Saturday, 20 August 2011

Don't call me a silver surfer

It's official. The golden generation previously known as 'digital natives' no longer exists.

Researchers at the Open University have decided that there is no generational difference between how people use the internet. It's more about learning styles or something. (I think this is just an academic take on 'you're as old as you feel'.)

Thank goodness for that.

I was getting tired of hearing how a whole generation that's not mine knew more than me about the internet just by accident of birth. I've always thought, anyway, that the whole 'generation' thing makes as much sense as astrology.

Being born into a world with computers doesn't mean you're born knowing how to use one. You have to learn, like everyone else. And if I was using the internet before you were born, I can, at least, claim to be an early adopter.

Because they were new, I made the effort to learn how to use computers. And because I deliberately chose to learn, I ended up knowing what I was doing. I went on evening classes. I read books. I spent hours 'surfing' (as we called it then) because I just happened to be back at university - with free web access - just when things were getting interesting.

I'm 53 years old. I have three Twitter accounts. I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Spotify and Google+ (OK, my circles are empty, but give me time). I edit websites for a living.

So don't think I'm out of touch just because I don't own an iPhone. Don't offer me books with titles like 'Computers for seniors'.

And don't, just don't, call me a silver surfer.

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