The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

By | November 1, 2016

When my parents were teenagers, they hung out at drive-ins. My generation hung out in malls (I am 47). And at arcades and roller skating rinks, which were many times located in malls. Kids today hang out online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). With their heads buried in their phones, are they really any less social than we were? I think it is just a different form of interaction. If anything, they are much more connected with each other. That is what social networks do. The next generation will probably hang out together in virtual reality, bringing online socializing to a whole new level.

My parents saw a movie actor (Ronald Reagan) become president. I watched in amusement as The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a professional wrestler (Jesse Ventura) were elected as governors, and I stood proud as a black man won the presidential election. “Change” was coming, although nobody at the time expected it would be a real-estate-mogul-turned-reality-star trying to become the leader of this nation.

For decades, 1-800 numbers ruled the marketing world. Every TV commercial had one. So did catalogs, billboards, and newspaper ads. Then along came 877 and 866 numbers, and the public got very confused. Then it no longer mattered, because businesses started using websites. Short, catchy .com domain names were king. Sometimes you could use a .net or .org, but the public would get confused. Then everybody started looking at websites on their phone, and URLs became less important. Facebook accounts and Twitter hashtags were where the action was. Now, there are over 1,000 new domain extensions (.travel, .money, .biz, .club, etc.), and .com no longer matters as much. The public is confused as usual, but nobody really cares because in seconds you can always find what you are looking for in Google.

TV led to VCRs, then up popped video rental stores, which led to Netflix/DVR/on-demand. At the end of the day, though, it is still just the same TV shows and movies we are watching. Pagers, fax machines, and landlines were all eclipsed by email, mobile devices, and instant messaging. But what we are communicating is the same, it is just through different mediums.

Our grandparents feared communists and built bomb shelters. As a kid, I worried about the Doomsday Clock as it ticked slowly towards global nuclear destruction. Today Al Qaeda and ISIS fill our hearts with terror. We stare out the window of life as the world evolves, and a new generation thinks everything will be different this time. I evolve, but still make many of the same old mistakes. It is almost certain that my kids will think they know best, not listen to me, and make their own mistakes. That is how it has been since the dawn of time. Everything changes, but it also stays the same.

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8 thoughts on “The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

  1. Edward Alfert

    Domainer, entrepreneur, song writer, philosopher, historian, and futurist… Eric the renaissance man.

    I’ve been reading your blog for years… wished you posted more often.

    Reply
  2. Blog Reader

    True enough! Much appreciate the food for thought in this post…

    Reply
  3. Rafi

    Amazing insights..Humans are humans at the end of the day! Great article Eric..Keep us posted

    Reply
  4. Steve

    I wonder if your .com domain argument (or urls in any form) will not matter in a few years? I will admit that I am biased…I have a really good .com I am not yet using in any significant way…so I am hoping you are wrong. I used to love Rick’s blog because he was the voice for .com to be here forever…I once brought up the hashtag argument and he brushed this aside (I should have pressed him into debate because I value his opinion on this topic). He is biased for sure though.

    However, looking at this from a non-biased view I witnessed the free build up of Facebook. It used to drive me nuts to see facebook.com/barbershop…facebook.com/restaurant, etc. Why did people give out free ads to Facebook and surrender their freedom to this company? The benefits were not that great…why did they not just get a domain name they controlled and feed traffic (if there was much) through Facebook url. Every commercial, news show on tv would use a facebook url…then hashtags took over…crazy…now you see less of these too…

    Domains are back…mainly .com too – I almost never see facebook or hashtags…people and companies are waking up…just using television as an example. Domains are easy to remember and all companies really need a base of operations…like a postal address domains will be here for a while. Depending on Google is not wise as I’m sure you know.

    As always…great entry in your blog.

    Reply
    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      I still love .com domains, and I don’t think any of the other domain extensions will be more popular than .com in the near future, but I don’t think the consumer cares that much any more. People will go to whatever url you tell them to. Something else to consider is that like with Facebook urls and hastags, the public likes trendy things and at some point .com domains may be considered old fashioned, and something like impulsecorp.io would looked at as more cutting edge and hip than impulsecorp.com. It is not that the .com will be less prestigious or legitimate, it is that younger people rebel from the old way of doing things. And then a new way of doing things starts.

      Reply
  5. Steve

    I think you are right…not sure how fast this will happen though. Perhaps 5 – 10 years. Established companies might lose visitors to the lesser known domains if they do not own the trademark. Until this happens they would be smart to promote .com first. Eventually one of these domain extensions just might catch on and leave .com in the dust.

    Anyway, you “most likely” are correct .com will most likely die…trying to think of something that was trendy at first but never died…need to think a bit. Well the web was trendy in 1993 but is still here in the same way as before…for the most part…but it has changed in a big way…mobile…

    Back to my real job…

    Reply
    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      I don’t think .com will die, it will probably still be the industry leader. But a few years ago .com was the only real choice. Now there are lots of choices, which makes .com worth a little less. And if you are fresh new startup looking for a domain, without lots of money to spend, getting a trendier domain is a viable option.

      As for something that was trendy but never died, 1-800 numbers are like that. I would still much rather have a 1-800 number than a 1-877 number. Maybe young people don’t care anymore, I have no idea, but I don’t think they think of 1-800 numbers as being any worse than the other versions. They are still the industry leader.

      Reply

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