Blog Post

To pen or to key? Part 2

This morning, I did what I sometimes do after looking to my usual news sources for the daily rundown: I googled "technology" to see what new I could find.  As it turns out, one of the the first things that popped up was an old opinion article written by Stephen Shirley about the woes of technology.

I'm not sure that Shirley would have taken the time to list said woes if it hadn't been for his children expressing disinterest in watching a shuttle launch with him.  This disinterest set Shirley down a path of reflection, naming the haves of his children's generation versus the have-nots of his.  As someone with a sincere disinterest in the shuttle program, taking after my grandmother who feels the same way, I know that technology does not rule all, nor does it ever truly define a generation.

While I advocate for the smart use oftechnology and media, and believe that children and adults really need to understand the processes of making and using technology in order to make it better, safer, and more meaningful, I do not think that it should inhabit all aspects of our lives.  Similarly, I think something gets lost if people from one generation are forcing ways of life on their younger counterparts or vice versa (Note: I do not think that Shirley is forcing anything on his children).  However, exposure to the different forms of technology, say using cursive as formal writing instead of typing (as indicated by Shirley), show the evolution of print, that there has always been a time and place for formal correspondence, despite the form it appears in (cursive or Times New Roman), and understanding its forms and purposes is important to knowing its history, its function, its importance to humankind.

In these terms, Times New Roman is inherent to the evolution of print.  Humans are still adapting and will continuously adapt to their surroundings.  Thus, in a world with more people than ever and the mingling of many businesses, schools--all kinds of organizations--being able to type an email beats writing a letter in D'Nealian style.

The truth is, every generation clings to what they know best, all that has influenced who they are.  Just yesterday, my husband, brother-in-law and I reminisced about playing Oregon Trail and watching Doug on Nickelodeon.  Do we wish to relive 80s graphics and 90s television programming?  Maybe.  Truthfully, we're okay with what has evolved, because we know that we can take it or leave it.

I'll share discoveries of my childhood with my children, just as my parents shared their 8Tracks and Atari games with me.  But I won't be sad if they're not as intrigued as I was, or if they don't miss them as much as I do.  They'll have their own experiences with technology to live through, and they'll come to know each generation's sense of loss, what this un-graspable experience with time feels like too.


No comments