July 31, 2014

Day 60: What Is the Internet? And Other Questions Our Parents Ask.

This is the green dot, the binoculars of this generation's Peeping Toms.
Relatively speaking, I am pretty bad with technology. To me, an operating system and a network are both just that green hill in the Windows XP background, and as far as I'm concerned, the only way I got my Blogger blog to redirect to my GoDaddy domain name is because Danica pulled a few strings.

But the thing is, having grown up in this generation, I have a fundamental understanding of technology that generations before me just don't have. I sometimes forget that my parents grew up in a time when safaris involved zebras and giraffes, whereas now days babies come out with a free iPad.

Take my office for example: our networks (operating systems? whatever) have this feature that the younger attorneys and I refer to as "the green dot." We call it the green dot because the basis of the feature is indeed... a green dot.

Everyone in the office has their own green dot; it sits on Outlook right next to their name for everyone to see. The purpose of the green dot is to let everyone know your status. If your dot is green, you're at your computer. If it is yellow, you've been online but have left for a few minutes. If it's grey, you're not online. And if it's red, you're busy.

The younger attorneys use the green dot for general stalking purposes. Sometimes, when I'm trying to get hold of a particularly elusive partner, I will stalk that partner's dot until the dot says go.

But as basic of a concept that it is to me, the office is distinctly separated into those who know the dot and those who don't. And that line is about 45 years old.

The older attorneys may have a slight understanding of the dot, but if you walk into their office telling them that you've been stalking their dot for hours.. well, you might as well finish with "hashtag YOLO," because they're already that far gone.

My point is that we often take for granted how easy technology comes to us. Give a 22 year old any sort of phone, and he'll be able to send a text message within three minutes. Give a foreign phone to a 52 year old, however, and you'll be lucky if they figured out which way you swipe the lock screen.

So the next time you get frustrated with your mom when she asks you to stop changing the Google, just remember: be glad she knows what the internet is at all, and thank God you weren't born in the pre-green dot era.