Today as I sit here at Starbucks writing, I am noticing all of the people around me who are typing away on their laptops, cell phones, and iPads. As they twitter, facebook, email, and google away, I am left wondering how different your social and academic lives are from mine. At risk of sounding “old”, I am going to tell you what it was like “when I was your age,” just 25 years ago. Let me take you back to around 1986…
That's me on the right
First of all, there were no cell phones (at least not in my little world)!! If I wanted to talk to friends it would have to be on a land-line with a long cord attached to it. There was this thing called a “busy signal” if you called a friend and they were already on the phone. No interrupting phone calls, which was good and bad. There was no such thing as caller-id so you never knew who was calling.
Today, with Facebook and Twitter, we are able to know what’s going on in the daily lives of our social circle. This circle of people expands across the world, across ages, and interest groups. When I was in 5th grade, we knew very little about each other. We would get brief updates on families in their yearly Christmas card.
Academically, I remember doing a report on Germany in 5th grade. We had an old set of encyclopedias (probably published in the 1970s) that I used to gather my out-of-date facts. Luckily, I had an aunt living there at the time so I was able to write her a letter to get the current information. Today, we are able to gather all of this information with a few clicks. Now there is almost too much information!
Remember those REALLY old western movies where they would walk 10 paces away from each other and then quickly turn around and shoot one another? These were called duels. Well, I was snickering the other day when my husband and his friend were having a friendly debate about football but came to a disagreement over some fact. “I know I’m right,” they would both boast. Just like in the old west they both clamored for their iPhones, their “guns”, to google the correct information and shoot their partner down first. In 1986 these types of duels probably went uncontested.
In 25 years technology has dramatically changed how we do things. I wonder what students your age will be using in 25 more years!