This post is based on some great thinking from Sally. Todays youth in 1st and 2nd world countries are now CYBORGS – completely dependent on technology to make them more efficient and social creatures. They can’t function unless they are part of a collective cyberspace where technology dependence helps them belong.
These teens and 20 somethings have internalised technology, so much so that the lines between the real and cyber world are completely blurred. They are intravenously fed by a constant stream of content and conversations. Youth have shifted the way their self identities are formed and created via Facebook, Myspace etc. They do this via profiling and putting on an external ‘cover’ to the world, these online identities often mask the real person, and are created to ‘fit in’ with the digital tribe, but also create a persona that is liked and admired by their cyber networks. Just like a cyborg, there online identities are perfectly crafted and it’s all putting on a ‘better version of my real self’ online.
Cyborgs can adapt to their environments, and todays youth this by having splintered personas, one minute I’m an ‘Indie’, next minute i’m a ‘Hippster’, the next a ‘Surfie’. They are the ultimate chameleons. Mobile phones are replacing the young peoples MEMORY. Think about it, teens have their friends phone number in their mobiles, they have calculators, they have cameras to capture moments, to do lists, they can TIVO a program..their memories are turning to mush as all this technology symbiotically replaces their memory structures. When a teen loses his/her mobile, they feel as though they’ve lost a part of their identity. In addition to all of this, think about how youth use ipods as fashion accessories, they use them as both ‘armour’ to protect them from social interaction (mobile as personal shield to the world) as well as portraying an image to the world. Also, the songs they listen to become embedded in their minds, further fusing their digital mind.
The last element is ‘mixed reality’ – as alternate reality technology becomes more widely available we’ll see young people become more and more engaged with proximity based technologies which help them engage with locations and each other.