An Identity Conundrum- Me, a Digital Native?

I have often found myself feeling bad for the millennial generation, because they will never know a time before the “Big Brother” world of social media.  These poor kids will never know what it’s like to unplug, to have a fully engaged conversation with those around them, to not have practically every living moment documented by them (or for them), or to never know what it’s like to not be available at any given second.  It got me to thinking, is this what our parents thought about us with the introduction of colour television and VHS into our lives?  Is what the older generation experienced in their youth always going to be considered the “good ol’ days”?  I’m beginning to think this may be the case.  I believe a shift needs to occur from viewing technology, specifically social media, as a drain on our younger generations’ intellect and ability to engage, and instead direct our focus onto how many of the social media apps are currently, or may potentially, serve as platforms for social change and intellectual development.  After all, it is through this technology and the “digital natives” who engage with it that tomorrow’s “next thing” will emerge.  Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be looking back to a much simpler time when we could connect with all those around us by posting pictures of special memories and simply comment at the push of a button to let those we love know that we “liked”?

I very much appreciated that the speaker in the “Do Digital Natives Exist? video highlighted that simply being born after 1980 does not bestow upon you the title of “Digital Native”.  I, for one, have been very stubborn in coming around to the digital age into which I was born.

Seriously, my grandmother possesses much more “Digital Wisdom” than I do!

A big reason that I’ve been resistant to the adoption of the digital era in my life, is the same reason I’ve always been terrible at taking pictures… I don’t want to miss the real thing!  It always blows my mind when I see concert-goers videoing large portions of the show.  Why would you watch through a 3×2 lens when you can have the real experience right in front of you?  Then again, perhaps my confidence in my own memory is greatly over-estimated! Thus, the idea of IRL has always seemed a little foreign to me.  The mere fact that the tech-speak “IRL” is well known and commonly used is a bit frightening to me.  Should there be such a prominent dichotomy between real and make-believe within our society that we need to identify when we’re referring to our reality? YIKES!  Then again these are the opinions of someone who held many a conversations with her imaginary friend “Jelna”… girl was always getting me in trouble.  As a new mom and teacher, I am very much aware that technology, social media, and the ever-evolving “next new gadget” is here to stay, and it’s time I get on board.  While I’d very much like to earn my “Digital Immigrant” status, I want to maintain that it will not be to an extent that it will interfere with MRL (My Real Life).


One thought on “An Identity Conundrum- Me, a Digital Native?

  1. I really enjoyed your post Bree. I totally agree with the point you made about people trying so hard to capture an experience on their phones that they end up missing the real thing. It is kind of sad to think about the fact that we sometimes live on offline lives in a way that we are trying our best to capture it in order to post it online later. That it’s not enough to simply have an experience, but that in order to it to have value we must post it and get see how many “likes” it gets online. Your post was a good reminder to take the time to disconnect more often and enjoy living in the moment.


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