Video: What younger generations think of their elders online
I’m a reasonably “with it” fellow when it comes to tech, but I remember the first technology story I read that made me feel absolutely baffled: it was Buzzfeed’s horrifying, incomprehensible piece on how 15-year old girls use Snapchat. Never before has a piece of tech reporting left me feeling so utterly lost and just…baffled. Like, okay, I get it—teenagers integrate tech into their lives and do whatever with it (I used to do my own incomprehensible stuff when I was a teen) and there’s nothing really to understand about it, but that Snapchat piece hit me like a speeding truck loaded with a cargo of concentrated WTF.
And that's okay. Shaking our fists at the younger generation is just a part of the human condition—as our video today shows. We’ve got a few Millennials and even a representative of “Generation Z” (which much to my disappointment has nothing to do with zombies) opining about what they think about how those senior to them use the Internet and whether or not those seniors “get” what “the Internet” is.
Time, time, time, see what’s become of me
Part of me wants to react to this video with smugness, because I’ve got my own standards about what it means to “get” the Internet—standards that are informed, perhaps unfairly, by more than a decade of tech industry work that by necessity mandated a broad understanding of the connective technologies that make up the networks and endpoints that the Internet is composed of. My instinct is to laugh at people who don’t seem to realize the World Wide Web is only one aspect of the Internet, or who don’t have a working understanding of the OSI model, or whatever—I’ve got a bunch of other arbitrary and esoteric bits of techno-priestly gatekeeping propped up in my head to help me feel superior to those hyperconnected teens.
But there is a very real difference in not understanding technology, and not understanding the latest iteration of that technology. I think it’s perfectly easy for someone who is generally tech-savvy but doesn’t use (or care to use) Instagram or Snapchat to get along, because I am that person. It’s a lot more difficult for someone with only a passing grasp of how to use a smartphone to make it through the day, especially in a dense urban environment where a lot of tasks (like hailing a cab or splitting a dinner check with friends) have been subsumed into smartphone applications. The former person can participate but chooses not to; the latter person can’t participate even if they want to. At least, not without learning something new.
It’s all about maintaining that neuroplasticity, I suppose. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go. The damn neighbor kids are on my lawn again.
Listing image by New Line Cinema