Can’t say I ever thought about how important it is to understand our relationship as consumers in today’s media environment. Advertisements, websites, television programs, video games and other forms of new technology are forever changing the way in which we communicate, and ultimately how we go about our daily activities. Henry Jenkins wrote an article called: “Eight Traits of the New Media Landscape” to describe the media transitions we’ve endured and expect to experience as we continue into the 21st century. The 8 traits are displayed as follows:
One of the first traits Jenkins mentions that stuck out to me is that new media is “Innovative.” He goes on to explain, “New media are created, dispersed, adopted, adapted, and absorbed into the culture at dramatic rates” (Jenkins, 2006). New media content is constantly being created, and impossible to avoid. For example, organizations are paying advertising agencies excessive amounts of money to produce and package the same message in all sorts of ways in order for it to reach everyone. H&M comes to mind when I think “innovative.” They have bus billboards, in-store ads, commercials, internet pop-ups; you name it. They are able to keep up with fashion trends and inform consumers of these trends by using so many different media outlets.
Jenkins also mentions, “New media are often put out before they are thought out” (2006). In a sense I do agree that to stay alive in today’s market, many organizations try new things such as making a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, etc., but not always does that work out. In my opinion, many companies jump on the social media train just because others are, and it seems like ‘the right thing to do’ to remain relevant. In this case, sites are rarely kept up to date and these companies fall flat. This reminded me of the new bar “Mishun” that opened downtown St. Catharines. Prior to its opening and within the same day, this nightclub added a Twitter, several Facebook accounts to represent different events, and an Instagram. The first week seemed like chaos on these social sites. There was so much information “Mishun” wanted to share, and they failed to organize it all properly. Many students were left confused as to where to go for what event, who to see to buy tickets, and where to find pictures afterwards. Since then, “Mishun” has downsized its social media to ONE Facebook page and ONE Twitter – students are now able to check what’s going on downtown with just a few clicks. It is apparent that “Mishun” used to just ‘throw new media out,’ but now they’re using it properly and are back on track to achieving success.
“Everyday” is another trait Jenkins refers to. With that, he states, “There is a danger that as this technology becomes so familiar, that it becomes invisible to us” (2006). It’s true! New media and technologies have taken over our daily lives! Take the living room in your house for instance. It used to be a place to gather after dinner and chat amongst your family. Nowadays living rooms consist of televisions, gaming systems, and phones vibrating underneath couch cushions. The company may still be present, but its almost guaranteed everyone is distracted by one of the many screens in the room without even realizing it.
I can honestly say I’m a victim of technology becoming invisible. When Facebook came out during my high school days, everyone jumped the gun to make an account. I on the other hand wasn’t allowed, and I felt that I was missing out on hang outs and ‘after school chats.’ It became normal to get home from school, run to the computer to interact and see what everyone was doing; meanwhile, I sat at an empty desk and did homework instead. Okay, okay, now am I upset I wasn’t a part of the Facebook community early on? Not one bit. Because now I have an account and I find myself checking it whenever there’s a lull in my day. Sometimes I don’t even notice and I’ll just be scrolling and scrolling to see new posts. In the mornings when I wake up I’ll check my text messages, Facebook and Twitter, and next thing you know I’ll be late for class. That extra 5 minutes I spend cruising the web flies by without me even realizing. This is how I know technology is slowly becoming invisible to me.
The last trait I’m going to discuss is “Generational.” Jenkins mentions that “Young people are adopting cultural styles and values different and at odd’s with their parents generation” (2006), rather than openly accepting traditions passed on from other generations. I often find myself fighting with my parents about this issue. For example, my mom would call me everyday if she had it her way, while I would prefer to just text her a quick “hello.” Or, when I’m at my Oma’s for Sunday dinner, you see my 8 year old cousin on her iPhone, and her 3 year old sister playing a game on the iPad. Now thats something you wouldn’t have seen 10 years ago, and it causes my grandparents to cringe. Overall, people’s values are changing as are technologies; both young and the old generations need to accept them and keep moving forward. Instead of our parents passing down traditions, younger people need to prove to them the value in our changing society. It is up to people like me to inform them on how to easily and effectively stay up to date and use new technologies.
This last reading links to Jenkins’ other article: “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” (2009). This article discusses skills children should learn within the classroom to keep up with the current media environment. Some of the main skills I find important for kids to learn include:
Putting in the time to research something and really discover whats going on in the World Wide Web is how kids can play. If you can’t find something on Google, you must be willing to look at more than just the first provided link. With that, it’s important that children learn good from bad judgment. It’s always hard for me to edit peer papers and see them citing Wikipedia, or websites that have more pop-up ads than information. Children need to know how to trust and use the web in ways that will benefit them. Lastly, multitasking is huge within our fast-paced society. Children need to learn how to work with multiple desktops, webpages, and e-mail drafts. I don’t necessarily think they need to be taught how to multitask, but they need to be aware that as they grow up and continue with school, they will never just have one project on the go. These skills along with others mentioned within Jenkins’ (2009) article, should be acquired as a child before they’re lost, and children fall into using new technologies and understanding new media improperly.
Well, that concludes my M1.2.2!
UNTIL NEXT TIME…