“Tweet or Facebook me your email address so I can add find you on LinkedIn. I will get the alerts on my bb since I installed the app for FB and Twitter.”
50 years ago that sentence would have made no sense. None at all. ‘Tweet’ was not a word that described an action, ‘Facebook’ were two separate words “face” and “book” and ‘app’ was not considered to be a term. The technological progression of the last 50 years is unparalleled by any era of time. The internet has been the biggest invention since fire and electricity, it has engulfed the human population in a whirlwind of infinite knowledge and resources. If you asked an 11 year old in today’s age to live without internet, they would have a hard time adjusting to normal things such as trees and grass.
Technology is so readily available to everyone that life without it has become almost impossible and inconceivable. This is the primary reason that those born in the millennial have easily adjusted and integrated it into their lives whilst Generation X struggles to keep up with the fast pace.
The main problems that our parents and grandparents face is understanding the internet and how it integrates into our daily lives. We forget that for decades, Generation X has been using pens and papers, cassettes and VCRs and actual encyclopedias for information. In contrast, Generation Y has been spoiled with flat screen TVs, iPads and Google – our ability to search and process information is largely dependent upon having an internet connection.
What we need to do is to keep our parents in stride with technology. My family recently pitched in and bought my mum a laptop which has proven to be the best investment until now. Within the course of 8 months, she has been able to understand Facebook, Google and online shopping. For years I have been trying to explain the use of the internet and how it works to my parents but it was useless since they weren’t exposed to it. Being used to the fast-paced technological world where a 2 minute lag on Google is the end of the world, we often forget what the learning process is actually like for someone who is alien to the current culture.
However, is it really that easy for Generation Y? Do we have the world available to us at one click? There are two sides to this argument. Firstly, we are lucky in the sense that we witnessed it all. I remember the move from Windows 95 to 97, the development of Internet Explorer and the birth of Facebook. We have been hand in hand with technology since we ditched our walkmans and installed iTunes. It has been a long haul but internet has grown up with us. Due to this fact, we are able to nostalgically remember the good old Facebook and nintendo 64 – however the flip side means that we are in an environment of constant change!
Are our children going to be bothered by our attachment to iPods when they listen to music on the chip installed in their brain at birth? Will we be the old ones who need to be integrated into technology because we refuse to believe that there is anything better than the iPhone? Being a person of habit, I find the smallest change from a normal book to an ebook annoyingly complicated so I doubt that I will be jumping on the ear chip bandwagon anytime soon. It took me a while to accept the timeline when Facebook changed and I am anxious about the next change already. Despite the fact that I am all for improvement and progression, I find it a bit difficult to adapt to new techy stuff at the drop of a hat – and this is why I understand the inhibitions of Generation X.
So I ask you this: are we the lucky ones to have experienced it all or are we disadvantaged by the continuous improvement?