Friday, February 12, 2010

My Generation

Before we begin, I'd like you to go to this video: It's The Zimmers singing My Generation, originally by The Who. Are you playing it? Good, let's begin.

In a conversation with my mother, it came up that the word "blog" is completely alien to her, despite the fact that I've explained it to her before. In an earlier conversation with her, she said that my grandad thought our local cinema had four screens. This has gotten me thinking - my generation in this family is obsessed with technology, mainly because there's so much of it available.

Many of my readers are actually in my mother's generation, or at least ten years older than me, because that seems to be the average age of Twitter users, who are directed to blog post here. All of my readers know what the word "blog" means, at least in some vague sense. Many of them are bloggers themselves.

Most people know that cinemas usually have more than 4 screens. At least in Dublin they do. My local has 11 screens. When my grandad was young, and when my parents were growing up, 4 screens might have been the norm.

See now what I mean by there being so much technology about? With a new iPod every year, and now the iPad, and a number of Sony and Microsoft equivilants, my generation are in heated discussion. The smaller percentage of my mum's generation are also discussing these latest changes, while my grandad's generation have a limited number of individuals who actually understand the concept of an iPod. Each generation is different in their regard to technology, and indeed literature, movies, society and sport. I don't have the time to talk about each of these areas all at the same time, so I'll focus only on the Internet section of Technology.

Split my generation into 11-15, 16-18 and 19+ and you see a pattern of social networking emerging. The 11-15 year olds love Bebo. It's the only site that lets 12 year olds onto it, so naturally 11 year olds break the rules a bit and sneak on. 16-18 year olds get a bit sick of them and move away from Bebo to either MySpace or Facebook. MySpace is now reserved largely for music fans and fans of authors who don't see that MySpace isn't the way to go. Facebook is the "in site", largely due to the addicting games that are played while the person is "studying."

Then there's my mum's generation. While Bebo was fresh, people of her age went onto it. Now they've all migrated to Facebook because it looks a lot more sophisticated, and children can't get onto their pages. New authors see the importance of Facebook as a place where they can say something and see all the responses from fans about that particular post.

My grandad's generation... I don't see many of them on these sites, period.

All three generations are found on Twitter, possibly because it's new and shiny. It's handy, though, because it's similar to Facebook, but easier to use, and there are no distracting games. It's also a handy way for authors to chat to each other, and to their fans. Largely people older than myself are members, but I have seen a few people who are 14/15 on it.

Moving away from social networking onto something a little simpler - email. My mum set up an email account last year. Actually, I set it up for her because she didn't know how. I've never actually met someone her age online who had an email address for personal use only. Normally they run some form of website, or are members of other sites that require email addresses.

All the emails I receive are usually broken up differenly, according to age and use. Business emails and newsletters are all very formal and usually long, though that's content dependant. Emails from people of the elderly persuasion are longer and more formal, while emails from people my age sometimes don't even have a way of addressing the person. The email starts in the body, and ends with more body.

Now, I'm not saying that my generation are great at technology. We're not. Well, some of us are, but others of us are frankly so bad I don't know how they managed to set up the Facebook account they waste their life in front of. I know people who, at the age of 16, didn't even have email addresses. Even 18 year olds didn't! They had to be taught how to do it by other members of the class. I had to teach people how to use Word!

My mum on the other hand needs help opening word. She is the typical example of the part of her generation that hasn't changed with the world around her, to accept the Internet and practice using it. Meanwhile, I'm one of the people in my generation who goes all out with the Net; I have a Bebo account, a MySpace account (I don't use either anymore...), a Facebook, a Twitter, three blogs (though I only update this one most days, another once every three weeks, and the third... well, not at all since the summer) and I run a forum/website. Not to mention having about 7 email addresses (personal, Literary Den, college, Poetry Against Cancer, Anonymous Writer Magazine, Survive the Net, and The New Book Club). Most people only have two - personal and college. Some only have one. And a lot of my generation, but not all of us, have at least a Facebook or Bebo. I'm also a vlogger, which you don't get very often. I know there are loads of vloggers out there, but there are a lot more people who only watch videos.

There are a whole bunch of things on the Internet I haven't even gone in to in detail, like gaming websites, YouTube, photo sharing sites, Deviant Art, forums, personal websites and other such things, but I suppose they'll have to wait for another time. Who knows, I might actually revive Survive The Net with all this stuff to talk about. Though it'll be a lot more orderly than this blog...

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