So, I’m one of those nasty little Generation “Y” critters. You know the type, sickeningly and rather egotistically convinced that our generation knows how to solve the world’s age-old problems. Instead of learning how to write cursive, we learned computers, instead of etiquette we had facebook. I had an email by 11, then a cell phone at 16 and now I’m a facebook-addicted, twitter-pated, blog-posting twenty year old. And you know what? I don’t think technology’s the greatest idea, and I don’t think we’ve got solutions. I think my generation’s become a generation of cowards.
That’s right, you sneaky little Y-ers, I see you bashfully checking out my blog in your anonymous cyber-pool, ready to submit the scathing comment you’d never say to my face, or on the phone. I know, you didn’t mean to become so shy, it started out innocently enough.
First you started emailing things you were too timid to admit out loud. Then, you began “friending” that cute guy or girl in class you couldn’t work up the guts to ask out. Got to stalk the ole profile, find something to talk about rather than coming up with a topic your own. Then began the texting. You see, at least Townsend TALKED about his generation, hell he put it into song. But kids these days, they’ll just text it.
Oh, I know. It’s convenient. It’s subtle. It’s quick. You were only going to use it for when you were in class (when you really ought to be paying attention) or to send a mass invite to all your buddies for a movie tonight. And then somehow, it became easier to text rather than call.
Soon, you discover yourself forgetting exactly when is an appropriate time to use acronyms in writing and when is not. Hell, you don’t even know what an acronym is. If you don’t know, look it up, I won’t tell you. Lazy.
Now, texting has become the “safe” and less presumptuous way of conversing. After all, calling up someone of the opposite sex for the first time can be scary. Well, boo-fucking-hoo. Excuse me while I find an emoticon for the world’s smallest violin. Oh, I guess that particular gem has not yet been boiled down to its simplest, pixelated form. How’s this? 😥
I digress. This happens a lot.
My point is that this generation has become a generation of wusses. I’ve fallen prey to it, and it makes me sick. “Oh if I call him, I might seem over eager and then he won’t like me!” Well, shucks, because THAT never happens. (Seriously, in my case, never happens. Everyone loves me. I’m loveable.)
People used to have no choice but to buck up and approach people: for jobs, for friendship, for dating. It may have evolved from grunts and whacking people over the head with clubs and dragging them off to your cave to a nice “How do you do?” but now, it’s going too far. I mean, at least the whole club-and-cave thing was direct and effective. How is “poking” each other efficient? Useful? Clear?
People are afraid of each other, despite the fact that we don’t carry clubs anymore. Even though we “friend” more people than ever, we meet fewer and fewer people. People who approach you in real life are scary. We need that comforting internet mediator.
Now instead of spending time together and talking over a cup of tea or coffee like human beings, we text or chat over instant message. Why cut out all the human interaction? The confusing and comforting nuances of tone, expression, body language? Personally, I find the techno-conversation far more confusing. Sarcasm is pretty much my first language, and I judge a person’s intent not only from their words, but their face and body. Can’t do that over the net. It’s unnerving. Someone could be lying, or tired of speaking to you, but you simply cannot tell. Which just makes you more neurotic and afraid to speak to someone face to face.
We do everything through the internet, not just talking. We date online, we rent movies online, we shop online. It’s like we’re afraid of catching something. Maybe that pesky little strain of humanity that’s been holding out against the internet vaccine? Practice safe communication! Wear a cyber-condom! Hide behind that thin layer of technology and nothing can touch you. All the things you couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t say or do? You can do them without fear of reprisal with this sexy little innovation!
Guess what? Life’s about reprisal. Life’s about getting hurt, and sick, and dirty. Life’s about getting shot down, and having to understand when someone’s face belies their words. Life’s about growing a spine. This thing that taken over my generation? It’s not killing them, but it is taking away their shot at life. Maybe that’s why promiscuity’s on the rise, kids these days? They’re lonely and they want to cut through the zeros and ones and touch someone. Just to know there’s really a human on the other side.