In October, 2014, Maya Edberg wrote an article for Australian Science titled “How the Internet Has Changed the World.” Her opening paragraph said this,
“The Internet revolutionised the way we live, learn, communicate and the way we do our business. Today, most of us can’t and won’t imagine our lives without it and we take the existence of the Internet for granted. Younger generations may not be aware of this fact – but us who were born in the 70s and 80s had no other means of communication except letters, telegrams and bulky desk phones when we were teenagers! No Wikipedia, MMO games, email, YouTube videos, social networks, liking, sharing and online courses – just good old books, face to face socialising and playing movies on our VHS player. The Internet has become an ultimate worldwide broadcast “entity” that effected a gigantic upheaval and changed people’s lives for better and for worse.”
That was published three years ago next month, and the internet has only grown and spread and infested more households and pockets. I love the internet–more than is healthy, I think–but a question got sparked in my head this week that got me doing a little research. I was watching the REACT Channel on YouTube, specifically, the episode titled “Try To Watch This Without Laughing or Grinning #51,” and I noticed that everyone was reacting…really similarly. Nothing on the REACT Channel is scripted, and beyond that, you can tell while watching that these reactions are genuine. Towards the end of the video (SPOILER AHEAD), which I encourage you to watch, there’s a clip where this guy drives through a Taco Bell and exclaims that he wants to die. Without missing a beat, the Taco Bell employee taking his order says, “Same.” Right there, watching a YouTube video on the internet, I had an epiphany about the internet.
Same is a millennial catchphrase these days (saaaaame, amiright?). How do we all know to say it, though? The same reason we all care that Kylie Jenner is currently pregnant, I’d imagine, or the same reason that Alex From Target became so famous for simply existing (famous the same year as the Australian Science report from above was published, by the way). The fact that you, the reader of this post, know exactly who I mean when I say Alex From Target or have already read about Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy on BuzzFeed just furthers my point: We are so connected.
My YouTube epiphany didn’t stop at that thought, though. I realized that the internet, a creature we’ve groomed as a society, and millennials have especially, has obtained control over our entire generation. That sounds ominous, but it’s not. Millennials are, more than any generation since the Beat Generation of the 50’s and 60’s, spellbound by the idea of being true to ourselves, being different and unique, and being who no one else is. I’m part of this, striking out every day with the idea to be nothing but who I am and claim my fame via my own and true self. And, giving a random, unresearched number, I’d say at least 75% of my readers are probably saying “same” after reading that last sentence.
The stagger is this: We are all so much alike that we’ve become a generation that’s uniquely the same. We all know what “lol” means. We all know that the eggplant emoji isn’t really an eggplant and that we hate when the peach emoji leaves but love to watch it go. We all know what an emoji is. We know that Elon Musk is a crazy genius. We know who Kimye are, and we absolutely 100% know what Kimye made Taylor Swift do. And most of all, we know that our parents probably won’t understand anything I just said.
A Millennial, no matter where one comes from or who one is or what one does, shares at least some experience with over 75 million other millennials, and that’s why this whole thing isn’t an ominous thought. While yes, some Facebook comment or a random Tweet can alter the outlook of an entire year, there’s also the opportunity for us to reach out into a group that understands and accepts us, that can grasp an issue that a previous generation might not be able to on the same level. There’s good and bad in every generation’s quirks and advancements, but I’m a millennial–that’s my banner and I hold it with pride. Same?
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Here’s this week’s writing prompt:
At first, Jordyn thought the mirror was just cracked, reflecting a distorted image of the old attic. But, all it took to change that thought, was a single touch…
Want to read Maya Edberg's full publication on Australia Science? Click here. Want to watch the REACT Channel? Click here. (Cover Image Source: Pexels)
2 thoughts on “How The Internet Has Shaped An Entire Generation”
Umm……really enjoyed reading this blog…..but; some of us “parents” really did understand what you just said…lol….and I say that with a smile and much joy……same? Love to read your thoughts…..