30 Jun 2015

Millennial communications...

As a follow up to last week's post on listening and connection, I want to add two thoughts:

First, "millennials" (those born 1985-2005) will have trouble communicating if they are better at posting selfies and self-discovery rather than listening to what others think. The internet has "caused" this by making it easier to broadcast and find "friends" who agree with you. In the past, people had to talk to those around them (as well as listen), which gave them a better sense of their own weaknesses and strengths.

Second (and as I wrote 10 years ago [pdf]) the internet -- by giving us access to art, music, lectures and information -- threatens our ability to produce, learn and think by making it too easy to "consume" the refined thoughts of others. It's in the struggle to understand, paint or play that we learn about topics and ourselves. The internet makes it too easy to avoid that struggle. School is supposed to force us to "learn how to learn" but many students are using wikipedia, calculators and other shortcuts to complete assignments. Those assignments may look better, have better spelling and even read better, but they may not induce as much learning as examples from 20 or 50 years earlier. (The same holds for teachers!)

Bottom Line: It takes work to listen, think and (thus) make. Internet with caution.