There is a marked difference between how my half-generation and my brother’s engages with and approaches the Internet. I remember dial-up and still have my AOL.com e-mail address (it’s basically a giant spam folder, now). I weed through my Facebook friends weekly, de-friending those whose names I don’t remember or maybe never really knew. I have friends with separate work and personal Twitter accounts and those who take weekends off from the Web. We deal with the Internet with separation. It is a tool to be used and put away.
For my brother’s half — the younger set, the one that did not grow up in step with the Internet, but rather with it already established — there is no wariness, no understanding, no concept of an Internet identity. There is no such thing for them, for example, as “Internet famous.” There is only fame, and the allure of instant gratification. This is how cyberbullying has reached a fever pitch, and where I feel my half of this generation has failed the younger. —NYT
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