Generational Shift in Habits and Hobbies

Danny Meyer
Danny Meyer

As for hobbies, entertainment, and pastimes, seemingly the preferences in this modern day are posting, spending time in chatrooms, and commenting on social media updates.

This includes sharing and swapping information, jokes, and video clips on social media platforms and downloading films.

Or playing computer games – all hours of the night and day – with others residing in far-flung parts of the world.

Observing how youngsters act or behave in a formal or informal setting – be it in a lecture hall, restaurant, or when they are supposedly socialising – can be quite revealing.

It seems they are constantly distracted by an incoming posting, or engaged in typing a response about something or another on their device.

Youngsters are swiftly becoming experts in mastering the use of electronic gismos and gadgets for such purposes, so this behaviour is widespread and even the norm.

I may be wrong, but that is the impression older people have of the new way of the socialising and pastime preference of younger people.

One wonders if they ever talk to each other.

When there is such a significant generational shift in habits and hobbies, or likes and dislikes, viewed from a business perspective, there are bound to be winners and losers.

Clearly social media firms, enterprises manufacturing electronic gadgetry, and gaming designers are the big winners.

Traditional forms of entertainment as we know it, including cinemas, youth clubs, discos and libraries, are among the losers – so too the print media and book publishers.

It seems that book fairs, literary festivals and book launches nowadays appeal to a diminishing audience.

Routinely attending such events, one observes that the book lovers, readers, and writers comprise mostly of grey-bearded and silver-haired oldies.

Unlike in the days of my youth, youngsters now constitute a small percentage of the audience.

Although few were in attendance, a book launch last week would have captured the attention of every youngster who usually has his or her face glued to the screen of a smartphone.

The renowned writer Greg Mills was in Windhoek to launch his new book, ‘Rich State, Poor State. Why Some Countries Succeed and Others Fail’.

Mills heads the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation, which was established just short of two decades ago to strengthen African economic performance.

An author of several books, his writings on economic and socio-political matters are routinely published in newspapers and magazines with international circulation.

This book launch with a difference was hosted by the Namibia and Angola office of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Windhoek.

It is a German political foundation aiming to achieve and maintain peace, freedom, and justice through political education.

In a captivatingly interesting and candid manner, spiced with a great deal of humour, Mills shared what motivated him to write the book.

What made this book launch different and appealing to all attendees – irrespective of age – was the musical ending.

Mills, accompanied by a guitarist songwriter friend, had us all singing along to the catchy tune about making or taking.

But this did not distract – it rather underscored the seriousness of the vexing topic Mills addresses in his book: Why some countries succeed economically, yet others fail dismally.

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