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Generation Y and Interaction with Technology

Written By: irstookmytoaster on December 11, 2009 No Comment

Well, howdy world! I am Mary-Grace, part of that group of French 24 kids (Language and Technology). To explain the context of this post, it refers to many of ideas presented by Naomi Baron in her book Always On.

So yes, this post directly ties some observation made by Baron and how they may, or in some cases, may not relate to some of my everyday experiences. At first glance, it might not seem to be such a revolutionary study to scrutinize Generation Y-ers as most of us (at least I have) have been conditioned to accept various aspects of our culture that seem so drastically different from the generations before us. Reading Always On by Naomi S. Baron has made me realize how many of these behaviors that I consider so natural seem and actually can be unnatural to generations before. Interaction with technology has permeated the scheme of my world and has become so intrinsic to it that to picture a world without it is simply unfathomable. For instance, take technology such as social networking sites (i.e. MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, etc.), IM, and mobile phones that allow us to get in contact with almost anyone 24/7 and in real time. According to Baron, the effect of these technologies is “[the phenomenon known as] ‘the end of participation’, because we no longer await the return of family and friends to share in their stories. For as long as humanity can remember, anticipation of reunion has been part of our social definition. That is, a relationship is a composite of joint experiences plus recounting of events taking place while we are apart.” My reaction to this was an immediate, knee-jerking “What?!?!”. It surprised me that such an old concept seemed so foreign to me. No, it wasn’t that it was foreign, it was that I had never encountered it in my entire life that shook me the most. Since I can remember, the “anticipation of reunion” has existed, but not for the sole purpose to share stories, but to elaborate stories, create more details, and share intimate details that I otherwise would feel to private to share over such technology.

I feel that language, for my generation, is quickly taking on a new meaning that still implies communication, but the way and the characteristics of this communication is astoundingly different. For instance, Internet memes and computer-inspired terms and phrases have voraciously been adopted into our every-day speech (at least in the speech of those closer to my age). Some examples are “FML” (an acronym for F*ck My Life), Upper Case voice, LMFAO (also the name of a major electronic/hip-hop group), troll, fail, epic, or even in the light of the recent VMA events, the phrase “I’mma let you finish” used in a humorous manner (which spawned a new Internet meme that can be found in http://kanyegate.tumblr.com/).

While knowing Internet memes and incorporating them into daily conversations is not exactly what everyone my age does, there is a notable number of people that do. These memes are even categorized and archived into wikis and other types of sites such as Encyclopedia Dramatica and Know Your Meme.

These are some of the most salient examples where technology has made its way into the quotidian speech of the people around me. How common this is for most people I would not be able to say, but at least within my own social group and the people that are frequently around me.

And to think I didn’t know what the Internet was until 3rd grade!

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