I would argue that my generation has probably seen more change than any other.
The change is technology-driven and affects all spheres of our lives, from the micro to the macro. Synthesisers and computers have changed music forever, for example. I can perform music and DJ in a club using a tablet only a few inches long; meanwhile pop music will never sound the same. I can carry the world’s collective wisdom in ebook format on the same tablet and reference it anywhere, so I’ll never again go back into a library. I’ll never spend more than a few pounds without price-checking and reading reviews online, won’t visit somewhere without stepping through it virtually… I don’t even have phone numbers for half of my friends and if I did I probably wouldn’t use them because I use social media to keep in touch (also I don’t have many friends).
Social media has facilitated a great change in our thinking and behaviour. Interactions that I couldn’t have conceived of whilst I sat tapping in ZX Spectrum games out of a magazine are now commonplace, and frankly very little seems futuristic.
But, argues Jon Ronson in his new book, social media – twitter, primarily, due to the real-time nature of the interactions – has also facilitated a resurgence in a very old-fashioned behaviour: public shaming.