No, Tech Adoption Is Not Speeding Up
Yes, Matt Novak you are completely right about that the data is not showing what Vox argues that it says.
But, the analysis of adoption is of course even more complex than that. A single technology in itself (whatever we define it as) is a very bad (and difficult) object of analysis. And connect the adoption of that technical idea to generations, perspectives, values or behavior is extremely difficult.
One example I read about from the other day was that a group of teenagers told researchers that they stopped using Facebook and used Instagram and Twitter instead. A year or two ago I read about that (another group of) teenagers didn’t use Twitter because it was more of a parent thing…
In these examples we are not talking about technologies almost at all, but relatively rapidly changing behavior according to how a certain tool fits into a certain behavior for a certain age group.
The solution is probably to paraphrase a well known book title: “It is complicated”.
But I would still argue that some things are changing faster than they did 30 years ago, which in turn changed faster than they did 70 years ago.
What we also forget is that during the late 19th century and early 20th century we had a tremendous pace of change for a while. But then it slowed down for various reasons… So if we want to talk of trends we probably have to take much longer perspective that 150 years!