Living Inside The Internet

Living Inside The Internet

"Ready Player One" was on to something.

One of my favorite things to do is sit down and talk about life with my parents and grandparents in the same room. I’m incredibly interested in the different perspectives we each bring to the table and I feel blessed to have an opportunity to hear firsthand accounts reaching all the way back to the 1950's. Intergenerational communication can be tough, though. One huge difference we face is the reality we each experience -- our differences in values and, really, just what we spend our time doing. My grandparents are both in their mid 60's, meaning that the Internet has only been commonly used for about a quarter of their lives. My parents, in their mid 40's, did not grow up using it, but were introduced somewhere around their late 20's-early 30's. Then there’s us. At 24-years-old I can still remember when we first got AOL dial-up in our home. I think I was 5 or 6 years old. E-mail and news sites, as well as informational places like Wikipedia was popularized in my early adolescence, and MySpace emerged as a social media giant the year I started high school. The Internet, in so many ways, is a defining characteristic of our generation, and the way it is perceived by us is often vastly different than the way it is perceived and used by many other groups of people.

Fast forward a few years to when smartphones moved from a luxury to a commonplace item. Access to the Internet -- whenever and wherever -- has changed the way it is used dramatically. Here is where the generations start to diverge in our perceptions. I want to preface the rest of this article by noting that this is the opinion of a single person (me), and I do not presume to speak for the immense sea of ideas represented by the term “Millennial” or any other generation. I do not believe that people are a certain way depending on when they were born, but I do believe that world events and societal demands push people in different directions as time progresses. My mission in this discussion is not to present anything as fact, but to make observations and hopefully spark conversation between people of different perspectives and age groups.

A sharp schism between the Millennial understanding and more traditional understandings of the Internet lies in its purpose. What are we using it for? Originally it seems like the Internet served as a sort of digital library. Websites were far more text-based in the beginning -- even the online gaming community was heavily text-based! But that’s not what it is now. The Internet is no longer a catalog that you go to when you need information and then leave until the next time. In every sense but the physical, the Internet is now an actual place.

I’m sure there were many eyebrows raised at my last statement, so let me explain my reasoning. More than ever Millennials and Gen Zs (and, admittedly, many others) are “hanging out” through their computer screens. Endless streams of Facebook messages, tweet exchanges and community document editing are now a part of many people’s everyday lives. Classes can meet online via video calling or Google docs, employers are turning to instant messaging and virtual conference rooms. Even our leisure time can easily be spent in bazillions of entertainment options thanks to the explosion of the online gaming community and film streaming.

I recently read a book called “Ready Player One," the premise of which took place in an evolved version of this Internet place. People had become so immersed in the Internet that they only got offline to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom. They didn’t care about clothing or leaving their homes because everything essential to survival was delivered to their door. Their bodies were attached to workout machines that moved with them as they interacted with the virtual world so that they would still get their exercise. Even money only mattered online, the place where their school, work and leisure took place. Sounds crazy, right?

Maybe not as crazy as it sounds. While this, of course, is an extreme version of a contemporary phenomenon, many of these concepts are rooted in today’s very real society. You actually can live solely on the Internet. Food actually can be delivered to your door for every meal. You actually can find a job online, interview via Skype, complete paperwork remotely, work from your laptop, have your paycheck automatically deposited into your account, make friends remotely, hang out with them in online games and never ever ever leave your house again. This is what the Internet means to us. I’m not implying that most of us never leave our homes; I don’t believe that. What I do believe is that the Internet itself has changed the face of reality for those of us who came into adulthood using it for so many aspects of life. It’s redefining who we are and what we think about. We are actually starting to form identities based primarily on our Internet presence as opposed to our tangible presence. What we say and how we look online may one day be far more important than what we say and how we look in person.

I’m not here to comment on the value of this change, just to point out that it exists. More and more I am beginning to realize just how significant this period of history is. Did the people living when the printing press was born realize how revolutionary that invention would be? How it would standardize languages and make literacy the norm? Is our experience with the Internet comparable? I’ll let you decide.
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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

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Age Doesn't Matter, You Should Still Play Minecraft

How my 10-year-old daughter has me playing her favorite game…


Minecraft is an online game by a company called Mojang where players can build and interact with cube-based worlds to create and play however they wish to.

My daughter has become obsessed with Minecraft. So obsessed in fact that she has dragged me into it. I've got an account now and worlds and we play in creative so we can build stuff. It's all rather odd to me, but she loves being able to play together, so we do. Here are my reasons you should be playing Minecraft no matter your age.

1. You Can Create Interesting Worlds

Apparently, there are tons of different types of worlds that can generate in Minecraft. You could play in the snow, a grassy plain, or even a huge forest of trees. The choices are endless.

2. You Can Build Tons Of Cool Stuff

We've made a house, a zoo, and are working on a massive treehouse in the sky. The possibilities here are endless too.

3. There Is A Huge Following/Community

So many people play and know Minecraft that if you get stuck on something like I did, you can always look it up and learn how to get that function to work exactly right when you need it to.

4. It Is A Great Way To Spend Time Together

Families can spend a bit of time working on a Minecraft world together. You'll get a chance to talk to and connect with your kid and they get to play a favorite game. It's a win-win situation.

5. It Is Actually A Whole Lotta Fun

This is pretty self-explanatory, but I have had a blast learning how to play Minecraft from my 10-year-old. She has just recently stopped calling me a noob (new player) every five minutes, but if I do something really silly in the game she still says that it was a noob moment.

Overall, if you've never played Minecraft, you should try it out just once to see all the great things this game can do.

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