|Tuesday, March 27, 2007|
For my generation, the internet has been
life-changing. We know what we missed
when we didnít have it. We are completely smitten by new avenues to communicate and collaborate in new ways today. We get excited about YouTube and Flickr and Twitter and rush to try them out. We are buoyant and optimistic about the immense possibilities they bring us. We are so grateful that we can now communicate across geographies and time and are a mere fraction of a megabyte away from anywhere else in the world. For many of us, it's still a tool that's shown us a different way of life. Assimilating this medium into our lives has given us new options.
For youngsters today, especially teenagers, it isn't an option really - it is their way of life. I
keep looking for aha moments from them during my research studies ñ
and I donít seem to hear them. They don't take it as seriously as we do. They are not as grateful to it as we are. They do not talk about how cool YouTube is - they just use the services to check out the latest Gwen Stefani video - the video is their point of conversation rather than how cool the service is. When I ask them to imagine life without them, they simply cannot - they know nothing less. They're not delighted by 'free' as we are - growing up with this medium has made them expect it. There are few divisions between the techno haves and have-nots
among them, as in our case.
They're tribal and tend to stick to their cliques and look within, safe in the knowledge that they can reach out when required. They don't try to maximize possibilities with the objective of seeing how far they can stretch the medium; even for the more geeky kids, it's a medium where they can
express themselves and their creativity - they expect it to deliver on
that and are not surprised or in awe that it can. They aren't that tickled when someone says "you're an absolute geek". They don't become geeks like us - they either are or not.
For them the distinction between an offline world and an online world isn't as stark as it is for many of us. For them, it is not transformational or an avenue for self-actualization, as it has become for many of us. Nor is it an empowering medium as it is for us - it's just a way of life.
I wonder if we were children when the internet had arrived .. would we have felt and behaved differently from kids today?
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