I’m a Millenial, and what that means (aside from all the terrible accusations from Baby Boomers about how lazy, entitled, and stupid we all are), is that I grew up with the internet. We were the first generation to have it entrenched in our lives from a young age. I’m one of those lucky ones who’s seen the change rather than being born into it, and I have no shame in saying that I love social media.
My family had a computer when I was six, maybe earlier, I don’t remember. I had email when I was eight or nine, though I had no one to email. When I was 17, I had a MySpace, and when I got accepted into college, I could join Facebook–back when you still needed an .edu email to join. Suddenly, I could connect to people I hadn’t seen since middle school, people who’d promised to write and call, and all those other lies you promise people who move away. Of course, the reason they don’t call and email is because you probably weren’t that good of friends to begin with. I can count on one hand the amount of people from middle school that I keep in touch with. It’s even fewer from high school.
The internet is a magical place. Back in the day (read: mid-late 90s), it was filled with ugly geocities websites, one of which was mine, a multi-colored mess with stars that followed the cursor when it moved, about my rabbits. I made my first website when I was probably 11 or 12. I used to spend hours trying to make it perfect, enough time that I would get yelled at for using all the internet time (back when you paid for a certain amount of bytes or whatever it was for the month). Wikipedia didn’t exist. Google didn’t exist. Youtube didn’t exist. I used to use Dogpile as a search engine because I liked dogs. I was a simple child.
I’m not gonna lie: even though I’ve had access to the internet for most of my life, I never really cared until college. This was 2005 when social media was out of its infancy and growing rapidly. There were tons of social media sites, many of which I joined and promptly forgot about. A few years ago, I went searching for my old profiles so I could clean up my online presence and found things I hadn’t even remembered I’d made. I’ve been on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, MySpace, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Youtube, Instagram, and more I can’t think of. I’m not a teenager anymore, so I haven’t really bothered with SnapChat, WhatsApp or Vine. I have 3 blog/websites, and I’ve had others in the past.
The best thing that the internet as done for me is the ability to meet people I never would have otherwise. It was always hard for me to make friends in school, which is why I hardly talk to anyone from school still, but on the internet, you can talk to people you wouldn’t normally, you can say what you think (to an extent, let’s not be assholes). I still maintain that the internet is a magical place. It’s not as magical as it used to be, but there are tons of things I wouldn’t be able to do without it. Where else can you learn to install a toilet in two minutes without leaving your house? Magic.
I love the internet, and I’m glad I’m a Millenial, despite all the shit that gets dumped on us. No worries, though. In a few years, they’ll forget about us and move onto the next generation and how they were born with a phone in their hand.