The Children of Cyberspace

Chelsea just sent me an article from Saturday's New York Times about "kids these days." "The Children of Cyberspace" hits the nail on the head by noting that the adoption of new technology happens naturally and fast for people under 20. I've always had the nagging feeling that people just three or four years younger than me could use technology in ways that were far more sophisticated than anything I could conceive of doing. As Brad Stone argues, there are micro-generational gaps between people born in the same decade. So while us "old fogies" - the twenty-somethings - feel wired and hip using twitter (while still reading books), our younger siblings, nieces, and nephews are just taking every new invention as a natural part of their world. The author's daughter won't be the only little girl who considers a kindle to be a book!

We had a discussion in class today about what it meant to finish a book and put it on your shelf. And the particular arrangement of magazines and books on your coffee table or night stand when guests are over. Sure, they say something about you and lend a sense of accomplishment--but maybe your LibraryThing account could replace that. The kids surveyed in this article would certainly agree. It doesn't sound like they are too attached to their books. (But oh, what would happen if you took their laptops away?)

My feeling is that you'll part ways with your DVD collection (ok, maybe you already threw that out) and your library (if you have to move again), and that you'll define your cultural and intellectual identity to others by customizing your tablet to display what you're watching, reading, and listening to at the time. And you'll keep your copy of The Catcher in the Rye/On the Road/The Bell Jar/Catch-22/The Prophet (har) with you forever.

Agree? Disagree? Shoot.


1 comment:

Ish said...

This is true, and creepy. I do plan to have antiquities like books around foreeeeever, if only because I would be too cheap to replace them with e-versions.