When the internet really got going in the early 90s, it was first a curiosity and then a revelation. But it was not our ‘reality’. It was another way to do things. You had the ‘real’ way to do something and you had the internet way. There quickly became some things that were largely adopted by the general population. In the business world, Email would be an example. Other things, at the office and at home, would take some time.
Everything suggested by the ‘internet bubble’ companies in the mid to late 90s was measured against the template of how we had been doing it. Dictionaries, Yellow Pages and encyclopedias were tentatively supplanted. Restaurant reservations were made with a telephone. It was odd to meet someone online. If you did, for whatever reason, you would not disclose that unless pressed. Any training or education received online was assumed to be subpar or second class.
Fast forward to today. Anyone under 30 expects only one thing from the internet: Everything.
Forget all of that stuff about how funny it is that they don’t remember turntables, rotary phones, phones that had to be connected by a wire, the miracle of the fax machine, boom boxes the size of small refrigerators, not being able to heat up food in 30 seconds and the like.
It’s interesting to those of us who do remember those things. It’s not interesting to them. In fact, read the preceding paragraph to a 17 year old and they will give you an eye roll followed by a dead fish stare that will drop the room temperature by 10 degrees.
In the early 80s, I got a phone call from my grandfather . He was about 85 at the time and had gotten an ATM card from Wells Fargo and was very excited about it. While many were leery of the idea of banking with a machine, he was thrilled. While others worried what would happen if the money didn’t come out or what if they had a question or what if someone somehow stole their money, his attitude was, “this is how banking is done now.” He lived to be a healthy, great looking guy to the age of 99 and I think that attitude had a lot to do with it. That and walking the hills of San Francisco for all those years.
An online degree is a great thing. Rather than words on a page, there is rich digital media that brings the lesson to life. Meeting someone online is often preferable now. The internet is de facto. I don’t know anyone who would debate that. But men and women of a certain age must for their own good let go of those old templates. You’re marketing and selling to people who have new templates and new expectations that have nothing to do with your own.
This is how it’s done now.