Since I found myself scrutinizing the majority of this book and feel as though the majority of it is out of date, I think it’s appropriate that I give a brief discussion on the article which specifically mentions “scrutiny” as a norm ingrained into my generation. I actually enjoyed the majority of this article and found Tapscott’s eight norms – freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed, and innovation – to be fairly, well, normal. Initially, I wasn’t sure that these terms were all direct outcomes of being a part of the so-called “net gen” with our constant internet access, but as I thought about it more, it seemed that even if the internet itself didn’t propel us towards valuing these ideas, it definitely helped.
There were a couple of these norms that really stuck out to me as worth being discussed further. Freedom, to me, is the most obvious example of a norm of our generation that’s well supported by the boom of the internet. As a young person with access to the internet, in the United States you can find basically anything you want. You could learn about things your parents or teachers might not tell you about (for better or for worse), you could chat with your friends, and so much more. This idea goes hand in hand with scrutiny – many times the information you’re seeking is to confirm whether or not your parents or teacher are really telling you the whole truth about a certain topic.
Another two of the terms which I automatically coupled in my head were integrity and collaboration. Tapscott tries to make the more noble point that our generation is setting higher standards of integrity for the people and companies we interact with, but I worry that our generation is taking advantage of the pure magnitude of information that’s on the internet – it’s easy to steal someone else’s idea without crediting them for an assignment with a good chance that nobody will ever know. This could further extend to the idea of collaboration. The internet is doing incredible things for collaborative efforts – take, for example, the googledoc. You could update a doc in real-time with people who you aren’t with. It’s a great way to get something done if you don’t feel like leaving the comforts of your apartment (which I rarely feel like doing.) On the other hand, because of the inherently collaborative nature of the internet, you could very easily end up in a gray area when it comes to intellectual property and things like that.
I believe Don Tapscott’s essay does a nice job of honing in on how the internet has influenced the way the “net gen” thinks about and faces the world.