On my ride to the train station this morning I was tuned into Al Jazeera radio. As my mind drifted between the broadcast and my plans for the day I heard the host of the show detailing the role Facebook was playing in an upcoming election in India. A reference point that several years ago would have felt very inside baseball was dropped in passing. As if any cultural event of an significance was going to be well represented on a site that was, not that long ago, just for college kids to poke each other.
Last week while I was in NYC a friend slightly older than me noted that our respective generation was living in an interesting wrinkle in time. We were born into a world without the internet. We remember what rotary phones were. We made mixtapes on actual cassette tapes. We drove to stores to rent movies, buy cds and purchase physical books.
My kids won’t have these analog artifacts as touchstones. Or, in many cases, millstones. They will be the first of a generation born digital and will see the world and it’s possibilities through a very different lens than I will.
Anthony from Hype Machine made the following observation after a recent Skrillex show:
As the room lit up with projections of Call of Duty footage, Nyan Cat animations and sample-heavy bass, I couldn’t stop thinking that this show was among the signs that “Internet culture” is now just culture.
Watching the rise of internet culture crossover into simply culture is a powerful shift. The possibilities of a generation unencumbered by analog thinking presents a huge set of new possibilities and challenges.
Who’d have guessed that an off handed comment from a Skrillex show would capture so much of this moment in time we’re passing through.