Tag Archives: internet

Millennials: Talk to Your Parents About the Dangers of the Internet

I say this jokingly, but I think anyone who was over the age of 30 when Myspace came out should have to take an internet competency test before being allowed to use social media. As a Millennial, I am grateful to be part of the last generation that remembers life pre-internet- my childhood was Snapchat, texting, and dickpic free. Today’s adolescents can’t comprehend what life would be without the internet, and Generation Y and Boomers can’t comprehend having a childhood that has the internet. We Millennials are in a unique position in that we came to age during the epoch of the Digital Age- we were teenagers during Myspace, and learned how to navigate this whole new way of communicating and expressing ourselves digitally and IRL, side by side. So, for the most part, we know the rules and we formed the culture. 

old people computers

honestly, this should be illegal

A new study  published this week found that older people spread more fake news than younger people during the 2016 election. (Duhhhhh.) But this is a real problem and it’s easy for me to get frustrated by it. It’s evidenced not just within the digital-political, but within the digital-personal, as well. Old people don’t understand the internet the same way that millennials do. I’m sure we all have a family member who has been hurt because we didn’t like their status or didn’t accept their friend request. A few years ago my dad (and hold up real quick, shout out to my dad, who is legit the smartest/wisest human I’ve ever met) asked me, in a very kind and concerned way, if I was ashamed to be a Collins (my last name) because my Facebook profile name is my first and middle name. Whatt?? I felt so awful- legit that thought never even crossed my mind. Never had I the thought of being ashamed of being a Collins in my entire life.

And it comes down to this gap: I wasn’t aware that my internet action caused him pain, and he wasn’t aware that Firstname Middlename nomenclature thing was a thing. I explained to him that I chose this naming because I didn’t necessarily want to be easily searchable on the internet, and he got it. The Culture of Internet Communication (is there a word or phrase that exists for this yet? lmk plz if so) is still in its forming infancy. We’re all just figuring it out, but I can tell you this, the generation gap here is wide. We are not communicating online effectively between generations, and that’s where fake/non-important news has a good opportunity to take prey.

So what do we do about it? Well, combating it head on, which means kindly calling out fake news when you see it, even if it seems like not that big of a deal. When your mom’s friend is sharing news that isn’t true, message them and let them know. When you see someone getting outraged over news that isn’t news, let them know what’s up, with kindness and compassion. These rules go for everyone too, not just old people. Because outrage is contagious, and it is best to save our energy for things that matter, not a fake story about an Atheist orthodontist giving mandatory abortions to all of her pregnant patients. 

The Digital Era has birthed this new age of Post Truth and learning how to effectively utilize the internet is paramount as we gear up for 2020. Luckily, we have an advantage: we know the culture of the internet. We grew up in it. Some of us navigate it easier than others (the study found that people who spend more time on the internet spread less news… once again, duh). We can utilize this to educate people who don’t understand the internet and save that outrage as fuel for more important fires.

 

 

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Social Media Isn’t Real (And That’s Okay).

Two quick reminders: Social media isn’t real and I write this blog from a female feminist perspective. My views may be completely off the wall compared with yours (isn’t that cool?!), and whatever the next few paragraphs say, they are no means an attack on anyone I personally know- I feel we can all relate to this shit, na’mean?

i like you more than the instagram you

This is probably true, unless ur a garbage person in real life but super sweet online.

So recently, a few people have commented on pictures of me and my finance on social media, saying things along the line of “perfect couple” or whatever. And I’m not gonna lie, that attention is kind of a nice feeling, but nonetheless I’ve been really, really taken back by these statements. Because a picture alone cannot tell you much about our relationship. I’m not saying that my relationship with my partner is bad or anything like that, but it’s definitely not “perfect”, and I don’t want people thinking that about us, because, well, it’s not true! Also, just real quick: no one’s relationship is perfect.

I know a lot of people have been feeling less-than lately because of internet culture, and I just want to reiterate that social media is not real, and perceive people’s “realness” based on their social media persona can be super toxic, yo. What we see online of people is just part of their cultivated digital personality. Ok, wait a minute. Let me back up real quick. What we see online is of real shit, but the meaning we infer from it is not real. I like social media. I get to see pictures of my friends kids, of my family that lives far away, and just funny shit that my friends post. However, thinking that these pictures are actually a true, complete representation of these people’s lives is way misleading.

Yo, you wanna know the real kicker is? It’s that our feeling of less-than in comparison to someone else’s social media life actually has everything to do with our own perceived inadequacy. Feeling envious of anything or anyone is totally based in how we feel about ourselves, right? We can’t be envious unless we are comparing ourselves to someone else, and if we feel shitty about ourselves in the first place, than jealousy is gonna come around a lot quicker. It sucks that social media makes people think that their lives have to be a certain way because their “friends” lives look that way. Also, this is a pretty big realization that I had to learn the hard way, through years of being jealous (including being jealous of people online). I totally was in the camp of “I suck at life because my house is always messy, I don’t know how to be super crafty/good at makeup/athletic/rich/someone who travels a lot/insert whatever here, plus I have split ends and acne on my face”. It wasn’t until I learned that it is freaking impossible to compare my true, authentic personality to anyone else’s, that I started to feel better about my less than perfect life. We are all unique, and that’s a freaking wonderful, crazy, amazing thing! If my house was spotless, and super beautifully decorated from shit I made, and if I went surfing every weekend after having a brunch of grass-fed grass, well… I probably wouldn’t be super thrilled because that’s not being authentic to myself! It honestly took me basically my whole life to understand this- that there is no reason to compare myself to anyone else because it’s comparing apples and anti-freeze. We’re all different and that’s dope.

Ok, ok ok, I’m being a little overzealous. I totally still get jealous sometimes. I look at people’s Instagram posts and that thought will come in my head- the “I’m not worthy” thought. The thing is now I have a following thought that is, “oh shit, social media can’t communicate what the real truth is behind this picture, and this person strategically picked this photo to post”. ALSO, I don’t know what your motive was for posting that photo, just like you don’t know what my motive was for posting another picture of my dog (it’s because my dog is the fucking cutest and I want the world to know).

And also- it’s totally okay to post whatever the fuck you want. Who gives a shit. And if you post something like a selfie because you are feeling shitty, and want some superficial attention- dude, that’s okay. Or maybe you’re really feeling yourself and that’s why you post a selfie. Dude, do you. Sometimes, when I’m down, I’ll take a selfie and filter the fuck out of it because it makes me feel better. But here’s the deal- it’s still not real, and once we all start realizing that about social media, I bet you $5 that a lot of people will start to feel better about their lives. I think social media can be a really great thing. We just have to keep in mind that it’s not real before actual, real emotions develop in response.

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