to be particularly relevant to the current debate over the future of Columbia Town Center.

For the most part, those leading the opposition to change in Columbia and Howard County for that matter are predominantly from the Boomer generation. Take a look. You’d be hard pressed to find anything more than a token Gen Xer among their leaders. That’s not to say that the proponents of change are without their share of Boomers too. I guess you’d just have to say we’re more enlightened.

That should fire up a few comments.

Anyway, go ahead and read Jessie’s post and draw your own conclusions.


Bob O said...

Interesting blog post by Jessie. After reading your comment that she was a "Grammer Goddess" I was glad to see that she qualified her missive by saying she did not edit or fact check it. Whew! Sigh of relief.

This subject is well worth a master's thesis for somebody, but since I'm composting and sipping some Jacob's Creek, I'll just rattle off some words.

Her blog post is old news. This has been around for awhile. And, she makes the fundamental error of mistaking that bloggers want to partner or team with old-style media. The truth is, they don't. They actually don't give a hoot for The Baltimore Sun or WaPo, or the NYT. They're just doing their thing, and changing the world.

Interesting story. I consult for a huge multi-national corporation, which at one point three years ago had mandatory "transgenerational testing" for its employees. No, this had nothing to do with dressing up in your spouse's clothing, it was about relating to employees from the so called (soi dissant?) Gen X and Millenials at work.

Interestingly enough, the test was based on what communications and information technologies one uses, how often one uses them, and how one relates to others through them.

The results? They were pretty spot on for just about everyone. Boomers, Xers, and Mills were all nailed by it.

Me? I'm a Millenial.

Strangely enough, I was born in 1959.

Flexibility. Adapt, and overcome, babee.

I actually send more tweets then my kids do--although we text each other a couple of times a day.

See ya' in Second Life!

Bob O said...

Oh, btw I didn't edit or fact check my post, fyi.

How does this apply to discourse about governance and land use in Columbia and Howard County? Good question. I think there is a groundswell a'comin'. But I don't think it will want to move or live here.

Gotta run, time to play WoW.

JessieX said...

Thanks, Wordbones. Thanks for your kind words and for the link. This post I wrote on the culture war experienced mostly by Boomers and GenXers apparently has struck quite a chord: it's been one of my most-read posts in a single day.

Thanks, too, for providing the lead in our community in identifying the importance of time for the hoco bloggers to gather and connect, face to face. Your initiation of this need to know each other in person and not just digitally has helped create a kinder, more connected group of local bloggers. Thanks for providing the lead and direction on the formation of the Hoco Blogtale parties. Next one: Azul 17 in early November. Details coming. :-)

Sarah said...

Excellent posts by both you and Jessie.

I think the shift is also ideological, which might help explain some of the push of Gen X and Millenials to work side-by-side Boomers, and not under them, waiting their turn, so to speak. So much that the Boomers held dear (speaking generally, of course) has turned out to be less-than-good ideas. From an auto-centric existence to a desire for excess funded by credit to everything being made cheap and plastic in China, the pendulum is swinging back. Why should Gen X or millenials try to learn from the Boomers? They already have-- don't be like the Boomers.

Just my opinion, yours may vary :)

Sarah said...

I should add, for better or worse, and correctly or incorrectly.

Bob O said...

Interesting discussion.

Mainstream media? Freshen up your resumes.

I'd be more than happy to meet with ya'll. Email me at:

I find that providing doughnuts and bagels once or twice a week in the morning, and having a lunch together each week, seems to cross over all of these generational divides.

Do a sushi place every couple of weeks.

And who is responsible for this manufactured decimalization of people? Somebody must be making money off this. Hmmm?

Why can't we all just be?

I hope you take my point.