With more than half of the Redskins roster under the age of 27, and nearly everyone under the age of 30, this is a generation of players that have grown up on computers.
I had a great chat with offensive linemen Eric Olsen and Tyler Polumbus today, discussing the rise and fall of different fads in Internet social media. After the creation of the Internet (possibly by Al Gore), there were chat rooms, online journals, Hotmail, Myspace, Napster, Xanga, and finally Facebook and Skype.
But the greatest of all creations for me in middle school and high school (and even college), was AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). And 23-year-old Redskins offensive lineman Eric Olsen is still on it.
“Yeah, I’m still on it,” he said with a smile. “I mean, it’s one of those applications that just opens automatically when I turn on my computer. I don’t have to sign in, the buddy list just pops up.”
In the age of text messaging, Facebook Chat, and Twitter, AIM has been dubbed nearly obsolete, left to combine forces with the aforementioned Internet fads in order to survive. But Olsen continues to boot up his AIM screenname every time he turns on his computer, because that’s his Grandma’s preferred medium of communication.
“I dunno, I think I’m the last person on the planet that actually uses AIM,” he said. “I have hundreds of people on my buddy list, but they all stopped using it years ago. It’s just me, my Grandma, and some kid from eighth grade that I haven’t talked to in nine years.”
While most traditional grandmas prefer a phone call, Olsen’s Grandma is very concerned that she’s “bothering him with a call.”
“I’ll turn it on in the morning, and she knows I’ll be at work all day, but she leaves me a message for later when I get home,” he said. “She always wishes me good luck and stuff.”
Keeping up with family is important, especially if they’re willing to embrace the new-age media. In my experience, an instant message from family beats an awkward comment on a Facebook post, any day.