Instantly be matched with singles in your area with Tinder. Send pictures to friends which only last 24 hours with Snap Chat. Watch videos that only last for 7 seconds on Vine. Express your thoughts in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Find all the short films, music videos and tutorials you want on YouTube. The online world prides itself in its immediacy, quick accessibility and convenience. To most these are the great attributes of the internet and as a result of this our lives have vastly become easier, but what if you’re a generation raised on the internet? What if you’re a generation that sooner considers Facebook as a place to socialise than the playground or YouTube the first stop for a ‘how to’ rather than a teacher? My generation has been built on immediacy, accessibility, convenience and as a result of this we are a generation that is well and truly all about living and revelling in the fleeting present. The words long term, patience and forever are as foreign to our modern vocabulary as VHS, dial-up and Myspace, instead they are now replaced by the words now, now, now.
Wait, what’s the big deal? Nothing is ever meant to last forever…But that’s the thing, the internet is cramped with young people doing dangerous, ludicrous things with the aim of a mere 15 seconds of fame at the end of it. Young people posting scantily clad pictures of themselves on Instagram for a few instant likes and comments. If we continue to allow ourselves to fall into the YOLO, hedonistic, only the present matters mentality; none of our greatest inventions, art, stories or achievements will ever reach further or have any impact past our generation. Just imagine in 200 years from now, I promise it won’t be fitness models on Instagram or WorldStar Hip Hop videos that will be remembered, instead it would still be the likes of Shakespeare and Thomas Edison. Eventually our achievement won’t even have a footnote on the history books, it would be like our generation never existed except on the dust covered servers of Snap Chat and Tumblr.
I’m not saying social media and the internet has doomed us all, alternatively what I am saying my generation in particular shouldn’t be concerned with doing pointless stunts or courting purposeful controversy just for a passing appearance in the limelight. On the contrary we should be using social media platforms to start more grass-root social activism, act as a space to express our true thoughts and be the hub where we showcase our hard earned talents. Maybe it’s through rose tinted glasses, but I feel my generation is far more open minded, creative and intelligent than other generations before it and I just hope the history books would remember us for it.