For all of us “old timers” there was a time, not too awfully long ago, when the thought of “sharing” would make us clamp up and become all suspicious. Perhaps this is a symptom of growing up during the 1980s, when the “Me generation” had taken over the world, and Reagonomics had us all viewing life through rose tinted glasses. Whatever the reason, people today, both “Millenials” and older people, seem to be all too eager to share to Facebook everything from photos to online video links to their most private thoughts.
While people who are not into sharing on Facebook might consider sharing private information to be “oversharing,” the so called “Millennial” generation can also be viewed as an antithesis to earlier generations who went to great lengths to guard their privacy. Although you Millennials might find this difficult to believe, people actually used to keep their private thoughts to themselves, while you cannot wait to share with your friends private details of your lives. When it comes to the current generational divide, it can really be viewed in two ways, before the internet, and after the internet.
Without making any value judgment, and refraining from stating that one generation is “better” than the other, the difference between the “before” and “after” generations is striking. While it was once considered the norm to lock up your diary and hide it under your mattress, the sharing of intimate details and a penchant for self reflexivity seems to be typical to Millenials. Undoubtedly, this is what happens when a generation grows up with smartphones, text messaging, voyeuristic reality television, and Facebook sharing. Heck, if you asked someone to bookmark this page 20 years ago, they would ask about the book to which you are referring. Of course, any kid today would do a couple of keystrokes on his iPhone and have it covered.
When you think of the marked differences between the those who grew up before the internet and those who are growing up with it, the distinguishing characteristics are striking. While one cannot deny the significant advantages enjoyed by the later generations, it does not really matter if one can bookmark this page or share that page, it really matters what they do with their capabilities. After all, the latest technology is only as valuable as the purposes for which it is used.