Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Net Generation

As most of you know, my lap-top, I-pod, and some other sweet things of mine were recently stolen from my house. I missed a couple blogs, so I am writing one long blog to cover certain points of interests from the assigned readings.

As Paull predicted, a child of the Internet and cell-phone generation, I feel cut off from society. I can no longer have the luxury of sitting on my couch and doing my daily Internet routine. Honestly, I do not really miss checking my My-Space page, but I still have the same impulse to check my Facebook. It is weird how every time you go to the computer, you have the urge to check your e-mail, facebook, and favorite web-sites.
We are the Net generation. A generation that always feels the need to stay socially connected. Check around your college campus, everyone walks to class chatting on their cell phones and listening to their I-pods. The Internet and communication have become such an important element in our life. Why do we daily check our facebook and call friends the instant we get out of class? Thus, I wanted to discuss the relevance of conceptual space in cyberspace. I found an excellent quote from James Gleik defining the Net as “It isn’t a thing; it isn’t an entity; it isn’t an organization. No one owns it; no one runs it. It is simply Everyone’s Computers, Connected”

I like this quote, because it brings up the concept that the Internet has become the most valuable global connection. We stay connected through a vast amount of networks and channels of communication. When you think about it, websites like My-Space, Craig’s List, Facebook, Ebay, are truly remarkable. You could make friends before you even move to new town or auction against a sea of anonymous people for an artifact in Egypt. There are a world of opportunities (.com folks) and information in the universal knowledge of the world known as cyberspace. How many times have you heard an argument come down to “Dude, Wikipedia it”!

Last Friday, we decided to have a last minute fundraising party, in which, we facebooked probably a few hundred kids at about seven o’clock. It is amazing that we are able to send a message so easily to a vast amount of people in so little time. No telephone calls, no instant messages, or the thought of mailing any letters! The Internet has forever transformed our generation. For instance, I have witnessed the Internet divide between my grandfather and me. I find it amusing that he needs a list of instructions to log on and check his e-mail. We bought him an I-pod for Christmas, but that was too complicated as well.

In the epilogue, Neil Postman asks “Do we actually need cyberspace technologies? Is there a problem that cyberspace is needed to solve?

I am not quite sure if the Net generation has seen the second part of the question yet. If I had to answer, I would say cyberspace has improved our systems of global communication. We have created networks of communications to help form a common connection for everyone in the world. Hopefully, we can use cyberspace technologies to make social improvements like ending world poverty and help save our environment. Websites like FocusTheNation.com and WorldVision.org
can make a difference. Personally, I like to join all of the environmental groups on facebook to help spread the preservation of the earth to my friends and strangers. Hopefully, we can help answer the first part of Postman's questions.

For spring break, I camped out for about 10 days in the California Redwoods. With no cell phone, electricity, a house, hot water, or computer, I was forced to slow down from the New York City lifestyle. I took the time to enjoy some of the smaller things in life that Neil Postman would surely advise. I got to enjoy a nice hike and swim in the local creek. As he noted, the Internet and technology cannot fulfill personal satisfaction, but as any invention, they improve a way of life. I can tell you that cyberspace technologies are not essential for human survival, but the innovation of cyberspace helps communication among a global level. I hope we can continue to use the Internet to help benefit society.


Paul said...

Definitely nice to get away from technology and the City and just chill. Unfortunately we have to return to our normal lives where we are connected to cyberspace through email and social networks and we still live in the ghetto!

Lance Strate said...

Very thoughtful post, Ryan. And I think you are getting at an important point, the power of interactive media to bring people together for coordinated efforts, such as social and political action.