Monday, February 2, 2009

We Share Our Mother's Tumblr

Last night my body decided to go into panic mode; my sinuses were pounding and I sweated profusely while the rest of my body shivered under the covers. Fun.

The one good thing to come out of my immunofreak-out is that in between coughs and loogies, I had a lot of time to think about Things, and one of them stuck with me today. Guess what: it's about the Internet!

The Internet--and computers in general--have changed the way people my age communicate and associate with our parents. For centuries, parents were the strict authority figures of the family; disobeying their commands or attempting to talk back to them was sinful, and even if you hated them and defied their demands, society's objective opinion was that they're your parents and therefore right, and you'd come to realize that sooner or later. And even if their kids knew more about music, movies, fashion, and other aspects of culture--even if we could make better conversation at parties--these things were secondary, and it was parents who taught their children about the Ways of the World. A father could control his son without knowing how to work a CD or operate a cordless phone.

But now, we--by which I mean people my age--know more about the Internet than our parents can ever hope to learn, and the power balance has shifted in that regard. Now, our parents are coming to us for advice. We send clearer emails and make cleaner Web sites; we find them better deals on bags and groceries that they'd otherwise miss online; they manage to entirely fuck up Microsoft Word, and we come to the rescue. In short, in terms of communicative technology, we the children know more than our parents.

This is special because it will only happen once. The next generation of bloggers will be our children; while they will surely know more about the next decades' virtual innovations, both we and our children will have a basic grasp on the Internet, learned practically from birth, and made more proficient as the Internet comes to replace older modes of communication and information dissemination.

We are the only generation of kids who know so much more about this great, new tool than our parents; and the Internet is so vast, so deep, so filled with all sorts of applications and functions, that our greater knowledge has in many ways allowed us to trump our parents.

Obviously, our parents still know many things we don't (I, for one, have no idea how to file taxes.) And my mother is surprisingly adept as using the Internet. But I can't help but feel that my generation is in a special place to wipe the slate of history clean and begin recording the annals of our time anew, one blog at a time. And no one can tell us not to.

-Josh

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