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Generation WHY?

Social networking sites have affected each and every one of us. We are either i-chating with our friends, on Facebook trying to see who is doing what, or we are on twitter “stalking” our favorite celebrities. We are known as Generation Y. But why?

Generation Y also known as the Millennial Generation is all about social networking. We care more about what others are doing than ourselves. I don’t know about you, but when I am doing my homework, the computer is usually open with to a certain social networking site open. When I am checking my Facebook for example, I may say I am just checking it, but you end up being on the site. Just a quick check turns into big time procrastination.

In addition, communication between people has started becoming more technological rather than personal. People are even using “computer talk” in their everyday conversations, such as LOL (laugh out loud), OMG (oh my god), TTYL (talk to you later), and many others. The lingo that is being used to text is now the words that teens understand the most.

The article that I read “Facebook: Good or Bad for Communication” looked at both the positive and negative impact of Facebook. It was interesting to read that Facebook was originally created to improve personal communication. Facebook can have a positive impact in a person’s life. For example, this is true for those people who are separated from their family and friends, those people who are in the armed forces and those people with disabilities who don’t do well with face-to-face contact. Facebook/social networking also helps people who have similar interests share information. However, Facebook does have a negative side. A person’s social development can be negatively affected if there is no face-to-face contact. Social networking does not allow for understanding body language and learning to interpret all types of non-verbal communication. In conclusion, the article states that using social networking in moderation can be a good thing. That if used correctly and not relied on exclusively for communication social networking sites can bring people together and maintain friendships.

I believe that the Millennial generation enjoys the computer and social networking because that is what they are used to. I think that as a generation we still want face-to-face contact but like the speed of the information that can be obtained on line. I believe that our generation has more friends and communicates with them more frequently because there are so many options. We can “instant message”, “text message”, “I-chat”, “Facebook” “twitter’ etc. We can stay in touch no matter where we are. I also believe that some of the Millennial generation is out of control and doesn’t know how to use social networking in moderation. Some of the millennial generation doesn’t not know how to verbally communicate.  Ironically, I noticed the other day, one of the nicest days we’ve had in a long time (March 9, 2010) not many people were even outside. I thought to myself where are all these people? Then I realized that many people would rather be sitting inside on their computers seeing what others are doing than enjoying a nice day outside in the “real world.” I had to ask myself  “whY”?

Thinking back to my childhood it makes me smile when I think about all of the Disney movies that I watched.  Believe it or not I remember thinking to myself “I want to be a princess, just like Cinderella”. As a parent one does not realize how a Disney movie can impact their child’s life. All parents think about is that they are allowing their child to share in the “Disney” experience and watch a movie they should really enjoy. The special thing about Disney movies is that “Disney videos promote positive social messages by showing children the importance of honesty, trust, loyalty, fairness and friendship.” Disney movies are shown to children because it will show them that there is both good and bad in life. Children can learn life long lessons that can carry them throughout their lives.

But what parents do not think about is that Disney movies can have an impact on a child’s life as well. Watching movies with the Disney princesses’ children think that this is what I want to be or that is what I want to become. This type of attitude can turn your daughter into a little “princess.”  Especially when your “little princess” wants all of the books, dolls, games, dress-up clothes etc. Disney movies may capture your child’s heart, but over commercialism can capture both the child and the parents. Each new movie comes with a whole new set of toys that each child “must have”.  With television, printed media, advertising and marketing what chance does a family have to not “buy” into all of the merchandising.

When you look back an each of the Disney movies they all seem to have a common theme. From The Little Mermaid (1989) to Cars (2006) the concept of these movies has not changed over the years. Each movie shows a problem and then a solution. It can teach children that they can get through anything if they just work hard at it. I definitely think that these types of movies can change that way a child sees the world.  In addition, all of the Disney movies including the  “princess” movies all have a villain and all have a hero.  I never understood why these movies had to have villains and neither did my parents.  The villain is scary and terrifies the princess. Snow White had The Queen with the Poison Apple, Belle had the Beast, Cinderella had her Stepmother and her stepsisters and Ariel the Mermaid had Ursula. How scary for a young child. The good news is that there is usually a handsome prince that rescues each princess and they fall in love. This message can distort the way a child looks at life and love. Children may grow up thinking that there is always a “Prince Charming” around the corner who will save them and fall in love with them. Just watch the television show  “The Bachelor” all of those women are still looking for their “Prince Charming”. Unfortunately, this is not the way life and love works for most of us. There is not always a “happily ever after”.

I loved all the Disney movies and the music, the characters, and ALL the TOYS that went along with each movie. Growing up with Disney movies was wonderful. Disney movies will never get old or go out of style. Disney movies have and always will be able to influence our children and us for a many more lifetimes.  Unfortunately, we need to learn the difference between fantasy and the real world. However, it is fun to be a child and believe in the “happily ever after”.

