People call this generation the millennials —a generation born into technology, introduced in a controversial article in TIME (2013) as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, stunted, and apathetic. This generation lives in an age where information is instantly and constantly at our fingertips, literally. One search on Google for “millennials” returns 9,010,000 hits in 0.20 seconds. There is an ocean of information out here. One could argue that there is perhaps too much of it. Because of the available technology and the supplementary services provided to us by various entities, we can have whatever we want immediately, whether it be a piece of information, a pair of shoes, groceries or whatever else. We can even broadcast ourselves in the same way, through the ever expanding networks of social media, like Twitter, Facebook and the like, and many of us do, utilizing the many hashtags at our hands to get more “likes” and “followers.”
This generation finds themselves in the midst of a phenomenon of instant gratification, oversaturated with information. A culture of self-centeredness and obsession with short term gains, seeking some sort of control and affirmation within society, and increasingly losing our sense of self and meaning. We seem to find ourselves undermined by our own way of life, caught up in the culture of busy. Many cry the deterioration of culture into apathy and disintegration of community.
Is this true? Are we a generation desensitized, have we become too used to the happenings of the world? Is that why we remain stagnant in overcoming global conflicts of human rights, reacting to climate change, or even changing national policies on things like gun control, and still find ourselves struggling with issues such as race and equal gender rights to this day?
As I was attempting to write the first part of this piece, I remembered that there was an article that I wanted to share with a friend, and so I logged onto Facebook. After I’d found the article and sent her the link, I remained on the site to peruse through my newsfeed. Most of my newsfeed has been tailored to omit updates from friends and focus mostly on articles from news sites or magazines that I am interested in such as the New Yorker, mic.com, ArchDaily, Sustainable Cities, or Atlantic Cities.
A couple of articles caught my eye, and five minutes later, I’ve ended up with 6 new tabs of things I wanted to read, (mind you, I already had 14 open).
I thought and discussed aloud to my significant other about the things I was reading, i.e. Germany charging Oskar Groning with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, how science proves that people that enjoy and engage in writing have emotional and physical benefits, about a proposal to construct a ropeway gondola from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, and the science behind “baking the most delicious cookies ever.”
After a 20 minute long discussion about the rise of Naziism, the rise of empires, where the source of psychology of the human desire to conquer lay, why more powerful empires arose from regions in colder climates than the south and hypothesizing about the causes as scarcity of resources and the need for innovation and competition, and the changing psychological nature of cultures, and expressing our opinions on the Brooklyn gondola system and agreeing that melted butter was definitely a must have ingredient in baking the best chocolate chip cookies, I finally came to the realization, “oh wait, I was working on my draft!” So I turned around and came back to my seat and wrote this paragraph which just goes to prove my point about how the internet and the accompanying technologies have affected our interactions with information.