I’m feeling mildly uncomfortable as I scan for my parents in a room full of 50-somethings. They chatter and buzz about how they are, how much money they’ve made, how successful their children are, etc.
It is their college reunion and somehow I’ve been coerced into picking them up from the swanky high-tea event.
As I wait for my parents to wrap up their conversations, I lazily sift past the cliches I know I will have to face a good 30 years from now. (“Oh my God, you haven’t aged a day!”, “My girl is taking two degrees in Harvard and my oldest boy just made his first million in his three-month-old business. Nothing fantastic.”)
Through all the harmless drivel, I suddenly hone in on one conversation involving Mindy’s ex-boyfriend’s bellbottoms and [insert other 80s cliche here] and everybody in their group falls apart, snorting and chuckling, basking in the glory of an old joke’s resurrection after it’s been buried for 30 years.
I shudder and then realise: This is a picture of how our kids will view us at our reunions.
Except it will be worse. Because Internet humour and early 21st century culture, if we’re honest with ourselves, is far more baffling than bellbottoms, afros and awkward pop music.
Oh, it’s not baffling for us, since we were incubated in this environment. We are the initiated.
But if we view ourselves objectively, it’s easy to see why even our parents think we’re a species of our own. In particular, the Internet and social media have influenced the way we think and speak, the jokes we crack, the cultural references we make and the way we live our lives.
What is with the obsession with cat videos? What is a ‘troll’, or a ‘rage face’? Why are there so many people breaking out into a choreographed dance and song in a public area – and why are there hundreds of cameras whipped out to record the event? And how in heaven’s name will ‘liking’ a page on Facebook contribute anything to a social cause?
This blog is intended to be a museum of the weird and wonderful world wide web as we know it, and I, a 21-year-old digital native of the early 21st century, am its curator, collecting the knickknacks of an oddball period of history as well as viewpoints from my peers.
Hopefully, this will make it easier to explain to your kids why we love our rage faces, in 30 years.