Category Archives: Technology

The “Look at Me” Generation: How Social Media Can Erode Relationships

Facebook Thumb

By Enoc vt (File:Botón Me gusta.svg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Full disclosure: The writer is a Millennial.  Carry on.

Millennial — “Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation,[1] is the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when Generation Y starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth dates from the latter 1970s, or from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.” (Wikipedia)

I have heard from folks (including a few relatives of mine) that millennials are selfish and truly don’t understand the way of the world.  That they’re entitled and often don’t believe in the value of hard work.

I highly disagree.

On the whole, I believe millennials to be highly compassionate.  Many of the millenials I’ve met put a greater focus on service, family, and friends than gaining accolades at the workplace.  Perhaps this is where this misguided notion comes from.

Rather than the “me” generation, I have instead realized that millennials are the “look at me” generation.

Inspired by a recent interview of Aziz Ansari by the AV Club, I have wondered if technology has been ripping us apart rather than bringing us together.  Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram promise an experience in bringing people together when they instead have people fused to their computer monitors, often being envious of others and wondering/worrying about what they’re *not* doing.

The intimacy and spontaneity from personal interactions is not replicated through digital contact, nor will it ever be.  More so than ever, advance planning and weighing is now a prerequisite for interacting with others.  Facebook is particularly guilty of providing too many choices, eventually leading to potential decision-making paralysis (A New York Times article had an interesting take on choice and its ability to paralyze in 2010).

Further, social media has often acted as a funhouse mirror wherein people attempt to show a side of themselves that should be private, rather than public.  It is now an unwritten rule that on social media, we should show our best side and be inherently positive.  Those who complain repeatedly on social media or talk about how bad things are going for them are often ignored or worse.

This leads me to a particularly ugly use of social media.  A few days ago, a video went viral that contains a woman berating a Dunkin Donuts employee and basically verbally holding them hostage in order to get free things.  The woman repeatedly mentions how she believes the video will make the company look bad.  Quite the opposite.  Link via the Consumerist. Beware – the link has NSFW language.

While I have my problems with social media, it must also be noted that there can be some great things.  These sites provide an invaluable service in connecting individuals to potential resources they may not have otherwise known about.  Twitter, in particular, is incredibly powerful in providing information in realtime and has helped cultivate the Arab Spring and many other forms of large scale organization.

Social media is incredibly powerful and we must be careful in wielding its awesome power.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”  — this quote was used in a superhero film.  It could as easily been used when describing social media.

Advertisements

Instant Gratification In a Digital Age

When I was in high school, films and music were my escape.

I used to have a library of VHS tapes envisioning I could start my own video rental company some day. I even considered charging classmates to rent out the tapes, but never had the business acumen to pull it off.

Then came the DVD. For the longest time I resisted, but became a late adopter of the technology once I bought the special edition DVD of Fight Club in 2000. Despite the format change, I wasn’t happy with my local Blockbuster’s selection.

This brings me to Netflix.

I never once considered the concept of the internet or an interactive community outside of face to face conversation. Netflix provided an opportunity to access a multitude of titles, many of which were considered not mainstream enough for big box stores.

As an angst-ridden teenage cinephile, Netflix was my catnip. Through Netflix I began to watch what I wanted when I wanted to.  And therein lies the problem. Netflix was my pusher and I could get my fix in a few days.  A few years later with streaming, I could get it instantly.

In a digital age, we no longer have the patience to wait for *anything*. This translates to a short attention span for many. Heck, I’m writing this blog post on my phone right now.  This also translates to the revolutionary nature of mp3’s, Napster and later p2p (peer to peer) sharing sites.

Ten years from now, we’ll wax nostalgic for the day of CDs like we do now for records . I envision retrobars spinning compact discs, playing Coldplay and American Idol albums on loop.

God I hope not.

Regardless, I fear this will result in the death of the slow burn. Music and film are now often programmed to be immediate, accessible. Very few albums or films are a major success unless they sell the sizzle, something that pulls the viewer or listener instantly. Unfortunately, this often results in movies engineered for Trailers and albums engineered for singles.

All I’m saying is maybe it isn’t so ironic that the notoriously slow moving films of Terence Malick are now getting booed at Cannes and a film like Lost in Translation is slammed for not having a “story”…

On that upbeat note, happy Memorial Day weekend to my American friends out there!!!!

John still loves Lost in Translation and doesn’t care what others think.  He can be tweeted at @jododojo10 or even contacted at his new, shiny Tumblr blog – newwaveofthefuture.tumblr.com


%d bloggers like this: