The other day, I was standing around at work, listening to Emma talk. She'd just gotten back from LA where she'd gone to visit family, and was talking about her family and how much they mean to her. And I was thinking--okay, you really don't want to know what I was thinking, because except for my kids, I'm not really a family person--it's weird how different we are. Not so much that Emma is Mexican and I'm Asian-American, but the way we handle information.
If she has questions about something, she asks someone--usually family, but also friends or people at work. She's very people-focused, and so is the only server close to me in age. I used to think it was just me being weird that I get most of my info on-line and through impersonal sources, but I'm starting to think it might be the digital divide.
For most people--and yeah, I'm making a generalization--the internet is all about email and porn. And a lot of that has to do with age, socio-economic factors and personality types. Using me as an example? I'm fairly old, but I'm an introvert. I like the way I can get info and shop in the middle of the night, by myself. Someone else, with more extroverted tendencies would probably find computers a pain. All by yourself? All alone, with no one to talk to? If they're not a dedicated facebook chatter or twit, don't have email and aren't interested in porn, they'd probably find computers a bore and have one in a corner of the family room for their kids.
Emma has a computer for her kids, but rarely uses it and the server has one but can't remember the last time she used it for anything other than email. There's no way I could ever live in an older house without a complete overhaul of the electrical system because we have seven computers (three for my gamer, two for the geek, and one apiece for the rest of us), an xbox360, a ps3, streaming netflix and a couple of televisions. When we're "on", we're on.
My daughter uses recipezaar the same way I'd pick up a cookbook, and my oldest son watches the news on his netbook while he plays 360. When I need info--I google it. When Emma needs info, she asks someone. But she's a wonderful woman, with a lot of warmth--and friendly. And so is the server.
And I'm about as friendly as a turnip.
Which gets me to thinking maybe it isn't the digital divide, but personality types that drive this whole thing. I used to think younger people were hugely high-tech, but after school--I don't think they are. Most of the kids--twentysomethings--I met don't even know how to use a wiki or "reply to all" in their emails. It could be that the people I know on-line are on the high-end of computer literary because of how I know them.
Personality types tend to run in families (yet another big, sprawling generalization, lol). Which means if I'm an introvert, my kids are introverts--and extroverts would have extroverted families. Which makes sense, because the servers kid--despite being a teenager, would rather play team sports. While my kid would rather hang out on a forum board.
...the arguments are circular. If I'm an introvert, does that mean I'm subconsciously "influencing" my kids to be like me, or does the server influence her kid to get out and get fresh air, by valuing that more than computer literary?