There’s a running joke among some of my friends that I’m sometimes a ‘boomer’ in all but age. I still think that I can earn my very own white picket fence if I just work hard enough. I think that quite a few of the movies and TV shows that are released in this day and age fall incredibly short of the mark. And I have a very old-fashioned approach to technology: I’m writing this while listening to music on my iPod while lamenting the disappearance of headphone jacks on phones. The best part? I’m not alone!
There are quite a few ‘baby boomers in disguise’ out there, and odds are that you and pretty much everyone you know has at least one ‘boomer opinion’ about life, work, and technology in the 2020s.
Internet users shared their boomer opinions in a very entertaining and enlightening r/AskReddit thread that proves progress isn’t linear—just because something’s new doesn’t automatically make it better! If we're really honest, replacing buttons with touchscreens everywhere might not have been the brightest idea in some cases. And who needs smart fridges anyway?! Upvote the opinions you agree with as you're scrolling down, dear Pandas.
Bored Panda wanted to learn about the things that technology and app creators should prioritize, so we reached out to Matt Johnson, Ph.D., for a few insights. He explained to us that products are only valuable when they're valuable to the consumer, and shared his thoughts on how we might be seeing an 'analog renaissance.' Plus, he explained why, in some cases, a simple pencil and paper might trump smartphones and computers.
You'll find our full interview with the expert below. Johnson is a professor of consumer psychology at Hult International Business School and Harvard University, the host of the Neuroscience of Branding blog, and the author of Branding that Means Business.
#1Just because you can contact me immediately by phone and text doesn’t mean I should be expected to respond and be constantly accessible. I miss the days where you just turned the answering machine on and went and lived life.
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"One of the most important elements to keep in mind in product development is the ultimate user experience. This sounds obvious, but many times, creative teams and developers become overly enamored in their own ideas about the product that they lose sight of how it’ll ultimately be used by the end user," Professor Johnson, the founder of the Neuroscience of Branding blog, explained to Bored Panda.
"Products are valuable when, and only when, they’re valuable to the consumer. This ultimately comes down to empathic design, as well as the practice of co-creation with consumers. Instead of simply guessing what will be appealing to consumers, many brands have begun to invite them into the creative process itself," he noted that there's far more interaction between creators and consumers than before.
#2People share way too much on social media.
Similarly, you don’t need to record every second of your life. Live in the moment every once in a while.
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#3Physical buttons to push, especially in cars, I hate touch screens.
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"Crucial to this process is the intuitive nature of the user experience. Products—especially technological products—should be instantly intuitive. This again comes back to empathic design and co-creation. And in addition, a third component is especially important: making the consumer feel smart. The ‘smartness’ of the product experience isn’t merely the technology, but how it makes the user feel. Here, there’s an analogy to good, empathetic writing: good writing makes the writer feel smart; great writing makes the reader feel smart. The same can be said for technology products."
Meanwhile, we were very interested to get the professor's opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of 'smart' devices, compared to 'dumb' (aka analog) ones.
"There’s a lot of speculation that there may be something of an analog renaissance. There’s clear recognition that technology has its benefits in a number of areas of life. However, in others, it may have overstepped its bounds, and that analog (or dumb tech) products may actually be beneficial," Johnson pointed out to us.
#4Children are being brainwashed by TikTok/Instagram/etc... Not in the whole "the gays are brainwashing our kids" thing but children can't focus on anything for more than a few seconds at a time and are majorly desensitized to things
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#5I like being able to read articles and stuff online without being asked to enter an email, create an account, give my phone number, etc. Also, not everything needs to have an app / be automated with Alexa.
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#6Younger children in general are genuinely spending way too much time on tablets and other devices.
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"Take communication, for example. Zoom has been a huge tool in the pandemic, and is great for communication types requiring a visual referent, such as a presentation. However, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that a simple phone call is better for building empathy and trust," he explained. "And while digital forms of typing, either on mobile or on the computer, come with their own conveniences, 'dumb' writing products—like simple pencil and pad—have been identified to hold several benefits such as enhanced creativity and better memory retention." Anecdotally, we can definitely confirm this. It's why yours truly still takes a lot of notes by hand; it might be slower, but it works so much better than doing everything digitally.
