Our Future Colleagues have MySpace Accounts

Jake’s post on the Internet Generation Gap is relevant for me. I’m 33. The 20-something MySpace crowd would consider me a dinosaur. I’m sure each young generation criticizes its elders for being slow to adopt new and better ways of doing things. Proof point: I don’t have a MySpace account, I don’t text message much, and I don’t obsess about the next cool Apple product that’s coming out (except for the iPhone, of course). However, I’m not a complete misfit, I do have an online presence, I do IM, and I do live and work on the internet. But, I sometimes wonder if everything we’re doing to be connected and online all the time is preventing us from living a good life off-line.

On Monday I read an article in the Chronicle about how Stanford’s recent commencement speaker (Dana Gioia, leader of the National Endowment for the Arts) blasted the new American culture. I think the most important part of his speech is this:

“Do you want to watch the world on a screen or live in it so meaningfully that you change it?”

Yesterday, I read a few Letters to the Editor regarding this article. They summarize exactly what I think about this new culture:

“Here we have a group of young adults, graduating from one of our country’s most prestigious academic institutions, and they can’t put away their cell phones and other toys long enough to listen politely to a speech made in honor of their achievements.” — Trish Hooper (the last comment on the page)

Frankly, I’m a bit concerned about this next generation. Seems to me that a lot of them have short attention spans (thanks in part to the internet, media, and consumerism). It’s interesting to see the internet becoming more social, but real life becoming less so. In some ways, I think we’re all affected by this. It’s an iPod, cell phone, highly-connected culture. Lots of good things have emerged from this, but how much of that is degrading our ability to live a disconnected life. Food for thought.

AboutRich Manalang

a.k.a.: manalang

14 comments

  1. I like the bit about short attention span, placed stealthily in the Read More part. Good stuff.

    It’s a very valid point. I took notes in college in spiral notebooks. I envied my friends with (chunky) Powerbooks because they didn’t have to go to the computer cluster to write papers. Now, what self-respecting parent would send a kid to college without a laptop and thumb drive?

    To the point, have you seen the handwriting on kids? Apparently, writing legibly is a lost art. I may be that spoken word is the next casualty as we retreat into the “soothing green glow”.

  2. I like the bit about short attention span, placed stealthily in the Read More part. Good stuff.

    It’s a very valid point. I took notes in college in spiral notebooks. I envied my friends with (chunky) Powerbooks because they didn’t have to go to the computer cluster to write papers. Now, what self-respecting parent would send a kid to college without a laptop and thumb drive?

    To the point, have you seen the handwriting on kids? Apparently, writing legibly is a lost art. I may be that spoken word is the next casualty as we retreat into the “soothing green glow”.

  3. Technology is advancing much faster than people emotionally and physically. And it causes many problems in social communication, physical health as well as sometimes problem solving. We need food and (at least most of us) communication just like thousand years ago, we need time to go deep into a problem to solve it, but never ending e-mails, phone calls, flashing chat screens etc etc splits our attention. So adults become just like kids that cannot focus on a single problem for more than a few minutes.

  4. Technology is advancing much faster than people emotionally and physically. And it causes many problems in social communication, physical health as well as sometimes problem solving. We need food and (at least most of us) communication just like thousand years ago, we need time to go deep into a problem to solve it, but never ending e-mails, phone calls, flashing chat screens etc etc splits our attention. So adults become just like kids that cannot focus on a single problem for more than a few minutes.

  5. Completely agree Rich. I’m almost 31 and I’ve noticed the same thing. I do not have a MySpace account. In fact, I didn’t even visit the site until recently. While I realize it may be an exciting medium, I prefer REAL friends to do most of my communicating with.

    Regarding Jake’s comment above, handwriting is a lost art as well as spelling. I read an article recently about how companies are receiving resumes full of IM lingo which is sad. It’s becoming almost normal to “speak” that way. Yikes!

  6. Completely agree Rich. I’m almost 31 and I’ve noticed the same thing. I do not have a MySpace account. In fact, I didn’t even visit the site until recently. While I realize it may be an exciting medium, I prefer REAL friends to do most of my communicating with.

    Regarding Jake’s comment above, handwriting is a lost art as well as spelling. I read an article recently about how companies are receiving resumes full of IM lingo which is sad. It’s becoming almost normal to “speak” that way. Yikes!

  7. Gints: Very true. I actually avoid taking morning meetings when I have concentration-type work to do (e.g. analysis, design, you know “thinking”). I have to turn off email and chat to stay focused. It’s a curse of the ever-connected workplace.

    Derek: I r agreeing. Used to be a lot of jargon and the ever-present split infinitive, but decent grammar in documents. Now, you don’t know what you’ll get.

    Thanks for reading and keep the comments coming.

  8. Gints: Very true. I actually avoid taking morning meetings when I have concentration-type work to do (e.g. analysis, design, you know “thinking”). I have to turn off email and chat to stay focused. It’s a curse of the ever-connected workplace.

    Derek: I r agreeing. Used to be a lot of jargon and the ever-present split infinitive, but decent grammar in documents. Now, you don’t know what you’ll get.

    Thanks for reading and keep the comments coming.

  9. “Train [our children] in the way [they] should go,
    and when [they are] old [they] will not turn from it.”
    Proverbs 22:6

    I have 3 children now, 2 of them are almost teenagers. I believe the most important thing we can do is be intentional about training our children. This includes training in silence and concentration while they are young.

  10. “Train [our children] in the way [they] should go,
    and when [they are] old [they] will not turn from it.”
    Proverbs 22:6

    I have 3 children now, 2 of them are almost teenagers. I believe the most important thing we can do is be intentional about training our children. This includes training in silence and concentration while they are young.

  11. I could not agree more! I'm honestly so sick of MySpace right now. A lot of people I know that are younger and have a MySpace don't normally think twice about whats featured on their page.As for me, I don’t allow my kids to have MySpace accounts. I even istalled internet filter Ez Internet Timer http://www.internettimer.net It helps me control online usage for my kids.

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