Rulers of…the Internet?

// Posted by on 01/15/2012 (11:31 PM)

The internet, mass media, social networking, and communication have reached new levels in the past ten years. Here in Virginia it takes approximately six seconds to download a 4-MB music file according to WIRED magazine. Within seconds information about anything can be pulled up on the smallest of deceives. Thirteen year old children carry around IPhones, main newspapers have apps in which you can get instant current events, and television shows can be streamed through the internet. The world is connected in every way possible and who is at the center of this? Us. This generation that has grown up in the age of technology and new media is leading the way. We have become authors of the internet; we have changed the face of how information travels.

Websites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Foursquare, and Myspace have changed the way we communicate in between people. We no longer pick up a telephone and call someone when we want to spread news. We simply post a status, send a tweet or long in at our location. You can become the King of Gold’s Gym after logging in multiple times, you can become Tumblr famous after gaining thousands of followers. People like Taylor-Ruth Baldwin a 17 year old high school student created a blog showcasing her chronicle of high school angst one summer as a way to vent her pent up frustration. Now today she has over 15,000 followers. She has become Tumblr famous. High school and college students are becoming rulers of the internet. They are creating trends and running with them. Twelve year old, Thomas Suarez is creating IPhone apps and developing programs to teach other middle school students how to do the same.

But what makes you a ruler of the digital world? Is it your ability to gain followers and friends? Is it you’re content? Are you funny? Are you something fresh and new? What if it’s just the simple fact that you know a little more than the older generations about the internet and this new technology? What if there is nothing extraordinary about you and you are just like every other person your age? If that’s the case then how do we find the balance between these competing generations, both trying to find their place in this new age of technology? How do we find out who is controlling this vast internet world?

We don’t. We will never know who controls the internet because there isn’t anyone who controls the internet, it’s an open vat of information that people can put in whatever they want and take out whatever they want. The internet is what we want to be. People use it connect all over the globe. A stranger picks up a person’s layaway bill out of a simple gesture of kindness, they do this because someone else did it and posted about it on the internet. We are interlinked all over the world because of the internet. We are all rulers of this new digital age where everyone accesses the internet on a daily basis.

If we have sixth graders developing apps and high school students are gaining thousands of followers on blogging websites, are we teaching the right things in school? Should students be learning how to code? Should we be integrating this technology into school systems or should we continue keeping things how they are?



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Tommy said...

At first I was going to try and argue that digital competency to the point that a person can “rule” a particular digital space wasn’t something that necessarily needs to be taught in schools. I was going to list several reasons, but the most important reason I thought of was that having a major following on twitter or mastering tumblr wouldn’t mean that that person would go on to be more successful in life. Then I remembered how much money some of these “digital stars” can make. The person featured in my own blog post, Philip DeFranco, has mentioned in some interviews that big youtube stars definitely make a salary in the 6-figures…. usually in about a month. He himself has said that he pays himself (since now he is big enough to have his own online-based company with several employees), $150,000, but did not specify whether this was per month or per year. While this isn’t typical of every digital star out there, he doesn’t really have any special talents other than an ability to read the news and make a few jokes. Meaning, just about anyone could do what he does and make that much money just for making youtube videos. Since this is the case, I would answer your question with no, we are not teaching the right things in school. While some things definitely cannot be taught, I think kids today need to be very internet-literate, since so much of what we do today, as you pointed out, as moved online.

// 01/17/2012 at 9:47 pm

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// 01/21/2012 at 7:34 am

Bridget said...

Although being tech-literate may not seem that important to many of us, your post makes it clear that our generation should be. We use the internet in so many ways, so why shouldn’t we be tech-savvy?

I used to think that being tech-savvy was only necessary for computer programmers or technology majors, however it seems that practically everyone our age uses computers and other devices for much more than the basic word processor or search engine. We blog, tweet, post, etc. every day. Shouldn’t we learn the language of cyberspace like we learn English? Shouldn’t we have classes in school that require we gain a basic fluency in coding and cyber-know-how just as mandatory gym classes made us run the mile?

It seems that as the new generation of technology users we have a duty to become fluent in this new facet of life. It makes sense that as technology continually and rapidly advances we need to make coding and cyber skills a second language. Why should only a select few be literate in cyber-talk? We all use computers, iPhones, iPads, and other new-age devices – so we all need to learn how to really use and improve them.

// 01/23/2012 at 9:55 pm

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// 01/25/2012 at 6:52 am

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// 01/29/2012 at 4:27 am

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// 01/30/2012 at 2:03 am