The Internet was a gamechanger for most businesses and professionals, as it changed the way everything worked and how people interacted. However, for me personally the internet was not a gamechanger, it was all I ever knew. Being a member of what the media refers to as “Generation Z”, I was surrounded by technology from as early as I can remember. Three-year-old me spent hours playing Snake on my father’s very large and very bulky Nokia cellphone. From the age of six, not only was I using a laptop consistently, I would, often to my mother’s annoyance, unplug our home phone (these used to be important apparently) and hear the screeching noises as the laptop connected to the very slow dial-up internet.
From there on out I was hooked, I would spend as much time on this vessel for infinite entertainment as my parents would allow me. I clearly remember the day we upgraded from dial-up to ADSL, which to me meant I could access my Neopets that much faster. One time while playing the massively multiplayer game Runescape, I was scammed for my coins early on by another player, quickly learning to be skeptical of everything and everyone on the internet. I would spend endless time reading about anything that interested me; rarely when curious did I ask someone more knowledgeable than me, I simply Googled my inquiries and read through the myriad of results until my curiosity was satisfied. I’ve owned a Facebook account since the 5th grade, which is unfortunate as ten-year-olds probably shouldn’t be given a public platform to detail their opinions and thoughts, but what can you do.
Nowadays, I don’t post to Facebook ever, I rarely even post to my Instagram. However, I do often (multiple times a day) share content on my “finsta”. Finstas, short for fake Instagram account, are exceedingly common amongst Generation Zers. These accounts are followed by a small select group of close friends, and serve to post all the content members of Gen Z wish to share, but don’t out of concern for our privacy and carefully curated social media presence. My generation is especially concerned with the sanctity of the information we wish to share online and the importance of having a good online image so to speak. Similar to the concept of a finsta, Snapchat was amazing as any photo you send only existed for ten seconds at most, this meant we could again freely express ourselves without consequence or concern for what others may see. Now that our parents and grandparents are on Facebook, we have for the most part moved on, maintaining Facebook mainly for it’s excellent instant messaging and group chat functions, also as it is incredibly useful for organizing events with large groups of people.
New operating systems, social networks, and upgrades to technology were never an annoyance as they were to my teachers and the adults in my life; when they would complain about the adjustment, I would welcome the new and improved features, speed, and efficiency. On popular music streaming site “SoundCloud”, the songs we listen to have been consistently decreasing in length to adjust for our shortened attention spans, listening to a full 4 minute songs is a bore if the song isn’t changing up, around two and a half to three minutes seems to be the optimal length for song nowadays. If something does not pique our interest immediately, there is little chance we will continue with it, let alone give it another try. If a website had advertisements that somehow make it through my AdBlocker, or videos that play without our consent, I will immediately exit. If a website has a technical issue or error or even loads slowly, odds are we will exit immediately, as my generation has no patience. Compared to Millennials, my generation is unforgiving if our needs are not satisfied, we are consistently suspicious of the motivations of everyone online, we have no “brand loyalty”, we will continuously move on to whatever we find to be best suited to our needs. We will constantly adapt, adopt, and maximize our utility from the online world.
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