July 19, 2012

What Makes Us “Us”: A Guest Post

Today's guest post is by frequent contributor, Dianna Zisman. We share nearly identical interests, philosophies and senses of humor, so I requested she attempt to find the source of the commonality. To try and find what it is that makes us "us", so we can find more of us, and go build a city together. The following is her thoughtful, humorous and insightful reply.

(guest post by Dianna Zisman)

In our day, video games featured an 8-bit plumber dodging fire-breathing plants while throwing turtle shells at  brown blobs. My voice is in the background of half my cassettes because I had to tape songs I loved off the radio...using more than one cassette player. Long phone calls meant chaining yourself to a wall and meandering around the kitchen for 20 minutes. The allure of 5th Grade computer lab was losing half of your possessions in an ill-conceived attempt to ford the river in Oregon Trail. Our GPS was Rand McNally.

Now? My iPod now has four times the hard drive space of my first computer. My Kindle has over 150 books. I probably sent more e-mail in the last month than handwritten letters in my entire life. I’m no longer startled when my GPS talks back to me (recalculate this, lady). And I’ve taken lessons on how to play the guitar, juggle, and perform surgery (at the same time!) from people I’ve never met, half the world away, on YouTube.

Anyone born between, say, 1977 and 1987 has the unique pleasure of knowing two completely different worlds (pre- and post-computer age) and appreciating bothUnlike those whippersnappers born in the early-to-mid 90s, we can send 20 texts a minute and work a rotary phone. And tell you why Tetris > Halo. At the same time, we don’t look at a ringing cell phone and ask “how do you stop this jukebox from playin’?!?” [actual quote from a friend’s grandma]. We get the most out of social networking because we’re young enough not to scoff at its perceived triviality, yet old enough to understand the best way to use it in combination with other media.

This shapes us beyond the tech, too. A lot of us avoid being stuck in the old v. new paradigm because we say “forget old, forget new...what’s the RIGHT way?” Hence the increasing popularity of a certain political philosophy with us young’uns. Obviously, not everyone in our generation shares the same mentality, but when we open the conversation with “what doesn’t work in our society, why, and what’s the best way to fix
it, grasshoppah?” we attract a lot of like-minded people.

Oh, and just as important: we share an appreciation for Arrested Development. In fact...yeah, forget everything I said above. It’s all about Arrested Development.