Two siblings and two perspectives on one digital era
By Jessica Vitullo
I recently had an epiphany: my intelligent, web-savvy 13-year-old sister has never lived in a world without Google. She doesn’t remember having to use the phone line to connect to the internet, has never used the once-popular search engine AskJeeves.com and grew up using USB sticks instead of floppy disks. Remember when we thought these technological inventions were actually good?
The extent that technology has changed over the years got me thinking about how people today have the capability to do much more and it wouldn’t have happened without the internet. With Skype and emailing, we can remain in touch with family and friends from around the world; we can buy clothes, vacations and even groceries online! Forget the weekly trip to the bank; you can pay your household bills online.
Not only has the internet made our daily lives much easier, but it’s also changed the way we get our information. With social media websites and web browsing on our cell phones, information is literally in our hands in any given second. People used to wait for the daily newspaper or wait for the nightly news broadcast. So why wouldn’t the way we hear about news change?
Online newspapers and magazines allow readers to browse stories, skim headlines and read up on everything going on around the world without waiting for breaking news stories to be - well - old news. We can access news, videos and documents about anything with the click on a mouse or a tap on a cell phone. People can be made aware of news the moment it happens, giving journalists an edge in providing readers with the most up-to-date information. This way, you will be in the know about whatever it is you should know about.
The Telegraph published an interesting article in February explaining exactly how much information we are exposed to on any given day. Check out these stats:
- We receive five times as much information every day than people in 1986.
- Between emails, text message and other methods of digital communicating, one person produces an average of six newspapers worth of information in comparison to two and a half pages in 1986.
- The equivalent of 600,000 books is the amount of information that can be stored in computers and microchips.
This is a huge feat. What’s fascinating is this is the digital era that my younger sister, along with millions of other kids, are growing up in. The nine-year age gap between the two of us illustrates how people today will be very used to this constant access of information, something I only began to learn about when the .com boom first happened. It hasn’t always been like this, yet it feels like we’ve been living in this era forever.
Jessica Vitullo is an intern at the Toronto Star. She works in the radio room. You can follow her on twitter.