The confines of today’s generation

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Sunday, January 8, 2012


IT WAS just one of those Youtube videos of babies usually shared in Facebook. It showed a baby “working” a magazine like it was an iPad.

There were the usual comments of “awwwww? she’s so cute”, and stuff like that. I kept my comment to myself because for me it went beyond just coochie-cooing over a baby.

It was 1997 and our office had just transferred to a second internet service provider, Interasia, the second ISP in Davao; the first being weblinq. I can’t remember much about weblinq, they simply installed and then disappeared. Interasia had something else, a technician who was so excited about the internet he wanted to share his expertise with anyone who listens, I was just as excited but didn’t know anything, and so he showed me how a button is made using HTML (hypertext manual language, the script you use to make everything you see in a website).

I was hooked.

In that simple button that depresses as you click was a world of wonder for me. For how can something that you just typed down using letters and characters on a keyboard appear like a real button and can even be pressed just like you would a button. If you can’t imagine what I’m saying, then think clicking “shut down” as your computer prompts you. That rectangular button is not there. There is nothing there but letters and numbers in a program script, but you can press it like it had substance.

That button was my introduction to what is called virtual reality. From that button came a self-administered website of Sun.Star Davao, which went online way before the Sun.Star network had theirs. All because of a fascination with a virtual button.

The fascinating world of virtual reality, however, is already lost in today’s generation or even just the generation soon after ISPs came to Davao. For these generation, there is nothing fascinating about clicking on a mouse to press a button. It just is. In the same way that there is nothing fascinating about moving your pointer finger and thumb outward to enlarge a screen. That is how it is. That is their reality, how it came to be is a fascination reserved for the generation who started from televisions that had switches you have to turn to change channels.

Now, there is the remote, now there is iPad, and now, almost every clickable button is virtual. The fascination now is in the speed, the design, the portability, and yes, the Apps. How lucky these young ones are today, because they are so techno-savvy, many say. How unlucky because they never had the chance to appreciate how everything took form and then sped up, I say. Everything now is there at a click of a virtual button and of late, at the touch on the screen. Anything slower than that is not worth their time.

Along with it is a tendency to go for quick money, quick growth, quick making it in the world by simply announcing in the social networks that you are an expert in this and that. Self-proclaimed experts on anything google-able and copy-pasteable are all over. To impress is the name of the game. Never mind if the brain is not filled with the necessary armaments, anyway, even philosophical thoughts can easily be googled and old concepts can be revised and photoshopped it all depends on how fast you can click that mouse. Think, Pilipinas Kay Ganda.

Just as fast is how they live life it in the confines of their generation -- the internet generation where WTF and cusswords are cool and calling oneself a B-tch is a declaration of a woman’s freedom to express. (It’s mind-boggling how many of these young generation girls find it liberating to call themselves female dogs. I love dogs, but I’m proudly a woman, a girl, a human. I’d concede to an occasional b-tchiness, but I will never call myself a B-tch. In the same manner, I love cats but I don’t spit and scratch, I simply befuddle you with my wit and pizzazz or cut you with my tongue.)

And yes, this is a call to appreciate everything, including how seemingly real virtual reality is, and yet to remain fully aware that it is but virtual, that reality has no substance. This is also a call to please clean up your language. Education is so expensive these days, don’t waste what you got, or what your parents gave you.

saestremera@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 08, 2012.

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