INTO THE FUTURE

Utopian Vision:

Life in the year of 2035, and the world as we see it right now will be completely different. Say “Goodbye” to cars on the ground, talking via cell phone or dare I say it but, “Facebook.” Communications as we now know it will be all taken over by newer and better technology. This will be a dream come true… The world in 2035 as I see it is going to have so much more technology then we have now. Adults don’t always understand why their teens need a blackberry or go on Facebook 24/7. It is because “technology” pulls us in and because we need to communicate.

Many people believe that by the year 2035 that we are going to have cars that fly. No more traffic jams! Cars may be hybrid and/or run on hydrogen energy or solar energy. No more getting lost or asking for directions…. You will be able to give a destination and tell the car where to go and it will get you there. Now we have televisions with DVD players and radios in the car to occupy the children. Who knows what cars will have in 2035?

Texting” as well as phone calls on a cell phone are also going to change. In 2035 everyone will have a cell phone. Cell phones will be inexpensive and affordable. You will have so many applications on your phone that no matter where you are you will be able to contact people and get the information you need. People are going to have things such as visual communication on their phones. This way you can see the person who is either talking or texting you. In addition, you will be able to talk to multiple people at a time allowing you to keep in touch with anyone in the world. Phone conference call will be so high tech that you will feel that all parties are present in the same room when they could be worlds apart.

In the year 2035, technology and computers will be so advanced that you will not have to leave you home. You could work from home, go to school from home, shop from home, and talk to friends and family from home. All of our access to the world can come through the computer. You won’t need to go out and get a newspaper. In addition, Facebook along with all the other social networking sites are going to start to explode. Social Networking systems are going to get so intense that the ones we have now aren’t even going to compare. I believe that we are going to have social networking sites that include everything  you can imagine and even more, like video chatting, the colors, anything you can think of. All ready we have a social networking site, “Second Life.” This site is where a person like you or me can go on a make an avatar of our own self. It is the site of the future. It is a 3D world where you can socialize, connect and create using free voice and text chat. If you think this is cool, what is the future going to bring?

In addition our homes will be “state of the art.” People will not have to cook, clean, etc. Don’t think maids are going to be around in 2035, but it is all going to be technology advanced. Our washer and dryers are going to be put into one. Our cooking is going to be one push of a button. How simple. No work and ALL play. “Smart Homes” is the best new thing. No more worrying if you turned off the lights or unplugged your hair straightener. With a click online you can turn off/on anything. “Smart homes connect all the devices and appliances in your home so they can communicate with each other and with you.”

I also believe the world will be more peaceful and calm. Communication will be easier and less expensive. I believe that the technological advances in 2035 will allow nations to communicate more easily because people will be more accessible. People will not be rushing to meetings and feeling stressed because they will be able to communicate and get information much with a touch of a button or switch.

People think that today’s technology is the best. But we are not even close to where technology is going to be in the future. Technology is just going to expand mass communication. People will be able to know everything and anything about everyone. Technology will be the mandated. You will not be able to survive without it. Just like in the cartoon The Jetsons (1962-1963), who lived a futuristic utopia in the year 2062, we may have cars that fly, televisions that allow you to communicate and robots like Rosie that clean your house. It appears that there is no end in sight of where technology is going to take us. Is this good technology or not? Who knows till we get there and see it ourselves?

Dystopian Vision:

In the world 2035, technology will be completely different compared to what I think may happen in the Utopian vision where everything is going well. People may think that all this technology is just way too much. I really think that this may be the end of the world as we know it today. I don’t think people will even leave their homes, because they won’t have to. I don’t think that people will be able to think because they won’t have to. I truly don’t think that people will have relationships and communicate, because they won’t know how too. How sad…

In the year 2035, you won’t have to leave your home. Your home will have all your needs taken care of. You can order your food and clothing online so you don’t have to go shopping. Your kitchen can cook for you and your washing machine/dryer can do your laundry. Children will go to school at home and learn everything they need to know via the computer. Sounds good to you but not to me. Yes, learning math, science, history wasn’t wonderful but what made school so much fun was the friendships that I made. Children will not learn how to verbally communicate and socially interact with their peers. They won’t even know how to play! In addition, what is worse is that their writing skills will be non-existent. Because of text-speak (i.e. lol, omg, gr8, ttyl) children in 2035 will not even know how to write a grammatically correct sentence. Children will not know how to handle day-to-day life without technology. Even in 2010, people cannot even do simple math without the use of a calculator because technology has made it too easy for us. People have gotten lazy. They will use their phone or their computer to text or email someone who is in the next office or in another room at home. Being obese may be a concern, because won’t need to move.

I also believe that in 2035 print media will no longer exist. I don’t believe there will be the need for printed books, magazines or newspapers. All of that information will be able to be obtained on-line. You will be able to get “The New York Time”, People Magazine” and Nicholas Sparks books all on line. There will be so much media online that many people will be on media overload. People will be attached to their computers and not their families. People are not going to have any form of communication without the use of a social networking or a cell phone. Face to face communication, body language and physical contact will not exist. Communication skills will not exist because of technology. How sad is that? What will happen to family dinners, friends and family time? We won’t know how to interact with people unless it is through technology.

