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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21 BuzzFeed Quizzes To Take When You're Trying To Procrastinate

Why study when you could be on BuzzFeed?

According to my previous article, 12 Things That Are Only Acceptable In College, spending 2.5 hours taking BuzzFeed quizzes is completely acceptable if you're in college. With it being that time of the semester when the list of things to do is never ending, sometimes it's easier to just ignore your problems and spend your studying time procrastinating. If this sounds like something you need to do, here's the ultimate list of quizzes to waste your time on.

1. Reply To Your Crush's Texts And We'll Reveal Your Future

Wondering what you're going to do with your life since you're probably going to fail that exam that you have tomorrow? After all, you are taking BuzzFeed quizzes right now instead of studying. This quiz will answer that question for you.

2. Which "Gossip Girl" Character Are You Based On These Random Questions?

This one's a classic that you just can't possibly skip.

3. Build A School Uniform And We'll Guess Who You Were In High School

If you're like me, you always secretly wished you had a uniform in high school so that you didn't have to pick out an outfit every morning. Now you can live out that dream and find out what it says about you.

4. We Can Guess Your Age After You Build Your Own Dream Home

If I got 70's, does that mean I have timeless taste or terrible taste?

5. Pretend To Go Shopping And We’ll Figure Out If You’re More Ann Taylor Or Ann Taylor: Loft

Ladies, this is an important one.

6. Plan Your Day And Find Out Which "Grey's Anatomy" Girl You Are

Maybe if whatever you're doing right now isn't working out, you could become a doctor...

7. Create A Makeup Look And We'll Tell You Which Hogwarts House You Truly Belong In

Or you could become a wizard.

8. Pick An Outfit And We Will Tell You What You Do For A Living

And if neither of those work out, this quiz will tell you exactly what you should do.

9. Spend All Your Money At This Drug Store And We'll Tell You What You Should Be Doing With Your Life

And in case you didn't like either of the previous suggestions, you can see if this one is any better.

10. Build A Dream Castle And We'll Tell You What Type Of Unicorn You Are

Since unicorn everything seems to be the rage right now, you'd better keep up.

11. This Reverse Word Association Test Will Uncover Your Personality Type

This one's for those of you who don't have the patience to get through the Myers-Briggs test.

12. Design Your Future Backyard And We'll Reveal How Many Kids You'll Have

If you're going to have more than 2 you better get back to work so you can support them.

13. Pick An Outfit From Patagonia And We'll Tell You How Long You'd Survive In The Wild

Find out if running away to the wild is really a better option than struggling through that 10 page paper that's due at 8 am tomorrow.

14. Which Character From "The Office" Are You At YOUR Job?

Let's hope you don't get Kevin.

15. Which Meryl Streep Character Is Actually Most Like You?

Are you as mean as Miranda Priestly?

16. Take This Picture Test And We'll Tell You Your Best And Worst Qualities

No need to prepare for your next interview, just give them these answers.

17. What Kind of Bathroom Guest Are You

Are you actually a terrible guest?

18. What % Gross Are You Actually?

Or maybe you're just gross in general.

19. Your Food Preferences Will Reveal Which TV Character You Are

Are you more Blair Waldorf or Michelle Tanner?

20. What Grade Are You Getting In Life?

Are you literally failing at life right now?

21. What Type Of Emoji Are You?

Instead of a signature scent, you can have a signature emoji!

And if these didn't take you long enough, you can always check out BuzzFeed for more.

P.S. Good luck studying for that exam. Maybe you can find a quiz that tells you how to ace it.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Wasting Time Online Is Pretty Beneficial According To Smart People

It's time to learn something new today about how technology is changing the world of interactions!


I think one of the greatest investments you can make in modern time is anything to do with technology. It feels that every single year we keep getting introduced to newer crazier tech. Tesla is literally out here making cars drive themselves, we just put another rover on Mars, and I can use Alexa to turn on lights in my room, the future is here! These are positive changes in society, I'll tell you why newer technology even more valuable than ever before.

Alright now that I set you up with a great teaser, it's time to give some backstory.

So, researchers have been studying this concept known as Symbolic Interaction Theory (SIT) for many years, but it hasn't been until recently where they discovered how new technologies can help explain/enhance concepts to take them to the next level. SIT, originally created by philosopher George Herbert Mead (he had a great mustache) in the earlier 20th century, looks at how everyday social interactions make up society. In other words, he explained that individuals communicate together using symbols and context that define the overall interaction.

After this revolutionary discovery, researchers had a freakin' field day. A lot of studies about influence, shared meaning, and perception have been done as a result of SIT, but now thanks to that good ol technology, SIT is getting revamped in a pretty awesome way.

Researcher DJ Gunkel took some time away from spinning records and started looking at social interactions through online video games using avatars. To his amazement, he noticed that despite all the interactions taking place online, they mimicked how real-life interaction would take place. Pretty standard stuff, right? Wrong. This is huge for the field of SIT and it impacts each one of us, yes especially you.

My dude Gbola Olasina did a study demonstrating why this information is important.

He realized as technologies become more realistic, virtual worlds can be used to study how interaction happens in the real world. Instead of putting together major research studies that are expensive and time-consuming, researchers can now use simulations to get almost identical results. Results can be applied to an insane amount of possibilities. Teachers in a classroom practicing new methods? Easy. A business implementing new employee protocols? Cake. Why suburban moms feel the need to speak to a manager? You bet!

It's like that time Neo learned how to fight in the Matrix except we're using it for productive reasons.

What kind of technologies help with this you ask? Well, have you heard of HTC's Vive Virtual Reality console? The research possibilities are genuinely limitless.

Let me fill you in with an example. My roommate Austen is currently a research engineer for a company I don't know if I'm allowed to say or "cidkiiats" for short. In one of his recent projects, he created an entire store showing off brand new items his company had to offer, all in Virtual Reality. As people joined in and visited the store using their Vive, "cidkiiats" was able to watch their consumers interact with one another and talk about which products they were most excited for in real time.

They were able to track interaction and gather data about their consumers from remote locations! Georgey Mead would be foaming at the mouth with these types of possibilities ladies and gents.

It's interesting to think about the fact that a theory that was created over a century ago is getting reused thanks to a changing world. The potential is unmatched, we'll understand interactions and how they naturally occur all through some video games or simulations. This is what it's all about ladies and gents, the future is only going to get smarter.

It's ironic that all my "wasted" time on video games could potentially become valuable data for researchers.

Checkmate mom.


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