Me, Myself, and My Laptop
January 23, 2009 § Leave a comment
I finally decided to create a blog, again–after a 5 year hiatus. It’s interesting to note the difference in content between what I wrote in high school, and the content I intend to write now, as a post-college graduate. In high school, I had a Xanga and a LiveJournal (remember those?) which was linked from my personal website–what a 17year old could possibly write about, now confounds me. I imagine I probably wrote about the daily trials and tribulations that go on in the life of the average teenager, from heartache to college admissions. And from generation, to generation, the historical circumstances surrounding the life of the average teenager may change, but the daily mini (and often inconsequential, in retrospect) “struggles,” stay fluid from one generation, to the next. Perhaps the most significant difference between “Generation X” and my generation, is that we actively used new technology and new media from a young age. This allowed us to communicate with one another instantaneously, and thus, communicate our teenage/preteen issues with one another. Email was the first form of instant communication technology I used. When I moved from Texas to California in 1997, I stayed in touch with my best friend at the time through email. Though we aren’t nearly as close, we still keep in touch from time to time. Had it not been for email, I highly doubt we would have stayed in touch. In 1993, I moved from Pennsylvania to Texas. This was, of course, before email was widely used by private citizens. My best friend at the time, in Pennsylvania, and I kept in touch through snail mail for awhile, before losing touch. I have no idea where she is, or what she’s been up to in the last 15 years, but I honestly do believe that had email been available to the both of us, even at the age of 7, we would have actively used it and perhaps still kept touch with one another, even if sparingly.
Aim was the next form of communication–and perhaps, the most popular–that my generation used. Even faster than email, it was probably the first form of productivity killer we experienced (not including video games of course). So I had a test on Wednesday? No big deal! I’m having a conversation with my friend about the Backstreet Boys! Sometime around my Sophomore year in high school, making your own website was the thing to do. This was a trend that didn’t seem to last very long as blogs took over–namely, Live Journal, and Xanga. Some topics I remember being discussed in our blogs were hating exams, the anticipation of college admissions, greatly disliking working in retail yet being excited for our first (albeit, part-time) paid job, short-lived teenage romances, and surprisingly, current events. The age of Xanga and LiveJournal overlapped with our first, widespread use, of social networking sites. No, I am not talking about Facebook. Nor am I talking about Myspace. This was even before Myspace. I’m talking about Friendster. Ah yes, Friendster, the first widely used social networking site; yes I know, there was SixDegrees and sites such as HotorNot.com before Friendster, the former not gaining enough popularity and ultimately failing, and the latter, a bastion for the conceited and not the type of social networking site that maintains “meaningful” connections–neither of which, I assure you, I personally used.
So where are we now? We’re somewhere at the crossroads of digital networking, and microblogging. While my generation grew up on digital media, the next generation has been born into it. As they grow into teenagers in a couple of years, they’ll find more ways to use new media to convey their teenage issues. And as for me? Well, here I am, 5 years later–blogging.
On an unrelated note, at which point do we stop calling new media, new media? It’s not as if we call the newspaper telegraph, ancient media.