Take a Step Back before Forward


Before taking the quiz, I don’t think I understood the wide range of qualities that defines Millennials. I used to think of myself as an exception to the general rule because it is rare that I send more than 10 texts/day, or watch more than an hour of television. This is a narrow definition of Millennials; however, and as I answered the remainder of the questions I began to realize the other “81%” of qualities that I share with my peers.

Despite the vast majority of similarities, I want to use this post to define and describe my main concern with the direction that the Millennial generation has taken. I have been reading a book titled Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a good life in the Digital Age which would offer anyone interested a good description of my stance on how I interact with technology. To sum up what I have read so far, William Powers argues that life in the digital age has sacrificed “depth” for a dramatic increase in constant connectivity. Later in the book, he’ll be talking about the need and desire to “disconnect” and how to reconcile two competing drives.

Most of my answers that disagree with the Millennial Generation from the quiz revolve around the themes that I described. The main problem that I think a lot of Millennials may see (but are unable to address) is the inability to disconnect: during family dinners, during class, or during moments that should or could bring a “depth” that a phone could not. I think that as Millennials we must be able to adopt a new lifestyle that can accomodate our need to connect with others deeply, while maintaining that global-scale of connectivity that has brought about an increase in our understanding of the world at large.

One thing that I found to be interesting was that, despite being more connected than ever, my generation was the least likely to have contacted a government official in the past 12 months. I think that this may be correlated to the Millennials generalized lack of faith in government. The “Generation We” video seemed to be a call to arms for Millennials to create change through voting, but I think that our mode of change is through social networks, spreading knowledge that changes attitudes, and starting a global conversation for the betterment of humanity.

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5 thoughts on “Take a Step Back before Forward”

  1. Matt I spoke about a similar topic in my blog. I too think it is so important for us to be able to “disconnect” in order to “connect” more. Face to face conversations are so much more important than messages sent in text and I think that this is something young adults struggle with more and more as technology advances. I think it is up to our generation to somehow reverse the track were on and realize how important people skills are and take advantage of the “depth” that in person interactions can bring.

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  2. Going off the grid is a liberating experience. That nagging urge to check your phone, respond to the latest texts, email, app memo, takes up way too much unnecessary time and energy. While I haven’t read Hamlet’s Blackberry, I am familiar with the ideas. We’re always waiting and expecting something more interesting that the present moment to pop up on our phones. I think this is partially what caused our generation to lose the ability to connect to others on a deeper level. Moments that should be grounded in the present experience are chopped up with bits from facebook, twitter, and group me, mixed in; it leaves the entire experience lacking in real depth or importance.

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  3. Matt, great job bringing up a different angle in relation to technology and our generation. I too agree that we need to find more time to disconnect to bring a different aspect of depth to our lives. Disconnecting at times provides a distinct aspect to our lives that we often forget how unique it is. However, your point about the government kind of came out of left field towards the end and I didn’t really see what value it added to the blog. Could you elaborate a little more?

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  4. I really vibed with your post but I felt you ended on a thought that could have been expanded with greater insight. I agree with Santi, maybe elaborate a little more because you had some on point ideas.

    I always find it comical when I’m at a concert or a show and there’s teenagers and 20 somethings on their phones taking snapchats, instagrams and on Facebook/twitter. I will never forget the Tyler the Creator concert I went to where he stopped in the middle of a song to yell at the audience to stop taking snapchats.

    Sure, capturing awesome moments to share with friends via these facets are cool, but you’re right, you need to disconnect to live life. I think our generation is too obsessed with building this online facade to generate social status and please other people that we forget about ourselves in the process.

    As Tyler the Creator would put it, “Live in the moment, %#$&&@.”

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