OPINION: iGeneration

BY: DANIEL GOLDSBARY

OCTOBER ILLUSTRATION

The freshest generation to be named is thought by older generations to be vain or narcissistic, with their endless selfies quickly snapped via smartphone and the multiple social networking platforms used to gain praise for them. It seems that no one can really settle on a specific time frame during which they were born, but they seem to be closely related to the Millennials. Generation Z is largely comprised of those who are just now entering college. This group was raised in a world where online communication was the norm since childhood; they don’t know anything else. Having to rely only upon land mail is a foreign concept, and heading to a friend’s house without texting prior to leaving is unheard of. Communication during class is now much more advanced than artistically folded handwritten notes.

While there are aspects of smartphones that are not entirely productive or beneficial, the very notion of what they provide is frighteningly powerful. It’s a lifeline to parents, friends, and emergency services. It’s a navigational tool. It can be a portable encyclopedia. It can connect people that would have never spoken or met in their lifetimes had this form of technology not existed. We’ve gone through the spectrum of technology, from hulking PCs hogging desk space to the most recent release: the Apple watch, which is essentially a more powerful computer than any of those old PCs ever could have been, and it can be worn on your wrist.

With the advent of online social networking, a new avenue has opened for aspiring stars or hopeful revolutionaries. All a person needs is a YouTube account and some marketable entertainment skills or a powerful message. And followers, we can’t forget about those. Without followers, our constant posting of personal information and photos couldn’t be viewed as anything other than narcissistic. Gaining exposure no longer calls for a cross-country trip to Hollywood, the glitz encrusted hub with a rotting underbelly that can eat you up and spit you out.

Obviously the ability to communicate with strangers on the Internet poses many risks. This generation has given birth to a new form of deception commonly known as catfishing, which is frequently portrayed on television as some insecure individual posing as someone more attractive in order to get people to communicate with them. What’s not shown so openly is people who catfish with much more malicious intent. The infamous title of the craigslist killer was first attributed to Philip Markoff, an American medical student who was convicted of armed robbery and the murder of an innocent woman.

So where might the advancements in technology go? I feel that this constant advancement is a self-sustaining circle of supply and demand. Businesses can see technology growing and in turn adapt their services and operations accordingly, prompting companies like Apple to continue improving their products since it appears to be a consistent sales opportunity. The public then has to conform in order to succeed in these businesses, also buying into the new products. This self-perpetuating cycle is revving the engines on this technological revolution that seems to have been taking off in the past decade.

This generation could be on the cusp of greatness. Perhaps they will further realize the power at their fingertips where everything can be accessed from your phone. Different types of technology that used to be one-dimensional are now becoming more interactive and customizable, providing many possibilities for developers and users to change both the digital world and the one we live in. Users can gain fame, spread knowledge, start a revolution, connect with far-off cultures and generations, and access a plethora of information all with just their thumbs.