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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Digital Natives

Opinion article by Tyler Pecore

The dynamics of our social discourses and interactions has drastically changed since the beginning of the 21st century. We now live in a ubiquitously digital environment. Generations born into this new age have been described as digital natives.



This jungle can connect people and ideas from around the world in a matter of moments. This is truly an achievement and advancement of humankind’s social interactions some argue.



Others state that this new era only deconstructs our social interactions and isolates our experience. Both arguments have valid points, but both arguments typically lack in elaborating on how to balance both identities (your physical one and your digital one) in an environment that is increasingly relying on the use of digital social interactions.



To this day, this discussion has always fascinated me, mostly in part due to that I surround myself with digital social interactions daily. I must confess that I cannot count how many times I checked Facebook today or browsed the online news.



Most of us have some sort of online identity whether this is a Facebook account, online shopping account, chat room account, e-mail etc. Within the last 20 years of web development, we have seen an explosion in alternative ways for us to interact.



But how does one find a medium or middle ground of balancing one's digital self with one's physical self? And what could be the benefits of finding such a medium instead of leaning towards the extremes of either participating in digital social interactions completely or abandoning them entirely?



This question is unanswered and will continue to be. We are still in the early years of completely understanding what we have created and how to properly harness it. This diagnosis has repeated itself through the long history of  humankind’s inventions.



We do not know what will come of everything that we invent, take the printing press for example, but at some time or another we will and at that time history will be made. I believe we have reached that threshold with digital social interactions.



On a daily basis, I balance my time from real world interactions to digital ones. It is from experiments such as mine and yours that we will figure out how to maximize our new creation and minimize our negative repercussions from it.



This statement is obvious in itself but difficult enough to pin down and define and worthy enough to still write whole scholarly books about. So I encourage you to embrace your digital environment and your physical one and see what happens when you blend them into one.



Who knows? You might come up with the next best thing in finding a harmony between them both.






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