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A Gen-Zer’s thoughts on digital communication

“With social media taking off in the 2000s, we are thrown into a sea of electronics and internet-based communication with only the most recent generations able to navigate it. Views of this technological world differ from person to person, but more generally, from generation to generation. I decided to get more than one generation’s view on the technology and social media debate by asking my parents (Generation X, typically around 40-55 year olds) as well as a millenial teacher at my school (typically between 26 and 39). Then there is my generation, Generation Z (10-23 years old).

During my correspondence with my design teacher, Mr Ferguson, I soon discovered a whole new perspective on social media and technology. Our conversation took many different paths from adapting to today’s technology, to views on technology itself, to technology in the future. From his perspective, this new age we have entered can be so difficult to navigate if you weren’t born into it.

Something we discussed is the format of texting. Generation Z text constantly, with little thought to pick up the phone and call someone directly. What we end up doing is throwing out our ideas as they come to us, similar to a phone call or face-to-face conversation, by writing short bursts of texts. I noticed that when my parents text me, they tend to use full sentences, complete with punctuation, and format their texts as paragraphs. Although short texts are quite an efficient way of texting, Ms Ferguson pointed out that miscommunication can be a larger issue here, as the point you are attempting to make gets lost throughout the multitude of texts.

I realised at some point during our conversation, how much Generation Z takes for granted. As Mr Ferguson began to tell me about his experience growing up with technology as it expanded, I began to realise how much I had never even considered before. A common feature on many texting platforms is the three small dots that appear on the screen to indicate when someone is still typing. He found this a brilliant addition to technology as it can avoid miscommunication if you are able to see that someone is still finishing their thought. This is something I never thought about, but it just shows how little Generation Z was a part of this technology process.

We are not defined by the statistics that group us into ‘old people’, ‘less old people’, and ‘young people’ because we are so much more than that. Technology is growing every day and it is our job to keep up with it, because there’s a chance it could save lives. Rather than arguing over the problems with each generation, we need to overcome them and work together, for the future, because everything changes, it’s what inspires us and pushes us to be more than we thought we could.”

By Clodagh Cunningham, 11th Grade