Understanding Today's Generation Gap

Sherry Keller

4 Stars

August 17, 2012

Our world is constantly changing. Every generation has to deal with these changes and their influence on emerging generations. The world today is changing at an exponential rate due to the influence of technology. There is a growing disconnect between younger and older generations. Youth today grow up in a world where typing and computer skills are learned in kindergarten where being on line and connected with others at all times through texting and tweeting is the norm. For those of us who are older it is easy to question these changes and to criticize the younger generations for being shallow, obsessed with games, narcissistic, and irresponsible while those who are younger tend to look to technology and not their elders for answers to their questions. What does one do in such a changing world? How do we maintain connections with generations before and after us? How do we continue to connect and minister to those who are of differing generations? Viral: How Networking is Poised to Ignite Revival by Leonard Sweet offers some answers to these questions.

In this book, the author describes the differences between the older and younger generations of today. He breaks today’s society into two tribes: Gutenbergers and Googlers. Gutenbergers grew up in a world influenced by the Enlightenment and the development of the printing press which revolutionized the world from one where information was passed from generation to generation through auditory learning to a world where information was in the hands of the populace in the form of books. Today’s Googler generation is growing up in what the author describes as the TGIF culture. (TGIF here stands for “Twitter, Google, Iphone, and Facebook” and not “thank God it’s Friday”.) Today’s generation has a vast amount of information at their fingertips at every moment through the Internet and technology such as Iphones. These changes have created a growing disconnect between the two tribes. This book explores the strengths and weaknesses of each tribe. It also points out each tribe’s promises, perils, potentials, and problems.

Understanding these differences is important if we are to connect and minister to today’s generation. Each new generation has to start fresh (exploring how the truth of the gospel can be communicated to the current generation), but not from scratch (the truth of the gospel never changes). This is why Googlers need Gutenbergers, and vice versa. When we separate ourselves from the inherited memories of our ancestors, when the texts and traditions of the past do not join the present, the future is in jeopardy. This book will help you to understand how some of these new technologies can be used to connect with and even disciple the next generation.

I love to read books that challenge my way of thinking and this book really did just that. Whether you are a Googler or a Gutenberger, this book will challenge your viewpoint.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.