Growing Up in an Internet World (Madrigal)

Alexis Madrigal talks a lot about how the saying “you had to be there” applies especially so in this age of the internet, and how future historians may not even understand our internet and the way that we interact with it. This made me think a lot about my relationship with the internet in general, and how I am part of almost the first generation in which the Internet has been available, cheap, and fully functional throughout my entire life.

The internet is not, to me, something new, mysterious, scary, or strange. I simply grew up with it, and it has integrated so much into my life that the idea of a world in which the internet is not a daily part of life is almost incomprehensible. Along with this comes internet culture and behavior — aspects of how people interact on the internet that doesn’t translate well to the outside world. One aspect of this, and one thing that very well may be lost to the ages, are memes. If you have ever tried to explain a meme to someone who its not aimed at (i.e. non-internet people), you may have a grasp on the difficulty of the situation. Modern memes require layers of knowledge, subversiveness, and jokes upon inside jokes upon inside jokes in order to fully understand why they are funny. Almost all of this information exists solely on the internet, so when the internet and the platforms on it inevitably go the way of Best Buy and Video Rental Stores, how will these ubiquitous pieces of modern youth culture be understood? Is this age truly a lost age?

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