Not to be confused with Millennials, which are people born between 1981 and 1996, Gen Zers are people born from 1997 to 2012. They are the first cohort to be born in a time of vast technological advances and innovations. So it makes sense, then, that they wouldn’t understand how to use an alarm clock or a landline phone, or even know what an encyclopedia is. That said, here are ten things Gen Zers won’t understand.
10. Alarm Clocks
Since you can use your cell phone to set an alarm, most Gen Zers probably have never used an alarm clock — much less know how to actually set it to wake themselves up. But, for those of us old enough to remember, we woke up to the dreadful sound of loud beeping (which seemed extra loud when you were in a deep sleep) or static from your favorite radio station if you happened to have a clock radio. And, if you weren’t fully awake when your alarm went off, you had to fumble around to find the right knob/button to either turn it off or hit snooze to get a few extra minutes of shut-eye.
9. Floppy Disks
I remember needing to stock up on these when I was in college. But, even these are “new” compared to the ones I used to use in high school — which were literally floppy. Needless to say, floppy disks are no longer a requirement thanks to flash drives, digital music, digital photography, and new technology in general. So, it makes sense then that most young people have never seen one of these things. Here’s a tweet from Bill Gross — founder of Technology Incubator Idealab — about the time he used a floppy disk in recent years:
“In the ‘I’m getting old’ department.., a kid saw this and said, ‘Oh, you 3D-printed the ‘Save’ icon.”
8. Using a Landline Phone
It’s kinda funny and sad at the same time that Gen Zers don’t know how to use a landline phone. Twitter user @JasonDCrane tweeted about his son a few years ago. Apparently he had his son at work with him and he picked up the phone and asked his dad what was the noise coming from the telephone. It was the first time he’d ever heard a dial tone. Amusing, right? But, this next tidbit of information isn’t so funny. According to the New York Post, Gen Z interns can’t even use landlines. “My company has a landline, and I haven’t used one in years,” Matthew Krull, a 20-year-old East Villager interning at a marketing agency, told The Post. “I forgot how to use it, and I had to page into a conference call. All I had to do was push the flashing button, but I was thinking, ‘What link do I have to go to to key into the call?'”
“Oh my God I just found out Titanic actually happened and isn’t just a film?!!! #mindblown #sosad :'(”
That’s an actual tweet from a guy on Twitter on few years back. Now, for a minute, let’s just give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he never learned about the Titanic in school. Maybe his parents never discussed the event with or around him. Or, maybe we could assume that it was said around him but he just wasn’t paying attention — except for the fact that there are so many others out there who thought “Titanic” was just a film. It’s kinda sad when you think about it. I mean, they’ve got all this information right at their fingertips and they still don’t know their history.
Speaking of having tons of information right at their fingertips, Google has made the need for encyclopedias pointless. So much so that most young people have never used one or it’s been so long that they forgot how to use one. Don’t believe us? There’s a YouTube video out there that proves it. In the video, the interviewer places a stack of encyclopedias in front of a group of teens and asks them what they are. One kid responded: “They’re World Books. It says it right here,” he said, pointing to the front cover of the book. “Which means what?” the interviewer asked. “They’re atlases,” the teen answered.
The interviewer then went on to ask them if they’d ever used an encyclopedia before. One said “no.” The others said they’d use one once, back in elementary school for an assignment. The interviewer then told them he was going to have them research something in the encyclopedias. They all began freaking out because there were so many books and they didn’t know which one to use to find the chapter on “reading.” They didn’t realize the books were categorized alphabetically.
5. Going to the Video Store to Rent Movies
With Netflix, Hulu and other such services, who needs Blockbuster? We can enjoy all the movies we want with a quick click and download. But, for those of use who are old enough to remember, going to the video store to rent movies (and video games, too) was so much fun. But, perhaps not all is lost. There is still one last Blockbuster store in operation. It’s located in Bend, OR, and it’s still thriving. It became the only Blockbuster left in the world after the one in Perth, Australia, closed its doors for good on March 31.
4. Dial-Up Internet
It took forever to load a page or download a file, but it was all we had; and we loved it! Early internet service providers included AOL, Earthlink, Erols, CompuServe, and Netscape. You could pick up a free disk in Walmart or similar places and try it out for free for 30 days. And, we had to use our phone line to get on the internet. Meaning that if someone was using the phone, you couldn’t get online and vice versa.
FYI, dial-up internet still exists. Companies like Juno, NetZero, Netscape and AOL offer customers dial-up service for a modest fee. Juno and NetZero offer a free option that’ll get you only 10 hours a month, but it could be a useful backup, especially for those in rural areas where broadband may not be accessible.
Twitter user @AngryBlkManDC tweeted this some time ago: “On this day 15 years ago my moms picked up the phone and interrupted a file at 96% I’d been downloading from Napster for 17 hours.” Needless to say, anyone not around when Napster was big would have had no clue what this guy was talking about. So, not surprisingly, one person replied: “Can someone explain this tweet to me? Why it take so long? Dafuq is Napster?”
Well, we’ll answer that for you. First of all, it took so long to download everything back in the day because we didn’t have high-speed internet. Everything was so slow, and as we just mentioned, we needed to use the phone line to access the internet, so if someone picked up any phone connected to the same line you were using while you were on the internet, you connection was terminated. As for the second part of this question, Napster was a peer-to-peer file sharing source created back in 1999 that focused primarily on music. Unfortunately, most of the music was pirated, and, as a result, the site was shut down in 2001.
2. The Y2K Bug
According to tech experts, computers were supposed to go haywire when the year 2000 arrived because they would recognize the two-digit year “00” as 1900 instead of 2000. Mass hysteria ensued, prompting President Bill Clinton to sign into law the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act. But, after more than a year of hysteria, and an estimated $300 billion spent to upgrade computers and application programs, few problems occurred in the transition into the new millennium. Go figure.
Before there was Facebook, there was MySpace — the hottest social networking site from 2005 to 2008. Even though it was eventually overshadowed by Facebook, MySpace still exists. But, it’s mostly used by music artists. “Myspace is a place where people come to connect, discover, and share,” reads a description on the site’s press page, according to Metro US. “Showcasing artists and their work, the site gives people access to 53 million tracks and videos — the world’s largest digital music library.”
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