Digital what?

The Walking Deadline is the staff blog of the Leaven newspaper.
The Walking Deadline is the staff blog of the Leaven newspaper.

by Moira Cullings
moira.cullings@theleaven.org

What was the world like before Google?

Ask this of little kids and they’ll probably picture dinosaurs roaming around the earth, or cavemen huddled around a fire. Teenagers will probably imagine their parents as young 20-somethings at drive-in movies and old-fashioned diners. Adults are likely to see themselves just a few short years ago.

Google, along with a thousand other technological outlets, has seemed to take over the world as we know it.

This didn’t happen overnight. It’s crept up slowly but surely, and it continues to evolve every day.

A tragedy to some, a triumph to others. The big bad world known as the Internet is here to stay.

I was born in the Millennial generation, making me a technological prodigy to every adult I know over the age of 40. I’m their go-to for questions about the computer, the Internet, the iPhone. “How do I make this picture bigger?” “Why can’t I open this document?” “How do I send a text message from my phone?” The questions, though amusing to me, are completely serious to the askers, who are always full of curiosity and amazement when I maneuver my way to the answer.

I grew up in the ’90s with kids who played outside after school until dinner, and then again after dinner until bedtime. My friends and I entertained ourselves by telling ghost stories and playing board games. We built forts and watched Disney movies. It’s funny to be called a “digital native.” Because looking back, my life didn’t always revolve around the Internet.

I got my first cell phone when I was a freshman in high school. An old hand-me-down from my dad, it was a flip phone I used to call my parents when I needed a ride home. I got my first laptop my freshman year of college. I really only used it for research projects and writing papers. All right, I used it for entertainment purposes sometimes, too. Ok, pretty much every day.

I’m glad I grew up when I did. I had a childhood free from the burdens of constantly checking social media, unlike many children today who feel obligated to do so. But I learned computer skills at an early age and am able to learn new technologies quickly as a result.

When I think of someone slaving away over a manual typewriter or using letterpress printing, I imagine that person dressed in attire from the 1900s, sporting an old-fashioned hairstyle and a heavy British accent.

As naïve as that sounds, to me, typewriting truly seems like it happened ages ago. It’s hard to picture a world with typewriters when today everything can be googled, tweeted, posted, liked, shared, etc.

I admire those “digital immigrants,” for whom it took great patience and constant effort to develop their skills and master their craft.

I’m lucky. I’ve always been able to type everything out by pressing a keyboard and clicking a button. Although this makes life easy, it also reduces the amount of excuses I can muster up for not finishing my assignments on time.

The one thing I wish generations before me understood is that the constant influx of new technology is overwhelming to Millennials, too. We aren’t technology aliens who have the information written in our DNA. It’s often perplexing to us as well.

But even with all the new programs, the strange software and the incessant changes, technology has given me a simple way to write, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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