For a while, I have been looking for a new name for people with my life experiences. Something other than Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, or later, Millennials.
The unifying principle is those whose lives, the lives of their children, and even grandchildren, span the digital divide. While exact years are malleable (maybe it should be ’58 – ’78), I have chosen those born from January 1st, 1960 to January 1st, 1980. I consider all those born in 2000 and beyond to be digital natives.
The name is “The Bridge Generation.” You heard it here first. If you can google the term and find it in the same context, kindly let me know. In essence, the Bridge Generation has lived in two worlds with vivid memories and experiences in both lands.
I choose a twenty year period as I think those at both ends still share enough in common. For all, typewriters, rotary phones, network television and print media would have been the norm for at least part of their formative years. No internet, of course.
Significantly, for almost all Bridgers, high school, much of college and even graduate school are before the divide. Most began their working careers pre-digital and — earlier or later — adapted to digital technology or fell by the wayside. (Unreconstructed luddites aside.)
The majority of their children are born securely as digital non-natives. These Bridgers have watched their children, and for a few their grandchildren, make the transition, often crossing the bridge together. Smoothly or not. At the latter end of the generation, their children are digital natives.
On one end, born in the Eisenhower Administration (1960) and first eligible for a Presidential election, Reagan vs. Carter, in 1980. On the other, born under Carter (1980) and first eligible for a Presidential election, Bush vs. Gore, in 2000. All Bridgers probably have at least some recollection of the collapse and end of the Soviet Union and the first Gulf War.
Wondering if I am onto something.
For earlier reference to the “Bridge Generation.” Wired Generation is missing out The Daily Messenger January, 2012
Here I argue: “I think my generation — the ‘bridge generation’ — has had the best of both worlds. We were educated pre-digital yet have enjoyed the fruits of the new.” See also Then and Now Brown Alumni Magazine March/April, 2012