Professor Johnson, the author of Branding that Means Business, pointed out that smart devices will "likely proliferate in certain areas, but may dissipate in others."
"Predicting exactly which kinds of devices will proliferate is difficult and speculative. Generally speaking, technology over the past 15-20 years has been incredible at enabling consumers to do things better, easier, and faster than ever before," he said. "Technology is great for doing things. But it isn’t great at providing enjoyable experiences, or enhancing existing ones. It’s in this domain of where a return to ‘dumb’ technology may be most pronounced."
#7They don't make em like they used to. Houses, appliances, everything.
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#8People should chill with their phones during concerts. You paid tickets to watch the show, not to record the whole thing.
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#9From an elder Gen X:
Gender reveals are ridiculous. "Let's have a party for everyone to celebrate a baby's genitals"
As someone who grew up in the 70's and learning about women's liberation I would not think people would be still so attached to the whole pink/blue clothes,toys, etc.
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Baby boomers, aka boomers, are people born from 1946 to 1964, and tend to be seen as having ‘old-fashioned’ beliefs about work and life. Being called a boomer in a non-academic context is a synonym for someone who’s behind the times. It’s typically used as a gentle insult (e.g. using the dismissive phrase, ‘ok, boomer!’). Quite paradoxical, considering that boomers themselves tend to see themselves as ‘the greatest generation.’
No generation is perfect: each one has its specific pros and cons, as well as very distinct perception of what the world ‘should’ be like.
Similarly, boomers tend to look down on zoomers (born from the early 2010s onwards), but often call them millennials (born 1981-1996) by mistake. Speaking generally, boomers tend to believe that the younger generations are slacking off and should be working harder.
However, boomers often get criticized for not taking the economic situation into account. They grew up in a time of affluence and prosperity when it was relatively easy to save up enough money to own your own home.
#10It’s rude to be on your phone while in the company of others. Makes you look bored to be hanging out with them
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#11I just want a real person on the telephone when I have to call a business.
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#12Concentration is getting worse. I tutor students and I notice a complete lack of concentration from people as little as 1 year younger than me. Also everyone is very difficult and doesn’t participate even though they asked you for help
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Having your own home is still seen as a sign of success by the majority of young people. However, the problem is affordability. It’s not enough to work hard. Financial stability and home ownership aren’t as guaranteed as they used to be half a century ago. This, of course, leads to a certain amount of cynicism among the millennials and the Gen-Z cohort, as well as tension between them and the older generations who (from their perspective) may have had it easier.
As we grow older, our tastes change and develop. At the same time, we also cling to certain technologies and attitudes that used to get us good results. Why switch to a high-tech TV, computer, or phone when the one you have works perfectly fine? It’s eco-friendly and financially savvy to avoid upgrading to something new just for the heck of it… so long as you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Unfortunately, the reality is that some people are resistant to trying new tech. They might be scared to break something. Or they might be unwilling to learn something new—perhaps due to their pride or out of fear that it’ll take them far too long. It’s a question of attitude, as well as adaptability. Do you embrace the new so that you can keep up with a rapidly-changing world or do you cling to the past, daydreaming of the ‘good old days’?
#13Giving your kids "unique" names is a sign of immaturity, selfishness and narcissism.
Think before naming your kids as they're the ones that will have to live with it
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#14Paper books are better than E-books. There is just something about reading on paper- it feels more real.
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#15Turn your f*****g music down. Your music should not be shaking my car windows. I should not be able to hear your music inside my house. I should be able to talk to my friends inside this bar or restaurant without yelling. This brewery does not need a live band or DJ. Turn your f*****g music down.
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Nostalgia is a powerful thing. But if we spend all of our time reminiscing about the past while ignoring the present, something needs to change. One way to do this is to focus on all of the things that you’re grateful to have in this ever-changing world.
