When thinking of how older generations of teenagers may have constructed their identity in 1705, 1805, 1905, 2005, the answer varies greatly.
In 1705, the United States was not yet a concept, rather Great Britain (GB), the form of travel would have been via legs, horses, and ships; therefore it is logical to assume that the way one’s identity were to be formed, is by word of mouth, and through fliers made via printing press, seeing as how “in 1454 Gutenberg put his press to commercial use” (“The Gutenberg Press”). Yet with this, communication is still limited, and for the majority, only the famous, kings and queens, are really known, yet, mostly within their own kingdom. Therefore youths mostly likely would not have been known except within their own societies. Letters and carrier pigeons would have been the form of communication among the majority of teenagers.
100 years later, in 1805, the American colonies had been formed, and officially separated from GB. While not much may have changed, more letters are able to have been made, and in the US, the Post Office had been established (“The History of the United States Postal Service”). In the US, with the post office, people would have been able to carry their voice further, as long as one knows where to send the letter. Yet in the case of should a family uproot themselves, a youth would still be able to maintain contact with their old friends.
In 1905, electricity has become a relatively new resource, allowing another form of communication, the telegram. One known instance as to why telegrams were “Telegrams were used to announce the first flight in 1903 and the start of World War I” (“STOP”). With this tool, people, including teenagers, are able to thus communicate with others on the opposite end of a large country, such as the US, in a fraction of the time as a letter.
Lastly, in 2005, teenagers are able to have the greatest impact when it comes to creating their digital identities. With the new forms of social media that rose with the era of great technological advancement, people would be able to communicate with people from other countries with an immense amount of ease. As Danah Boyd states, SixDegrees was “one of the first social media sites” where people could “create profiles,” and “list their Friends”. SixDegrees was started at 1998, and closed two years later. Another social media was Friendster which, was short lived, started in 2002, which fell due to them deleting certain profiles whether or not they were fake celebrity accounts. Myspace was the next big social media, and very soon after that, a Harvard student made a social media site, that, in 2005, was exclusive to anyone with a school email (ending in .edu), and very recently in 2015, had 1 billion people sign in on a single day, called Facebook.
Boyd, Danah M., and Nicole B. Ellison. “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13.1 (2007): 210-30. 17 Dec. 2007. Web. 1 Sept. 2015.
“The Gutenberg Press.” Treasures of the McDonald Collection. Oregon State University Libraries, n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2015.
“The History of the United States Postal Service.” The History of the United States Postal Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2015.
“STOP — Telegram Era Over, Western Union Says.” Msnbc.com. Associated Press, 02 Feb. 2006. Web. 01 Sept. 2015.