I'm riding between two huge waves these days: my parents are of a generation that understandably sees the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. as flooding society with Too Much Information, while my kids are surrounded by every available portal to access and share it.
I understand the merits of both sides, but I'm stuck in the middle.
To be clear, my parents have embraced technology. They email. They text the grandkids. My mom's on Facebook and Dad's on LinkedIn. They're all for sharing...just not too much. I think Mom would love Pinterest and I wish Dad would join Facebook, but you can't tell your parents what to do.
And, while I push my them to dive deeper into social media, I struggle to hold my kids back. I've got restrictions on their devices. Limitations on screen time. And, as any parent these days will attest: the most effective way to change negative behavior is by confiscating a mobile device for any amount of time.
As a writer, I utilize an array of social media platforms and applications to share and inform my work. I've discovered invaluable support and guidance by sharing my writing frustrations with other writing professionals online. I've gained a platform of like-minded followers by freely offering my work and opinions. It took awhile to appreciate how my transparency with strangers could yield such genuine relationships, but I got there.
I'm aware of the concerns of sharing too much information. In an age where cyberstalkers lurk, I try to be cautious with how much I reveal. Still, I think back to the days when my parents lived without the internet and cell phones. I'm sure they worried about where I was or who I was with, but the black hole was always there and that's the way it went. As such, these days, the Internet is here, and we're blasted with every imaginable angle of every data point someone considers. It's an overwhelming paradigm shift, particularly for people like my parents whose generation witnessed the mass introduction of products like the Hula Hoop, black box flight recorders, credit cards and seat belts.
Let's not forget, though, that the 1950s also watched (literally) as television became the dominant form of media. Newspapers and radio took a backseat -- as they always seem to do -- to the splash and seemingly endless appeal of moving pictures paired with sound.
The Internet is my generation's TV set. Just as my grandparents shook their heads when my folks dropped their Hula Hoops to watch the Beatles wiggle their hips on the Ed Sullivan Show, I get the sense my parents shake their heads wondering how and why my generation's so drawn to its screens...
Here in the middle, where I float between two crests of opinion, I try to see both sides and just hope the swells won't crash down upon me.