I’ve been thinking about how weird it is to be a part of the generation that is able to clearly understand pre and post internet life.
There’s a generation above me (my parents and all of humanity before them) that have a very minimal understanding of the internet.
There is a generation below me (my younger cousins and all of humanity after them) where this is basically the world that they’ve always known.
And then there’s the weird in between generation that I’m part of that kind of has a foot in both worlds.
You don’t have to be a sociologist to understand that the internet has changed how we socialize. Just look at this tweet:
It either means nothing to you or like me it brought a smile to your face because you can read arabic and have seen this:
Memes and emojis are a language we’ve now all become fluent in. Way more people now meet online than offline. Videogames are now more popular than movies. Instagram and TikTok mean everyone can now choose to have their own personal reality show. And to old folks it feels hard to understand, to younger generations it makes perfect sense and to people in the transition generation it all feels…kind of weird.
You also don’t have to be an economist to understand that the internet has changed how we work. I vividly remember trekking around with my parents to drop off physical resumes and less than nine years later most of those same places would literally only accept online job applications. Also, look at this chart:
The five most valuable companies according to investors right now all make their money primarily thanks to the internet. At its best the internet makes things more convenient. Pretty much anything we could ever want is just a click or tap away. Connecting with family. Learning pretty much anything. Even your favourite treats. Remember when you couldn’t do that? It sucked. But internet driven businesses have also made the lives of some undeniably worse. Just because the seemingly unstoppable combination of software and capitalism is good at commodifying data doesn’t mean we need to commodify each other and ourselves. 1
Now I don’t mean to get all “old man yells at cloud”. I love the internet. An argument could be made that Google (with the exception of maybe organized religion if you are being picky) has accomplished more for humanity than any group of people in history. And I think a big part of why it feels weird is solely due to being a part of this weird in between generation. One day we’re helping our parents understand how to set up online banking and the next we feel old because we don’t understand what this finger touching emoji actually means. It also means you have to mentally filter whether every piece of advice you get from someone older is actually practical or valid in the post internet era. It’s jarring.
But I also tend to just overuse the words weird and strange so I googled the definition to be sure it’s what I truly mean. 2 Apparently weird is defined as “unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand” and while that may be a bit harsh it definitely somewhat captures the feeling I’ve been having on the internet quite a bit lately. There are aspects of internet culture that are amazing and aspects that are horrifying and as the generation primarily responsible for shaping it in its infancy we should all put a little more thought into which ones we support.
What a time to be alive.
? THINGS THAT CAUGHT MY EYE ?
Perhaps the greatest subreddit of all time
The movie “The Terminal” (highly recommended btw) somehow happened in real life
Super cool music challenge
- These are all good things to read. All I’ll add is that I strongly believe you should be able to live comfortably in society without a “personal brand” or “side hustle”. ↩
- It’s weird. I use it to mean everything from a polite way of saying “that’s dumb let’s stop talking about this” to “I’m having an unbelievably strong reaction to this for some reason and I’m not quite sure why” ↩