Consider the following: guilt trips. I told you so’s. “The look.”
You would be correct if you associated all three with a displeased parental figure. I’m sure many, especially those ranging in their 20’s, can relate.
Now, for the sake of journalism, picture this plausible scenario.
The phone rings.
Twenty year old (cheery): “Hey, mom! Just got back from dinner. How’s it going?”
Mother (breathy): “Well, your father and I just had a long discussion and we think it would be of good judgment to take down the blog you just posted.”
Twenty year old (holding breath): “Can I ask as why?”
Mother: “I… your father just does not seem to think it is appropriate to share something so personal with the world. We wouldn’t want this blog to jeopardize your ability to land a job after you graduate.”
Twenty year old (defeated): “Okay. No problem. I’ll take it down.”
Mother (overly sweet): “Are you upset with us? I mean, is it really necessary to be so public? You don’t think it’s at all too much?”
Twenty year old: “Mom, did you actually read the blog or did you just skim? I think if you read the entire piece thoroughly you’d be able to answer all your questions and concerns. Did dad even read it?”
Mother: “No, your father didn’t read it. I just told him parts of what I had read. You really don’t think this is something you should keep to yourself? Or post under another name? Ultimately it is your decision to keep it up or not but we think it’s best if taken off the Internet. I hate to be the bad guy but we just want what’s best for you. Here, talk to your father.” (Hands the phone to husband).
Father: “Hey there, kid. So, can you explain to me this whole blogging thing? Is it part of that Book Face nonsense all you people post your lives on? I just don’t understand why you would want to make yourself a “poster child”. Now listen, you’re gonna do what you want to do regardless of what we say but I don’t know, kid. If I was in your shoes I’d be more concerned about my other studies and landing a job rather than spreading my diary online.”
Twenty year old (attempting to keep composure): “It’s not a part of Facebook, dad. It’s on a site called WordPress and it basically allows writers, professional or not, to publish posts about topics they want to share. It’s a way of establishing and connecting with a community. I wish you had read the blog because maybe then you would have recognized that my entry was more about creating awareness rather than crying for attention. But it’s okay. I’m deleting it as we speak. No big deal.”
Father: “That sounds like a good idea. Have a good night. Hope the rest of your day went well.” (Hands the phone to wife).
Mother (sincere): “I’m sorry to rain on your parade. You’ll think of something else to write…”
While it can be extremely discouraging to encounter this sort of chitchat with your folks, there is something to be learned from a scenario like the one written above. For one, always be mindful that your parents generally have your best interest (even if it inconveniently disrupts your creative mo-jo. Word of advice: pick up a new hobby or direct your energy elsewhere). Aside from that, what also can be learned is that what is published onto the Web may or may not be controlled by one’s own “free-will.” To a certain degree we have the right to freedom of speech and the right to freedom of the press.
Key words: to a certain degree.
I think many twenty year olds can vouch that there are certain aspects of their lives still manipulated and controlled by a guardian or higher upper. Unfortunately, unless you have younger parents or ones who are hip and with it, there is a gapping disconnection between the two generations. Let’s put it into perspective. In most of our parents’ prime, the thought of publicizing anything remotely personal was considered taboo, distasteful, and shameful. For those part of Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, we have grown up to be more open-minded, confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat, and receptive to new ideas and ways of living (Main). Therefore, when it comes to the art of blogging our perception of what is seen as “too much”, “too risqué”, “too personal” is much, much different compared to those born during Generation X, which include those “Debbie Downer” Baby Boomers (shout out to my own ma and pa). I know, personally, that there is a true struggle in trying to express the Web’s positive contributions to older generations who seem to think that it has done nothing but bring about unwanted self-absorption.
Kevin Kelly, the co-founder of “Wired Magazine”, published in August of 2005 “We Are the Web.” In his article, Kelly provides some very interesting points. “It’s not hard to find smart people saying stupid things about the Internet on the morning of its birth. In late 1994, Time magazine explained why the Internet would never go mainstream: “It was not designed for doing commerce, and it does not gracefully accommodate new arrivals.” Newsweek put the doubts more bluntly in a February 1995 headline: “THE INTERNET? BAH!” The article was written by astrophysicist and Net maven Cliff Stoll, who captured the prevailing skepticism of virtual communities and online shopping with one word: “baloney.”” (Kelly)
Now, here’s what makes me chuckle. Kelly was born in 1952. He is part of the Baby Boomer generation and yet he is capable of admitting to these narrow-minded, absurd, and naïve statements that have since then been proven fallacious. The Internet, the Web, whatever you may call it has exceeded its own expectations and developed into something so grand that even Time Magazine and Newsweek (mind you, two sources that now have their own websites) have become two globally searched web entries. Oh, the irony!
So, what am I getting at?
Well, I think what Kelly wrote in his article offers insight as to how change is often frowned upon. I also think it shows how technology holds a certain stigma, or at least once did. If my train of thought is moving in the right direction (I hope I haven’t lost anyone!) all of this ties into the conflict between generations in regards to how the Web it used. Question: What do I consider this blog post? Answer: It’s not a diary entry. It’s not a self-reflection. It’s not a pled for attention. I consider this blog post informational; something to make you think a little more in depth than you may have prior to reading it. I consider it a way of connecting with others who may agree with what I have said, or maybe not BUT THAT’S O.K.! I consider it a space for generating creativity that promotes writing, reading, and communication. Here, let me offer a comparison that perhaps those part of the older age bracket might be able to familiarize with…
Blogs are just individual newspapers that are written (usually) by 1 person that pertain to topics of their choosing without being printed on tangible paper but rather easily accessed at the touch of a finger a tip. And just like newspapers, blogs can include things that are oozing with juicy details, controversial, and provide insight from all sorts of viewpoints.
Would you look at that! Generation gap has been filled in! #Didn’tEvenHitTheEasyButton
To the twenty year olds who may feel stifled by older generations who think this form of media is not appropriate to voice opinions or issues or topics that dance on the line of the unmentionable, don’t sweat the small stuff. Grab your laptop, pull up a chair to your desktop, whip out your phone and enlighten your parents, grandparents, cousins, professors, whomever you choose with all that blogs have to offer. Have them physically hold the device, ya know get real close up and personal, and show them that this is where today’s news, stories, headlines, research, documentaries, recipes, arguments, awareness, thoughts, and feelings can be found. Maybe they still won’t be too keen on the idea of YOU publishing anything of that nature, but it’s a step towards gaining a mutual understanding and connection. After all, that’s what blogging is all about.
XO – Tomasetti