First about Sunni
Sunni explains how she was raised to be familiar and comfortable with computers. She started using the Internet in the early days, continued through college and relies heavily on social media to maintain connections with family across the country. Her primary news sources are national, with little local news. Sunni explains the effect:
As a result of having spent the majority of my adult life firmly entrenched in learning, researching and collecting news and information on the Internet, I find that I am fairly disassociated from any sense of locality.
During the discussion last week, we considered whether there was a whole generation similarly lacking a sense of locality and, therefore, unlikely to be interested in local elections, such as the Dallas mayoral election. Again, from Sunni’s post:
I DO care, but because of my submersion in the world of Internet news, my understanding of politics and issues is heavily slanted toward a national scale. If it’s not covered by NPR, The Daily Show, or my favorite local blog, I won’t know about it.
Then about me
Understand that I am quite a bit older than Sunni; we are definitely not of the same generation. However, we share much of the same perspective about our “place” in the world. Although I still live within about 10 miles of my childhood home, I view myself as a citizen of the planet more than as associated with any particular place. Perhaps because I have settled where I was born, I view “place” as a matter of chance or circumstances more so than an indication of who I am as a person. I am from Dallas, but Dallas is not who I am.
The other commonality Sunni and I share is that much of our active, engaged, daily world is virtual – here with all of you. By definition, that implies that less attention goes to our place of residence. This is a relatively new phenomenon that was not available during my youth. Now that the opportunity is here, I have embraced it and it seems right.
Finally, the question
Is social networking of the generation or in the genes?
I have no doubt that many, many more young adults are wired and comfortable with social media than are so in my cohort. However, I also have no doubt that many baby boomers are technologically savvy, blogging daily and using social media like it was the best thing since, well, color television. From all generations there are also those that shun technology and could care less about connecting to anyone they cannot see, hear or touch.
This makes me think that having a propensity to engage in social networking on the Internet may be a very personal attribute – in our genes more than our generation.
The generational influence, then, would mostly be a factor of opportunity and comfort; older folks have to work harder to learn new skills that were not taught during their traditional school years. I know a bunch of older, life-long learners who have made this investment and would now be just as lost without social media as I would be (and apparently Sunni too.)
I sense that locality has less significance now than it did 20 years ago. Maybe it’s part of the whole flat world phenomenon.
I’m interested in hearing from you, no matter your generation, about the relationship between age and social media and sense of locality.
Are others like me, feeling as much or more connected virtually than to a particular geographic setting?