Sunday, May 06, 2007

The I-Generation

One of my LJ friends posted a link to this nerdcore video:

And it fits in with what I've been thinking about lately. Trust vs. fear. Younger vs. older.

When I presented at Rethinking Museums last Thursday, there were some interesting questions, some stemming from my use of the Creation Museum Blog as an example. Museums are afraid of the appropriation of their words and images from blogs by other organizations with goals counter to those of the museums. I have trouble understanding this fear. That is, I understand the fear, but I have trouble understanding how it can be contextualized anew. Museums had this fear when they first started going online, but they decided the benefits outweighed the costs. And, even with the fear, words and images can be appropriated from printed material. I don't fully understand why this is fear is being transferred to social web application. And it frustrates me.

I've called it The Fear. Museums have The Fear. But maybe it's me and my generation; we have The Trust. We grew up with or got involved at a relatively young age with the internet and then with social applications. We Trust others online. We share information, personal opinions, stories, photos, and more with people online who are "strangers." Some my best friends today, I met online first.

Maybe I can really only speak for myself in this capacity, but I Trust. I Trust that people are basically good and basically well intentioned. I know that my words could be appropriated for use beyond my control. But it's beyond my control, and there might be someone out there who finds what I have to say interesting and useful. It's worth the cost.

I've heard people older than myself say that they were scared at how trusting younger people are. So I wonder if this Trust v. Fear thing comes down to Younger v. Older (gross generalizations, of course). As the younger people of today gain footholds in museums, I wonder what will come out of it. More of the cool open tagging initiatives like the Powerhouse Museum has? More blogs? Avenues for freely uploading visitor produced podcasts? Something else? And what about people who've been doing social networking since they were 12 and didn't start easing into it at 18? What is their worldview? What kind of initiatives comes to someone who literally grew up participating online?

The future is wide open. I trust it.

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