It’s not de-evolution, it’s participation!
I was a little late to the Internet game. Perhaps I was too busy enjoying the razor scooter for the whole two years it was considered cool, or maybe I was a little overcommitted to keeping my Sims alive. All I knew was that I had no idea what this “AIM” thing was that everyone kept talking about. Assuming I was safe when Y2K came and went, I figured it was about time I figured it all out.
I finally gave in and made a messenger account, deciding on Soccerchica1214 (because Soccerchica1- Soccerchica1213 were all taken––that was how late to the game I was). At first I didn’t understand why everyone would start a conversation asking, “What’s up?” or would type solely in acronyms (nmhby= not much how bout you). Little by little, I began to pick up their cyber lingo, (though I still to this day refuse to ever say “chillaxin”) and before long, I was hooked. The dial-up internet tone and AIM beats had quickly become the new soundtrack for my teenage life.
At that time, access to AOL was my silver lining for being the only high schooler without a cell phone. But as time went on, I discovered this other place called Google. All I had to do was type a few keywords into this little box and BAM! The answers would be listed a few moments later.
In the beginning, I would use the white box to tell me things like what “South Park” was or if Christina Aguilera really did wear a scarf as a shirt at the 2002 MTV Music Awards (it was tough being a kid without cable). I used it to keep up with the times so I could pretend to know what was going on in the world around me.
Finding My Place in the Conversation
But in the convergence of the social web, my personal engagement with the Internet has become less about finding the answers or exchanging messaging babel. It has become more about being a participant in the modern discourse and realizing my role in it all. I recently watched the movie “Bully”, and it was the type of film that made me want to get up and do something. The web allows us to take these kinds of emotions, these feelings about invoking change, and provides the platform. It takes an idea and brings that vision to life.
From the standpoint of a web strategist at Terakeet, I believe that search marketing is more about establishing a connection among the ties that bind us than it is obtaining a placement on a page. It is about driving the online populace to what inspires them. It is about taking ideas, creating messages, and inducing actionable change for things people believe in. This is how I view my job.
And while my generation may have been the one to come up with this hackneyed phrase, “What’s up,” we can also be the ones who come up with a better answer than “nothin.”
That’s what I want this blog column to be about. I want it to crack open the web and turn it upside down, allowing us to see that it is more than just a mass of users but a community of people. In order to do that, we all need to do a better job at seeing the person behind the screen. If we want to get closer to figuring it all out, it must start with each of us.
Here, I’ll go first. “What’s up with me? Well, a lot of things actually, but I want to start simple. What’s up with me is that I am just like you, trying to figure it out one day at a time as I seek out inspiration where I can. I am just another twenty-somethin’ chomping at the bit of life, looking to make a difference and feel a part of something bigger.”