At the same time, it’s essential to stay objective. Just because there’s a new gadget coming out or a fresh trend is sweeping the globe doesn’t mean that you should jump on board simply because ‘everyone else is doing it.’ Ignore the FOMO. Think about what you want.
It’s perfectly fine to want better, more user-friendly technology. For instance, you might feel that a website, app, or streaming service needs a more intuitive UI. Or you might get irritated by all the updates that certain apps require just to function. Not to mention the metric ton of passwords that you need to keep track of because, hey, pretty much everything requires you to log in these days. Sometimes, simpler really is better.
Personally? I’d love to meet the person who decided that phones no longer need headphone jacks. I’ve got a bunch of questions for them…
#16Let me buy something and own it. I don’t want to pay a monthly fee to use something
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#17My watch doesn't need to spy on me
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#18Smart things should fail to dumb, not to broken.
Smart lock can’t reach the internet? I should be able to use my keys. (This is why I have a dumb home.)
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#19As a mentally ill person, I say: Your mental illness is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to manage. Your mental illnesses can cause you to make mistakes and treat others poorly, and you certainly deserve some grace and understanding when you f**k up (as all humans do). But that doesn’t let you off the hook for the behavior, and it doesn’t make the recipient of the bad behavior the bad guy for setting boundaries or calling you on your behavior.
#20I loathe motion sensor faucets, hand driers, soap dispensers, and flush handles. My hands are huge and they don’t trip the sensors or fit in the dryers.
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#21Tiktok is frighteningly addictive.
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#22Being fat should not be celebrated.
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#23It's sad that people don't have friendships with or even know their neighbors anymore.
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#24Modern parents can be very entitled and modern parenting styles like gentle, child led and never say no parenting are going to cause as many problems as they fix.
Yes previous generations were too strict but modern parents go too far in the other direction.
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#25I don’t understand the core benefit of 'read' or 'seen' in messaging apps. Fundamentally, it just seems to create an unhealthy scenario that puts pressure on the receiver and unhealthy expectations from the texted
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#26Five year olds don't need Smartphones
#27I don't want the new shiny thing with a thousand of usless functions, I don't want something that will be old in 3 years because of lack of sofware update or because the tecnology in that field is becoming better at lightning speed. I want something that just works and last a long time. I can understand you might want the best thing for work (like a powerful pc) but why would anyone want a smart fridge or toaster?
#28I hate modern slang so badly. "lit, fam, bet, slaps, fire." It all just sounds so arrogant and uppity and obnoxiously confident.
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#29I never will understand Poly relationships. How can you be romantically infatuated with two people at the same time? It blows my mind. Feels like other people are evolving and I got a f****n' caveman brain still.
#30Children shouldn't own ipads.
People should be weary of posting photos if their kids on social media. I find it really disturbing that nowadays kid's photos are on social media quite literally while they're still in the womb.
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#31Popular music these days are highly industrialized and have nothing to do with art or culture
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#32I really don’t want people I don’t know on my lawn.
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#33Headlights are too bright nowadays.
#34Children should be outside playing more.
#35It is rude to not speak when spoken to.
#36Sometimes you need to shut your laptop, Apple TV, Loud Bass speakers and mouth, and just sit quietly.
Seriously we dont need to be listening to media, music, news, memes or ANY sound or stimulation 24/7.
#37There is a disturbing lack of work ethic nowadays. It starts at the top and makes everyone miserable
#38Ghosting culture makes people abandon their friends and relationships prematurely over smaller things. People don’t seem to want to patch things up anymore, I don’t know how to describe it but not a lot of second chances or selflessness (caring for others around you)
#39The service industry is garbage now. My first few jobs were working in fast food: I got paid s**t and the hours sucked. I still greeted customers when they walked in the shop, spoke politely over the phone and waited until my smoke breaks to blow a f*****g gasket about something. Because of my experience in food service, I'm polite and friendly to a waiter/waitress or my delivery driver and usually try to tip well. But it seems like more often than not, everybody on the other side of the counter is surly and unhelpful. I'll be somewhere to pick up my food and the person on the other side of the counter can't even be bothered to look up from their phone to say 'welcome to arby's; how can I help you?'
