They’re now calling them the “Twitter Generation.” And I don’t really know what that means.
I assume it has something to do with them using Twitter.
Twitter itself is something I don’t completely understand. It’s an unbelievably unnecessary social networking site employing the use of something called Short Message Service. Basically, it’s designed so people can “network” via text messages, in particular.
If the past five years have taught us anything, Twitter has about one year left to live. MySpace went out like the T-Rex (and Marc Bolan). And Facebook is trying to figure out how to get Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck into space to bust up a meteor.
America, as a whole, doesn’t have much of an attention span. This is nothing new, of course. It gets worse as time goes on. I have less and less in common with these people, and I’m not just referring to age. In short, this generation makes me feel old. I don’t want to feel old. I was happy… scratch that. I was content that I’ve maintained some of my more youthful ideas.
“It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.”
-Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
That was written nearly one-hundred years ago. Everyone should already know the story, but I’ll summarize anyway:
Philip Carey loses his parents young. His aunt and uncle then try to raise him, but they are too lazy to do so properly. Despite this, Philip proves himself to be a gifted scholar, mostly due to his isolation. As he grows, he scales the usual steps – questions his religious beliefs, wants to bang an older woman, lets his guardians try and control his future, yadda, yadda, yadda. All the while, he can’t decide what he wants to do with his life. He drifts a bit, and then finds himself in medicine, has a few flings, loses all his money to a bad investment and then gets a healthy enough inheritance to go on. He meets a physician, with whom he goes into business. Then Philip meets the dude’s daughter, bangs her and supposedly knocks her up. But he really doesn’t knock her up. Anyway, he forsakes his beliefs to marry her. In the end, he admits that the traditional route through life is the most logical route.
Before I drift too far off topic… I like stories such as Of Human Bondage because they contain nearly an entire existence. And there’s your history. Without Philip Carey’s past there couldn’t have been an ending. His conclusion relies entirely on all of his past adventures, his trials & tribulations, etc. Though it is meant to be a tragic ending, he believes the easiest course is the best course. In other words, he gives up.
Nobody likes history. Okay, some people do. But it’s fair to say that the majority dislike it immensely. I was not one of those people. I loved it when I was younger and still do. Most people don’t have the attention span for history lessons. Twitter doesn’t teach you to research the past. And it gives you no warnings about the future. The “Twitter Generation” is very painfully stuck in Right Now. (It’d be even more painful if it were that dreadful Van Hagar song)
In school, they are phasing out the teaching of penmanship and cursive-writing. They already have major grammatical issues because of ‘text-language’, and kids use “U” in place of “You” and “R” in place of “Are” on papers they later submit for letter-grades…
Say 'Hello' to your new god.
I might have been lucky in my youth. It may very well be that I just happened to be surrounded by many gifted people whom I respected and admired. Then again, maybe those were more youthful ideals I was blinded by. Many people have gone on to be not all that different from Philip Carey. And more and more people will. I may be a Philip Carey someday.
If tradition dictates that the easiest way out is the best way out, then you can expect nothing but mediocrity. And that’s all we will ever get from this “Twitter Generation.” I begrudgingly gave in to the likes of MySpace and Facebook. I eventually got to a point where I could understand how to use them in a way that suited me personally. Twitter is different, and I know this immediately. If for no other reason than its claiming of a generation.
Simply enough, the new generation is being raised by people who don’t know how to raise children. People that elected George W. Bush (twice) and were giving serious thought to letting Sarah Palin into the White House (she got a book deal, anyway.) Good intentions aren’t always good enough.
Is there a stutter here? Did time hiccough? Did I fall asleep? Or was I, after all, just lucky all along.
If you look over the past one-hundred years, you’ll notice that each generation had a different way of raising subsequent generations. The Great Depression, the Baby Boom, Vietnam…on and on, these things reverberated through society, and they had massive effects on how younger generations were brought up.
The Information Age, ironically, has taught us very little. Except for the whereabouts of Ashton Kutcher…
We have fewer values. I don’t mean that in the religious sense but the moral sense. We’ve become more self-serving and less self-aware. It will only get worse. It will never get better.
We are doomed. Nothing has changed. And everything has changed. All at the same time.