I speak the language of emojis and can also talk in Internet slang. Depending on the time of day and the amount of patience I have within me, I’d say I’m pretty good with computers and troubleshooting. I know what the buttons on a DSLR camera mean and can work a smartphone better than I can organize my closet. I am definitely a Digital Native.
I grew up during the rise of instant messaging, social media, and texting. Now we have Skype, Siri, Google, and various apps that make our lives a little easier. But all of this must be frustrating to those we call Digital Immigrants, those still stick in the age of physical books and snail mail. The biggest distinction between Digital Natives to Immigrants is the language; we simply speak in different tongues while trying to explain and do the same things.
What’s so amazing about technology is its ability to connect people unlike ever before. Imagine, a message had to once be delivered by horseback! That message took days to get to its destination, whereas now, it takes a few seconds to hit ‘send.’ Families and friends can stay updated with each other’s lives through Facebook and video messengers, instead of having to wait until your next visit. How we socialize and stay connected is completely different now. As you can tell, I am very much an advocate for the Digital movement. Though, to say I am completely immersed in this virtual world would be stretching it too far.
As fluent as I am in the Digital language, I have tendencies to generate an accent. I still love my physical books, writing in journals, and actually going out to see my friends instead of scheduling a video call session. Technology is creating new things so quickly that no matter how much I try, it becomes harder and harder to keep up. There are times when I just want to tune out of all the techy stuff, shut down my laptop, put my phone down and breathe. This generation, Generation Y, is so in touch with their profiles on the web that we forget about the person we are right now. We are obsessed with trends, what everyone is doing, who’s saying what, and how to get the latest gadget. Of course, there are some who are Gen-Y that aren’t as obsessed as others, but I wouldn’t believe you if you said you absolutely have no form of social media.
Some Digital Immigrants believe that Millennials are part of the dumbest generation. Where all we care about is online profiles, instantaneous answers, and visuals. But I believe they are completely wrong. We still care about content! We care about international events and the stock market. We aren’t as numb to the world as others put it. What makes us different is the way we share that content. As long as we are able to stay in touch with one another without losing sight of the olden ways, Natives and Immigrants will always have some kind of commonality.
No matter what technological advances we may have in the future; if Facebook dims down to make light of a new social media, or flying cars will finally be in production, I will always remember the contribution of those before us. It’s fun to participate in this upbeat digital age, but it’s always important to look up and see that this world goes beyond the screen. There’s just some things in this world that can’t be digitized.