ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Generation Now

Updated on June 2, 2008

Expecting Instant Gratification in a Technical World

I blame technology for the attitude my peers and those younger than us have adopted. When we want something, we want it now, and electronic advances, for the most part, have catered to our demands.

The most important advent that propels the “now attitude” wasn’t invented by Al Gore, but by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT when he proposed the idea of sharing information through a global network of computers in the early 1960’s. His idea was then brought into fruition by Leonard Kleinrock’s theory of packet switching and Lawrence Robert’s successful connection between computer in California and a computer in Massachusetts in the mid-60’s. Today, internet use is on the rise by a 25% increase per year (, and a survey by Greenfield Online found that 21% of employed people under the age of 25 check their email more than 15 times a day.

A visual map of the internet
A visual map of the internet

In the 1990’s, the second generation, or 2G phone made its public debut. This was the generation that moved away from the large “brick” phones and into the small, pocketable devices we use today. Since then, the number of people who own mobile phones has increased significantly, with some people are canceling their land lines altogether. In fact, a survey by the CDC found almost one in six households are wireless ( Before the modern cell phone, if you needed to make a call, you would have to wait until you found an available phone, and possibly enough change to place the call. Today, making a phone call is as easy as pulling your mobile device out of your pocket. Or if you’re an obsessive BlueTooth user, and have programmed your phone with voice recognition and automatic calling, you can simply say the person’s name with whom you wish to speak. And it’s no wonder people are checking their email every hour now that portable email devices like Blackberry and iPhone are available. Email is now becoming a longer-form version of text messaging as more people purchase email compatible devices and take advantage of a service whose fee is usually included in the standard contract price. Instant email allows for instant information.

The 80's "brick" phone
The 80's "brick" phone

Shopping is now a quick and painless job with websites like, or just good ol’ Google. You can give a specific description of what you’re looking for and have several options and prices to choose from in seconds. No more hunting through huge department stores or waiting for items to go on sale. Although online shopping doesn’t mean you’ll be able to have your purchase as soon as you click the “Buy” button, you can expedite the shipping process by spending a few more dollars. And websites like will allow you to use the company like your own online shopping mall by sending you and letting you return items at no cost.

Even shopping for the perfect mate has been streamlined into a precise, fast process. You can narrow the pool by taking surveys about yourself and letting the computer decide who you might be able to make beautiful music with. And, there are plenty of fish in the online sea--over 40 million Americans currently use an online dating service. Now, you don’t have to waste your time getting dressed up to go out to bars and trying too hard to impress someone. One survey shows only 9% of women and 2% of men are married to someone they met in a bar ( And, getting rejected right to your face is no longer an issue since your prospective dates can simply ignore your messages. And breaking up isn’t so hard to do, as 49% of online daters who’ve dumped someone over email can tell you ( So, thanks to technology, when a person decides he is ready for a relationship, he doesn’t have to wait for the right girl to come along, he can practically special order her and have her waiting at the neighborhood coffee shop with just a few clicks of a button.

Various forms of entertainment are now available to users at the exact speed of their internet connection (which these day sometimes seems like the speed of light). From movies to TV shows to music, people can have exactly what they want, now. The original Netflix business model had DVDs arriving in mailboxes as fast as the postal service could deliver, but in keeping with the instant gratification demands of the consumer, Netflix members can now download selected movies straight to their computers in a manner of minutes. Later this year, Netflix says it will unveil a set-top box that will deliver movies and TV programs directly to televisions through a high-speed internet connection. Similar devices by Apple and Vudu are already on the market. But, you don’t need an expensive set-top box to view most of your favorite TV shows. Networks like NBC and MTV offer most of their programming online, and with fewer commercials.

Since 2003, iTunes, the world’s largest digital music distributor, has been making millions of songs available to music enthusiasts at the touch of a button. Apple has made the purchase process so easy, that by signing in once, you can download albums and songs seamlessly without having to enter your payment information into a screen several times. And if you know when your favorite band’s next album is coming out, you can pre-order it, and the music will automatically download to your iTunes Library the day the album is released. Often, iTunes will offer special hidden tracks or video bonuses to people who pre-order the album. Recently, dishonest industry insiders have been making tracks available for free download before the scheduled drop date. So, even if you can’t wait for a CD’s expected drop date, there’s a chance, if you search hard enough, that you’ll find it for free on an obscure website. The CD is quickly becoming a thing of the past as people look to store their music in digital files. Gone, too, are the days of waiting for hours in a line to get your CD signed by your favorite lead singer.

Online bill paying allows people to have instant access to their paychecks on payday--no more standing in line on Fridays with other 9 to 5-ers. It also allows them to track where all their money went, and how much is left. Almost all bill collectors offer an online bill payment system, with some giving users the option to have the bill paid automatically. These days, “paying bills” means going online and authorizing payment, rather than writing out stacks of checks and licking stamps and envelopes.

Traditional news outlets are being affected by the demands of the Now Generation. About 115,000 people turn to the newspaper as their daily source of current events, while averages about 835,000 unique page views per day. At the height of the newspaper’s popularity, when news would break, the publisher might distribute a special smaller edition until the full story could be placed in the regular morning or evening edition. Today, websites like offer breaking news alerts that users can sign up for to receive updates on important events. Most websites that host quickly-changing information like news and blogs use an RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, feed to let users know when content has been updated. So, instead of having to take the initiative to check back for updates, the website will let you know when new information has been added.

Traditional newspapers are being hit hard by the need for a faster news source
Traditional newspapers are being hit hard by the need for a faster news source

When the internet was first introduced, it could take several minutes to load a page; and who doesn’t remember the loud, annoying dialing noise, and the friendly, “You’ve got mail!? Now, if a page doesn’t load instantly, we become infuriated, ripping the modem cord from the wall and resetting the connection while cursing under our breath. There’s already a generation walking around who doesn’t understand the phrase, “Before the internet.” Some businesses offer free wifi to their customers, and several cities have plans to offer a blanket public wifi system paid by advertisers. The availability of information and the demand for faster access will only increase. But, with all the advances, are we really getting things done faster? Are we really accomplishing that much more?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I tend to agree with monitor on this one. It is well written and easy to follow and understand.

    • monitor profile image


      10 years ago from The world.

      Very interesting angle on the way that we view the convenience of technology and the Internet, BreLambert. It is true that we have become very reliant on the Internet and have high expectations for it. Technology is always advancing and with it our expectations. So it's pretty common to see computer users abusing their keyboards at the first sign of a glitch. We do benefit quite a lot due to the efficient way that we are now able to get our hands on information, music, and movies. On the down side, this convenient invention is damaging our communicational skills, isn't it? Great hub!

      Your fan.



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)