There indeed is such a thing as your ‘Internet Age’. It is the sum total of the number of years you’ve been exposed to the Internet, mostly to the doldrums of social media. What does that mean and what are the implications?
Well, for starters, your grandpa, who only recently joined Facebook on insistence from your younger cousins might make a faux pas on the Internet, which you are too matured to make at the virtual social gathering. This, and few little bit more crucial aspects elaborated below.
Internet age can be classified into four main categories. Here they are along with symptoms to identify where you fit in there.
~ I. The Toddler ~
You have just learnt that Facebook thingy lets your friends say “Hi” to you, and lets you say “Hi” to them, and lets everyone say “Hi” to everyone else, and so on. Also, your distant friend posted a B’day cake on you Wall (huh, weird! Why call it that? It clearly is my computer screen, and not a wall!), and you called him up to learn to send the cake thingys to other people, and now you send them to everyone, even outside their birthdays. You post online once or twice a month, and those posts are so embarrassing that your well wishers don’t want to acknowledge that they came from you. Now you know why they didn’t like them even when you electronic-mailed them to do so! Also, your niece told you about this weird restrictive writing platform called ‘Tuitter’. These signs clearly signify that your Virtual Umbilical Cord has just been cut because you plugged in the power cord of your computer and finally took up to ‘Internetting’. Congrats, you’re born on the internet!
But mind you, some Internet Toddlers can be very conscious, very mindful! We all had that ‘cool guy’ down the lane who never pooped his diapers. Of course, that wasn’t me.
~ II. The Kid cum Teenager ~
You chat and chat and chat. You comment on every shitbuggery you can find. You are proud of your little ‘wall timeline’ out there, and of all the ‘Friends’ and ‘Followers’ lined up in there, who would give you a moderate number of likes on everything ‘incredibly smart and funny’ that you post. Some of you are early bloomers, and come out with flying colors here. The rest of you are just ignorant here. You post silly pictures of yourself on the Internet, because you want to prove that you’re really ‘fun’. You’re happy; you see the rainbows of the Internet, you follow the butterflies on the World Wide Web, you run into wild animals making love behind the playground. You nag yourself to walk back to where you started. But, will you? Of course, this isn’t going to destroy your childhood, but your curious clicks might cause your accounts to spam other people’s timelines with weird advertisements about masculinity and manhood. This is where gender biases become evident to you in life. If you’re a girl, everyone will think of you as “poor kid” who might have “accidentally clicked on some shiny button”. If you’re a guy, you’re just considered downright pervert. Troubled Teens! If you’re a guy, you recite the hymn “Girls will always get more followers.” If you’re a girl, you’ll say something to the tune of “A million followers ought not to be enough for me. A Billion sounds like Okay.”
Oh, and this is where you might find ‘true love’ of your life as well, not to last this next stage of life. Naughty adolescence!
~ III. The Adult ~
Of the thirty things you used to love about the Internet, that you swore you couldn’t live without, you hardly love three now. But those three, you love by heart. One of them is definitely Google, your faithful friend. Ironically, you’ve silently deleted or are completely inactive on your Orkut profile. You scroll down and down on your Facebook page to remove any conceivable signs of the dumbness of your internet-childhood. You’re a goddamn adult now, and you live like one. You don’t pick up fights in the Facebook comments section. You don’t have conversations about your weekend on your Twitter account. You follow good artists, musicians, businesspersons, corporations, etc. Basically you’re bored of and are boring to the Social Media. You need to move one. You yawn at your screen 80% of the time. You’re basically a nice person. A busy person, with more important shit to do than Share and View random things. You’re sometimes found on Youtube watching Cat videos, music videos, documentaries, but that’s about it. And yes, your typing speed had set new records!
~ IV. The Old ~
Whenever you see people around you, you go like “Been there, done that.” Things do not interest you much anymore. Most of the ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ that you drop around are those of goodwill. You often say “for the sake of old times” while doing it. You’re done. You’re still secretly proud of your little ‘wall timeline’ out there, and of all the ‘Friends’ and ‘Followers’ lined up in there. You no longer count the number of likes you get for anything, because it is plenty. You seek Nirvana. Salvation. Good Riddance.
Internet is no longer your ‘playground’. It’s just a place where you are, like the green, grassy park outside your window, which was heaven when you had homework to do and class-teachers to scold instead. After retirement, you just find solace by sitting on that one wooden bench to the corner.
Where am I? Considering the fact that I’m updating my blog (and that I have a blog), you might find me in one of the words in the Adulthood paragraph. Maybe. Where do you see yourself?