I tend to fall into an age group that came along at a strangely pivotal time in terms of technology. I opened up my first Hotmail account right near the end of high school (and clung onto the handle AOL IM handle “SopeDawg” for WAYYY too long), and then got my Northwestern address during my freshman year of college. My first cell phone was a couple of years into college. I had a PDA when those things came out. My younger brother was in the first wave of Facebook users, and that was my limit: I held out against that as long as I could before finally caving, now going on seven or eight years ago.
Nowadays, I have accounts on most of the major social media platforms but I feel oddly exposed when I post anything on them, so I don’t really do it all that much—only when there’s something that feels like I’d be doing friends a disservice by NOT sharing. I hate the idea of giving up private life. Spending time just cruising around Twitter or any of the others often sets off my dad’s voice in my head—“Oh, yeah, time well spent!”—the slathering of sarcasm I’d get any time he found me playing video games growing up. I have two websites that I’ve been bipolar about, by either updating them for hours on end or letting them languish for months without daring to go near them. I’m a devout member of the cult of Apple because I’m inexplicably drawn to my devices like they’re my precious babies, and they comfort me by letting me know that I don’t really have to know a thing about how computers actually work, but they’ll still do cool things.
That seems the way of many IECs, and I’m sure, since I’m on the younger end of the spectrum, that getting with the technological times is that much more painstaking for those still invested in their systems of filing cabinets and printed flyers.
But we have to adapt. We have to be tuned into the media and the quality of messaging that these kids have grown up so fully dialed into. How else can we speak their language? Everything else that is a fixture of kids’ day-to-day living is too slick and too fast and too sexy for us to compete for their attention (and their parents’ attention, for that matter) if we don’t find ways of adapting the the delivery of the guidance we provide to the times.
So—big things coming up in the fall. Stay tuned.
By Nick Soper