Generational Advances to the Internet

Many people misconstrue Millenials to not have experienced the struggles of dial-up internet. Well, as a Millenial (born in 1993), let me say, that you are WRONG. Not only did I experience dial-up, I even got the experience of my parents wanting to save a pretty penny and getting CompuServe (a cheaper AOL without the bells and whistles.)

As I grew up, I got to see the evolution of the internet. The speed that the internet has advanced, has changed the way that generations after me, experience and use the internet.

Growing up in the 90's, I remember coming home and fighting with my brother to get time on the computer. Back then, laptops did not exist and in order to access the internet, you had to sit in front of a desk and use a rather large computer that was connected to a larger processor.

My brother and I used the internet primarily for school research papers, games, downloading music, and Myspace. In order to get started, it took several minutes or longer to connect using dial-up. Also, this would cut off access to the landline which was more popular than the cell phone at this time.

With advances to the internet, People no longer spend hours gazing at a computer screen after work or class; instead, they use their mobile devices to stay online everywhere, all the time.

What does this mean for the generations after me? It means that the internet is now more about who they are more than ever. Gen Z’s are most likely found watching YouTube videos that load at the speed of sound and are using several social network platforms at once. Even as more people decline to pay for cable TV, though, the demand for content is not wavering. The younger generation is seeking and finding content beyond the confines of traditional TV (i.e. Tiktok, Instagram, Youtube, etc). Gen Z’s are the “trendsetters” for most digital apps and often influence innovation within the tech world.

Typically, Gen Z’s are able to parse through data quickly, judging whether the content is useful and relevant to them in even less time than older generations. That gives them a general unwillingness to read anything resembling a wall of text. If there is text, it has to look like there isn’t much. Along with their ability to quickly judge if a page is worth reading, Gen Z loves organization and bite-sized information.

With all of this said, the internet has made compound advances over the last couple of decades and each generation has its own interpretation of that. Millennials, even though tech-savvy, know the struggles of dial-up and don't depend on the internet nearly as much as Gen Z. The internet is very close to Gen Z’s heart as it is way more ingrained in their daily lives. Gen Z sets the standards for most innovation and upgrades in the world of digital apps.

Product Designer