Sunday, January 31, 2010
For a lot of people it seems like despite all the challenge, strife, elections, natural disasters, rights won and lost, it's hard not to feel like you just blinked and ten years whooshed on by and here we are the start of a brand new decade. As 2009 came to a close there was a ton of looking back over the last ten years - or as some have called it "the decade from hell." There were the usual media montages of the decade in pictures, the decade in politics, and the decade in celebrities and historical figures who have passed away. There are plenty of fun and serious retrospectives to sort and sift through as we try to place a nice and neat bookend on the first decade of a new millennium. One reflective piece that's worth checking out is an interesting and timely entry about 21 things that became obsolete this decade.
From landline telephones to email accounts you actually have to pay money for (remember that?!) the list is an interesting walk down memory lane. But "obsolete" might be a bit of an overstatement for some of the things on the list! Some things are still very much around and in use - at least for now - things like camera film (in the words of one Park School student "I love film!"), VCRs, and dial-up Internet connections. You don't have to go too far from West Hill to find some of these things not only in use but as mportant tools in the connectedness of people in our region. There are other things on the list that have simply been replaced by a newer generation of gadgets - PDAs, maps, and public pay phones are so 1990's you might be hard pressed to find a public phone or a paper map if you needed one! And still others are now accessed and shared in entirely different ways - phone books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, movies and music, and computer data and files...seriously...the first time I watched someone "bump" a contact file and a photo I was in awe. Access to and ease of transfer of data exist in a whole new world!
Not to mention the ways we organize ourselves, communicate with each other, and live our lives have changed - in some ways dramatically... though it's easy to lose sight of just how different some things are today than ten years ago. Think about this - LGBT people and organizations - whether student organizations or those that are national/international in scope - can create and share their messages, updates, news blasts, or invitations to events in entirely different and instant ways. Although it might still be possible for a middle or high school student in 2010 to think they are the only gay kid in their own school, with all that has changed over the last decade, that same student is also able to chat with others having similar experience, see more people and story lines with LGBT themes on TV, in movies and books, find nearby resources, or even be part of an extended online support network of peers and allies.
And with great advances come some cautions as well...one of the new buzzes around the corporate world these days is how to address new needs for building face-to-face networking skills for the newly emerging plugged-in generation. How can we harness the power, fun and simple pleasures of electronic social medias and connections without foregoing the skills, etiquette and value of a smooth one-on-one facet-to-face conversation. Perhaps we'll figure that out in the next decade!