Last weekend, the wife and I were at Chicago's Summer Dance series down in Grant Park. The city offers free dance lessons from 6-7pm and then has a free concert from 7:30 - 9:30. After that you can wander over to the fountain and watch the fireworks over the harbor. You can do this EVERY saturday of the summer! How cool. What a fabulous free exposure to arts. What I noticed was that there were all sorts of people enjoying this Mayor Daley creation. There were all sorts of people from different races. There were older people and there were families with young kids. There were some immigrants who didn't speak English. Some people dressed in jazz regalia and others wore tee shirts and gym shoes. But the group that was not represented was teens. I didn't see anyone who looked like they were in their teenage years. I thought what an example of how our culture has segregated teens from not only older people but also young children. Why were teens so underepresented here? Is it 'uncool'? If so, why? Is it because they don't know this type thing is offered? Why not? Are they so self conscious that they would not want to learn swing dancing and show off their beginner moves in front of strangers? I don't know, but I think it is a shame - they are missing out on a totally legal and free good time and they will be glad they learned to dance when they get older and are in a wedding, especially their own. I had so many students complain last semester that they were "bored" and they had nothing to do. Here is an option. Enjoy it. Don't let our culture marginalize you until you are acceptable again as a twenty-something.
Here you see the diverse crowd dancing in Grant Park, but no teens :-(.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The other day I was golfing at the driving range. Admittedly it had been awhile since I hit a golfball, and though I looked like a first time golfer, in my defense I was working on a few new techniques. Anyway, an elderly man had just finished botching some swings near me when he made a few comments about what I was doing wrong. Secretly, I was cursing this old fogie, "Okay old man I get it. Thanks grandpa, but on a good day I could outhit you like Tiger Woods. Can I just hit my balls and relax?" However I thought about the bigger picture. Here is a older guy trying to be useful. Probably retired, he has lots of time and nowhere to go. So I placated the helpful old dude. He started messing with my stance and my swing, but you know what? I started hitting a little better. I couldn't believe it. I felt like a Cookie thief. Here I was being all critical of this guy not wanting to listen and he ends up helping me and if he knew the truth, he'd be entitled to be critical about my attitude. Stereotypes don't cease with the sociologist. We are all part of society.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Marketers continue to try to figure out how to get each generation to buy their clients' stuff. In doing so, they label each generation in a way that helps them direct their marketing efforts. For the students in high school today, some marketers call them Generation Y (as in the excerpt below from adage.com),
BORN BETWEEN 1985 AND PRESENT
Anyone born from 1985 to the present falls into Generation Y. More than 90 million strong, they've surpassed boomers in size. They are consuming at 500% of the rate of their boomer parents in adjusted dollars, age for age, when you take into account their unprecedented influence on family purchases. Generation Y is the first U.S. generation that routinely has had brand-new cars in high-school parking lots. One-carat diamond engagement rings are the norm. Apparel sales will spike as Generation Y seeks mates. Wal-Mart will have difficulty serving them because its retail model cannot bring fashion to market fast enough to satisfy this fickle group. In addition, they will not buy products from retailers and manufacturers with dubious ecological or humanitarian records. They'll fall prey to no amount of greenwashing. Difficult to reach with marketing messages, their principal medium is cyberspace. Unlock the formula for efficient marketing to Generation Y, and you will print money. One anomaly: They love snail mail and anything with their name on it. Converse figured them out. Check out the shoe brand's site and its unique sales model.
but others call them the "millenials" and according to this 60 minutes report, today's teens and twenty-somethings can't handle criticism.
Does this describe your generation? Do you think you peers have not learned valuable lessons from failing and losing?
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Here is a series of reports from Chicago Public Radio about the new mixed income housing on Chicago's south side.
They stand no more: high-rise public housing buildings that once pierced the cityscape have been demolished. So-called “mixed-income” communities are growing in their place. The largest and oldest of these communities is a place called Oakwood Shores on the South Side. Here low-income blacks have moved in next to middle class blacks. It’s all part of the Chicago Housing Authority’s billion-dollar plan to deconcentrate poverty. Other cities are eyeing the Chicago experiment because of the enormity of it. Thousands of people have been removed from CHA homes. The question is whether the new living situation has improved the lives of CHA residents.
If you listen/read the report(s) look for signs that the social environment shapes the residents. What are the factors that shape their life's chances?