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March 3, 2010

We’re not different…We’re just artists

by mikediliberto

For the month of March, I’ve been contributing to my “750 Words” page, a private brain dump where I put 750 words per day.  It’s fantastic, especially when done at the end of the day.  You can even share stats from your writing.  As I suspected would happen, there have been times where my brain dump resulted in a blog post.  Like now…

Generation Y is a very different generation than our predecessors.  I know every generation says that, and in fact, it’s mostly true.  But the acceleration of the gap between generations is absolutely startling.  It’s like something of a “Moores Law” of generation gap, that is to say, with every generation, the gap between it and the previous generation seems to widen by a growing margin.  Good golly, what is generation Z going to look like? But seriously, I’ve been thinking about generation Y a lot recently, and I’ve come to some conclusions.  You saw a few in my video post yesterday, and here’s another.

The generation Y mind is a young mind.  Not to say that we are immature, but young in a different way, in outlook and in how we interpret the world.  In my video post yesterday I mentioned that one of the hallmarks of Generation Y is that we are not afraid to fail.  One of the reasons that artists are successful is that they are not afraid to fail either.  Bad photo?  Take another.  Bad sculpture? There’s always more clay.  Pablo Picasso said that “all children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up”; Generation Y, has, I think, stayed artists far longer than previous generations.

My mother worked for the World Book encyclopedia company.  You remember them, right?  They authored huge volumes of information and placed that information into lovely red-leather bound books with gold leaf edges.  Working for World Book meant that my mom brought home an endless supply of encyclopedia volumes for me to read.  Which was fine by me, geek that I was.  I could not get enough of them, I read everything that I could get my hands on.  I realize now that it is only through the acquisition of knowledge that we learn to make rational decisions.  I learned to learn by reading books.  Lots of books.  Today, people are doing the same thing by via the internet.

I’ve always loved computers as well. I had my first computer by about age 5 and as you can imagine my ability to write code in Basic on my TRS-80 was a real hit with the ladies.

I remember telling my mom that someday, all of the information in those heavy encyclopedias would be available right on the screen of a computer. She thought I was absolutely bananas.

Look who is laughing now mom!

Just kidding.

But seriously, the amount of information that is available to everyone, at almost any time, is startling.   Think about that.  I mean, I remember hearing about “Mosaic” from the guys in the computer lab, and after I had a play with it, I brought a copy back to my dorm room on 13 floppy disks.  I was hooked.  Really. I cracked open notepad and starting writing web pages a few days later. There we were, witnessing the birth of the internet;  sadly Al Gore never really did get his figure back.  And now here we are, less than 2 decades later, and look at how far we have come.  It’s almost easier to talk about the things that are not on the internet than it is to do it the other way around.  It’s funny to say, but really, I find myself doing that all the time.

Generation Y has access to all of this, basically the world of knowledge, right there in front of them.  They have grown up in a world where they have had to search for information, fail, and try again until they found it.  This action changes people.  I recently attended a speech where the presenter put forward his theory that people, it seemed, were changing the internet to mirror their behaviors.  That “these kids today” invented twitter because 140 characters is the limit of their attention spans.  I’m pretty sure he’s wrong, and in fact, I think the exact opposite is true. It is the internet that has enabled generation Y to evolve into what they are, a group of people that are hard wired to try, fail, and try again without getting bogged down. You know, like artists.

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