I get it; your job sucks. You should be paid more. You have to deal with the rudest, most entitled people on a daily basis and twice as much on Sunday. It won't f*****g kill you to say hello.
#40Movies used to be way better.
And I get that there were always lots of crappy and mediocre movies. And I get that there are still really good ones these days - 2019 was a particularly amazing year.
But they still used to be SO MUCH BETTER. Indie film festivals weren’t littered with endless “gritty slice of life drama with no plot and a shaky handheld camera”. Hollywood didn’t used to be “superhero’s and sequels and f**k everything else”.
And I dunno, it just feels like….some passion is gone. If you saw a low budget driving scene in the 70’s, you likely saw poor lighting and some muddled audio. But you also saw real people in real locations really trying. Now, a movie costing 200 f*****g million won’t bother filming a real driving scene with two actors in a real car on a real street. “Just green screen jt, no one will notice”.
But we do. We really do. And that lack of passion is killing the thing I love most.
#41Old music is way better
#42People are too loud.
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#43Video games are not sports
#44People no longer know how to behave in public and it’s mostly technology’s fault. I grew up yielding to certain social contracts of how to behave in restaurants, gyms, theaters, etc. and it’s become infuriating to the point of outright avoidance in some cases. People talk too loudly, bury their heads in their devices, play music/videos out loud without headphones, or generally act like no one in their immediate area matters whatsoever. No one has any patience or consideration for anyone outside of their immediate sphere of importance. We are all just unwilling co-stars in the self absorbed story of their lives.
People ask why I haven’t been to a movie theater since the weekend that Avengers: End Game came out. This is it.
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#45TikTok, Youtube shorts, Instagram reels and all that is having a seriously negative impact on the attention span of young people.
#46Too many people on the Internet self-diagnose with autism, ADHD, PTSD, etc and they do it in a way that screams "I'm different and unique pay attention to me!"
#47STOP MAKING EVERYTHING AUTOMATED AND TECHNOLOGICAL. I want to talk to a real human being when I call. I don’t want all this touch free, scan this, download this app, blah blah blah.
#48People are too damn sensitive nowadays. Can’t make a single damn joke without someone taking it too seriously and getting you cancelled over it
#49Paying good money for a product that doesn't do the thing it says on the box until you install their b******t app on your phone makes me want to burn s**t to the ground.
#50That some people can't just enjoy their meals at a restaurant, they absolutely HAVE to take a picture first. Nobody starts eating until a satisfying Foto is taken.
Like, f**k you! I'm hungry and want to start eating. It's not like you paid for my meal.
#51They need to bring back home economics class in school.
#52Most kids these days *are* lazy and don't want to work. I work in construction and we have a really hard time finding anyone. No one wants to do the hard jobs anymore even though the pay is very good. Everyone wants that comfy office job where they can scroll Reddit all day and do a couple hours worth of work.
#53Kids don't have much self-awareness about the importance of paying attention when someone is talking to them, or just being "present" when they're with a group of people. Whatever is on their phone shouldn't (usually) be the priority, when a real human is right there in front of them.
#54I really do hate when they change the aisles around at the grocery store.
#55I want dumber cars.
I don't need all the extra s**t that comes with cars these days. I'll take the electric windows and stereo, but I don't need seat warmers, moon roof, built in tablet, auto parallel park, auto braking, or automatic door open/close. Nor do I want an electric car that needs to be plugged in whenever I park.
My car is a 5 speed with crank windows, the fanciest thing it has is Bluetooth for my phone, but not the music, just for calls. It's a 2017, which is surprising.
#56I think common sense isn’t that common anymore. I think people need to take accountability for their actions and admit when they’re wrong or f****d up. Stop making excuses and just say sorry and do better next time.
