So I arrived in Cannes, city of the plush French Riviera, overpriced terraces, great sunsets, and –especially with the #canneslions – a lot of overzealous marketing people. The old journalist in me still has a knack for spotting interesting conversations around me. When I heard two junior people going all ballistic over Facebook, I could not help smiling.
‘Facebook will never go away,” the young girl said. “Ever. It’s too game changing. Too many people are touched by it. It’s here to stay.”
How I love youth. How I love the naïve black-and-white painting of a complex society. The lack of long-time perspective… how I adore people not yet tainted by the knowledge that what moves up, comes inevitably down… and hard.
I look back on almost half a decade of life-altering inventions that changed humankind forever. VHS. Betamax. The telex. The fax. LED watches. The modem. IRC. BBS hot tub. MySpace. Yoghurt machines. The number of applications, inventions and conditioned behaviors that simply eroded, ebbed away and got forgotten is mind boggling. In the best of cases, some of it is now museum shelf material, gathering dust.
In the steam engine era, steam engines were a big deal. Really. It changed life as they knew it. They thought those whistling machines were there forever. Well, it has been a while since I saw the cloud-spitting Flying Scotsman thundering by.
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr… they are great. They change life as we used to know it. But something tells me we’re not there yet. There will be the next next thing. One day, we’ll have to explain to a whole new young generation what all the fuss was about.