You searched for the HC Point Park website. You read this unique, quirky headline. You clicked on it. You waited a couple milliseconds. And now you’re reading the article. I can guarantee you did all this in less than a minute. I understand that this is how the internet works, but step back and think about it for a second. It’s Godspeed.
In the last 50 years, we’ve seen more technological growth than the rest of human history. Millennials – those born approximately between 1981 and 1995 – are the first to witness the exponentially-growing phenomenon. Generation Z, sometimes called Post-Millennials or the iGeneration, refers to those born between 1995 and 2010. As a member of Generation Z, I constantly witness the instilled need for immediacy in our technology-driven culture.
We’ve grown up as “digital natives” with the knacks of navigating and mastering Internet platforms. In fact, about 92% of us have created some sort of digital footprint.
The top applications on our already enhanced smartphones include Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Notice how all three concepts are all completely based on the immediacy of real-life events. Instagram is designed so that pictures are instantaneously posted, allowing us to receive notifications of the exact moment when our pictures are liked by other users. Twitter is composed of a universe of tweets- a blurb of information that doesn’t exceed 140 characters. This means we are becoming more accustomed to communicating our ideas in a shorter character count. This isn’t something that should be necessarily celebrated. Especially considering that under our current leadership, Twitter has become the main source of communication between POTUS and the general public. Finally, Snapchat was originally designed for us to send ‘snaps’ that disappeared within a 10-second span. It’s almost as if the snaps are meant to resemble the milliseconds it takes to snap your fingers. Talk about urgency.
It’s become a reality where bitesize slogans are our major form of communication. We read headlines and convince ourselves we’ve read the full article. Our love for 6-second Vines transcends cultural boundaries. Yet it has managed to generate an attention span of 8 seconds, 12 seconds less than what was recorded in the year 2000.
Patience is Lacking
This mentality is not only damaging to my training for my career path, but for my personal development as well. The ability to have this power at our fingertips has made some of us lack in the little thing called patience. The accessibility to an entire universe of information is a given to us, so when the slightest possibility of it going away emerges, we go into a panic. Slow internet is almost worse than no internet.
Early-Starters are More Common Than Ever
A recent discussion in one of my classes involving our fears and frustrations as young adults brought about an idea that resonated with the rest of my classmates. The sooner we become successful, the better. We all felt the same pressure to be successful in our younger years. These are real students who regarded early success as a more impressive affair than allowing time for growth and maturity. And in fact, they’re not the only ones who think this way.
Inability to Sit Still
Immediacy has made us particularly lazy when it comes to literature. To be successful in this economy, the more versatile you are, the better chance you’ll have at employment. And with the rapid development, it seems versatility is no longer just a suggestion, but a requirement.
But There’s Good Too! Exhibit A- Multitasking
On the other hand, we find ourselves thriving when it comes to multitasking. Typically, a lot of us find it easy, even commonplace, to juggle multiple things at once. A student can watch the Bachelor while working on a character analysis paper on Hamlet. Another can work on a class journal while indulging on some Netflix. I could not tell you how many times I’ve seen this.
Now, this one is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, because of the imminent technology-fueled workplace, it’s an asset to our professional toolkit. Understanding how to manage technology to our advantage so that we respond to e-mails on our phones and take our laptops everywhere, increases efficiency altogether. The one thing we need to watch out for is piling a dangerous amount of activities into our fledgling plates. I know of many cases in which people have completely burned themselves out.
Millennials v. Generation Z
In comparison to our Millennial predecessors, we were brought into the world right after the cusp in which technology became pivotal to our society. We’ve inherited some of their traits while obtaining refined skills that make us adaptable to the ever-changing world we’re living in. In fact, you might even start to see a trend of preferring keyboard shortcuts over the manual use of the mouse. Gen-Z’ers process information at a faster rate than any other generation.
A whopping 72% of teens say they want to start a business someday. Our Instagrams and Twitters have taught us how to build our brands online. And online content creators are the first of their kind. Our generation is also significantly more global than our fellow Millennials, and this goes as far as saying that Gen-Z’ers “have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country”. Our sharp understanding of self-discovery makes us one of the most self-aware generations, with 40% of Gen-Z’ers identifying themselves as digital device addicts.
According to an infographic by Wagepoint, the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004. In a mere 6 years, nearly an entire workforce was created. In fact, half of the information a student in a four-year college program will learn in their first year will be outdated by their third year.
The truth is, no one has the power to tell you what you can and can’t do with technology. And I’m not advocating you become a bad texter either, but it will not kill anyone if you postpone your response because you want to avoid feeling controlled by your notifications. It fuels the idea that constant reassurance is the norm. Although I am not one to actively avoid the application craze, I am a complete advocate for self-awareness. To Gen-Z’ers: chill out from the screens once in a while, but go change the world.