I want you to stop and consider something for a moment. Our generation is in a truly unique position in the history of the world. We are the first to have not only grown up with the Internet, but grown up on the Internet. This is the critical difference between us and everyone gone before us.
Call us the Millennials. Call us the next Lost Generation. But there is something more to us.
After all, it is they that come up with the terms: we surf the Net. We cruise the Web. We are lost in Virtual Space, careening through the system of Tubes that constitute what is, to them, nothing more than an overly addictive game.
But it is not a game. One plays a game. We don’t “play” the Internet. It is as critical and ever-present in our modern environment as the grass beneath our toes or the atmosphere that holds us to it. It is not external—it is connected. It is not alternate reality, but another layer of reality itself.
Which is to say, the Internet is not something we use. It’s something we live—on it, inside it, alongside it, frolicking with it down memory lane, what have you—but it is an inescapable facet of our existence. We use the Internet to keep in touch with those both near and far, to organize, to research, to prepare. We plan with it, chart calendars on it, study, and dream through the wondrous expanse of its pages. Friends and enemies rise and fall online. Love and hate flourishes and dies in its expanse. Some of the greatest debates (and the tackiest) in the history of mankind are no doubt, out there, in the expanse of the Internet…Online, eternal, waiting.
For us, the Internet has never been something we needed to “learn.” It is an evolution—another entity, sitting alongside us in the classroom, aging and lengthening before our eyes. It is continuous. In it, we grow, and through us, it grows. It is. It simply is.
What more need I say? The Net is a part of us. It’s not tacky sci-fi, not some Utopian paradise—it is, at its simplest, the collection of thoughts, ambitions, emotions, which embody Us. It is us. Let the history of mankind be writ large upon it.
And let the folks on it learn to start treating one another as equals. But hey, that’s just commonsense in facet of life, isn’t it?