DID YOU EVER HAVE A LANDLINE?

The PDF conference has me thinking a lot about the generational divisions created by how we interact with technology. It started with a conversation I had with two organizers about the potential for organizing via text messages. One woman asked, "So, do either of you have a landline?" I haven't had a landline since 2002, and it occurred to me that I'm probably at the tail-end of the generation that, at some point in the past, had their own landline. Sure, many families still have them, but most people in their twenties, I'd wager, only have a cell phone. When did the cut-off happen? I'd guess it was around 2001 that kids graduating from high school never actually got their own landline; they'd leave their parents' house, and (if they didn't have one already) they'd get a cell phone. I doubt I'll get a landline again, and even if I do, it probably won't be the main way to reach me.

Here's another example--when will the generation hit when a majority of young job applicants will have an online record of their youthful indiscretions? We're all warned to be careful of our Facebook or MySpace profiles, and I've watched friends hit the point where they pull down or (attempt to) scrub the internet of drunken photos and juvenile blogs. But as social networks explode, aren't we going to hit a point where a large number of high school students have lived a very public online life: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc? Will there come a time when employers Googling a prospective hire turn a blind eye to your online record because, hey, everyone was young once? Perhaps this generation hasn't hit yet, but I'd guess this will be the case for the the high school class of 2006 and beyond.

--Phoebe Connelly

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