#57Having your children in every sports league and traveling all over spending loads of money and time doesn't make you a better parent.
#58Automated menus on customer service lines, and honestly customer service lines themselves, f*****g suck.
My doctor's office has an automated menu for scheduling appointments, which is fine and dandy except for the fact that it has FOUR LAYERS of automation before you get to an actual person, and if you press the number you want too soon it will restart the whole menu. Also, sometimes it goes through to a real office number but then rings for 45 seconds before saying “the party you are trying to reach is unavailable, goodbye” and then hangs up automatically, so you have to go through the menu all over again. F**k automated menus like that.
#59Just give me the f*****g recipe. I do not want to read your life story.
#60TV is getting too dark. Too dark and too quiet. I swear we have to turn the volume up like twice as loud as we have it normally to watch Yellowstone.
Better believe the commercials have plenty of volume though...
#61Pop singers need to enunciate better.
#62There's value in analog
#63Wireless earbuds are lame. They're one more thing you have to charge, they get lost easier, they're more likely to be a theft target, and they're just not as convenient.
#64I'm an atheist and I'm not endorsing religion but some have replaced religion with the religion of me myself and I
#65Self checkouts at stores suck.
#66You can leave your child unattended for several minutes in your own home without being a bad parent.
#67Rappers with ‘lil’ as a prefix. This makes no sense to me! And I’m sorry about that.
#68Spelling and grammar matter.
#69Paper menus are better than QR codes
#70Dunno how common this is but, I hate wireless connections. I have horrible luck with them and prefer having the reliability of wires
#71You shouldn’t have kids before you get married
#72Some people who complain about not having enough money for essentials are just terrible with money and spend on items they do not need or are unable to compromise on (eg renting a new unit in a trendy suburb rather than an older more affordable one a few suburbs away, or ordering UberEats rather than just picking it up directly from the food outlet etc)
#73Just because you have the right to self-expression and to have body confidence doesn't mean any and all clothes are appropriate for school. This is how come we have plenty of young people who don't seem to know how to dress appropriately for work when they have their first office job.
At least at the upper levels, school should have some semblance of professionalism. If you can pass high school, you can learn to change out of your pajama bottoms.
#74All this sex revolution is nice and good in theory, but I can't help but feel that ever since we became more open towards out of marriage sex, pornography, and e-dating, things have been getting worse and worse.
Everyone is becoming lonelier. Divorces are through the f*****g roof. Emotional and sexual cheating are exceedingly common.
Porn is nice to look at and jack off to, but it's absolutely destroying people's expectations about sex, and it's making everyone more insecure about their own body. Women are destroying their bodies to be more attractive for men, and men are insecure about the size of their d**k, so less and less men are even trying to find a girlfriend or have casual sex just because they don't have an 8 inch s*****g when soft. And don't even get me started on the dating apps, because that is an entire chapter of it's own.
The only positive thing that sexual revolution had brought to us is the acceptance of the LGBT community.
#75I get irrationally angry about some of the haircuts I see younger men walking around with lately
#76Fast food jobs are for high school/college kids that still live at home and just need gas money and stuff…
#77I'm younger Gen X.
I think that while it's true that you can't bootstraps your way to wealth and fortune anymore, the financial decisions you make every day do have an impact on your finances. Don't waste all your pocket money on drinking, smoking, and eating out. Clip coupons and shop sales. It all adds up.
#78A four-year degree is really valuable.
However, I think I'd disagree with most people on what constitutes "valuable." I think a lot of people equate it with lucrative. I do not. I believe it's valuable because it's important to learn and cultivate your mind in a setting where people who have more experience can challenge you and hold you accountable for how you research, interpret that research, and come to conclusions based on the data you've gleaned. And regardless of whether you end up using your degree, those are vital things to learn.
And yes, caveats apply. Some teachers suck. Some schools suck. College is prohibitively expensive. Etc. Etc. But generally speaking, I think earning a four-year degree is a beneficial life experience.