My Life:

My life in 2035 is going to be different then it is now being in college in the year 2010. In 2035, I will be 45 years old probably married with children. I will hopefully be living in New York City with a job in Fashion Public Relations/Advertising. But when I think of that now and know what technology has been doing I know that it will be difficult. In the field of “COMMUNICATIONS” there will be no inter-personal communication. Technology may over take the world and may also destroy the world of ‘communication.’ Hopefully, even with the technological advances that are to come in the future PR/Advertising will still be up and running.

TTYL, Hopefully our FUTURE is brighter then we think in the year 2035.

Day 3 and 4: NO MEDIA!?!?!

Two days without media. That is crazy (my first thought of the assignment). For the past two days I have tried my hardest to keep media off my mind. I tried not running to my computer as soon as I walked into my room. I tried not to turn on the television as I was getting ready for class. I tried not to use my Blackberry. I tried not to pay attention, when my roommate was on her computer, was watching television or texting with her phone. I did it, BUT it was all too hard!

Media surrounds me in my everyday life. With my “blackberry” by my side it is hard not to check what’s going on while walking through campus. You would almost have to be blind and deaf not to be exposed to media. You can’t avoid it as you walk through your dorm, walk across campus or even walking through the classroom halls and the Student Union. There is media all around you. It is posted on the walls, on billboards and you can hear phones ringing, as well as radios and televisions through the doors in your dorm. While in the union or even while in class you can be influenced with media without even trying. There are ads surrounding you, with every turn you make. Union=ads for “Tigerthon” (24 hour dance-a-thon) as well as many other ads. Class=PowerPoint lectures. Meaning there is no way of avoiding it.

Every day new forms of media are introduced.  With the new emails, and the new Facebook notifications it is all too hard to block it from your mind and your life. Not knowing what is going on in the world, made me feel uncomfortable. In addition, my phone is like my third hand, it’s like it is attached to me or something. I guess this is something that has just become a habit. Technology and the media is something that we depend on. When we don’t have exposure to the media, we seem to feel as if something is missing, well at least I do.

Living in New Jersey, I am at least 3 hours away from my family. It is very hard for me not to be near them considering it’s the first time I have ever been so far away from home. But with a phone call, a text, an email, Skype and Oovoo, my family is really just a click away. It is just that easy to have a sense of home/family. Once again, without media my family and friends, life would just be “lonely” and I would be out of touch. I would feel like there was always something missing. My mom also went to school in Maryland. I don’t know how she stayed in touch with her family and friends. She didn’t have the media advantage that I have today. She called home one day a week and that was it. I knew that I relied on mass media to keep in touch, but I didn’t realize how much and how lucky I am to have it in my life.

For the past two days I have tried my hardest to not be exposed to all the media that influences me. What is going on, on Facebook? Without Facebook, internet, phone how am I going to connect with my family, my friends and the world? That sounds dramatic, but personally I never thought that having no media in my life was going to be this hard. But it is has always been a part of my life. I have grown up with technology. Media is everywhere; don’t try to hide from it.

When I was told that I was to make myself a log for 2 consecutive days on the media that I consume in my every day life, I knew that assignment was going to be a piece of cake. But what was then explained to me was that after I consumed my media for the 2 days I was going to have to live without the media for the next 2 days. I thought to myself, I don’t think that is possible.

Personally it is very hard not to “consume media”. This is because I have a blackberry. Inside a blackberry it has a phone, e-mail, Facebook, and the internet which links me to the news, the weather, sports and many other media sources. With just my blackberry in my hand, I am automatically linked to the media.

Day 1 and Day 2 were very easy. On Day 1, Monday February 15th, I woke up from the alarm blaring through my phone for the first day back at classes since the week off we had because of the snowstorm (or should I say blizzard). When I finally rolled out of bed, my first instinct was to go to my computer and check my ‘Facebook’.  First source of media.

I then brushed my teeth, put in my contacts and hopped into the shower. When I got out of the shower and was more awake, I realized that my room in a media haven. I have posters on my wall, I have books and magazines, and I have a television and radio in my room. I even forgot about the mail that I received for Valentine’s Day.  I immediately turned on the television and watched “The View” while getting dressed.  I haven’t left my room and I am surrounded by media.

Once I finished preparing myself for a full day of classes and I checked my Facebook one last time before I left. I then headed for the union to have lunch with my sisters of the sorority Alpha Xi Delta before I had class at 2pm. Walking down the hall of my dorm; I heard radios and televisions in other rooms. I noticed advertisements, notices and menus posted on the walls and on the bulletin boards. I really never payed attention to this before. As I walked to the Student Union, I noticed Towson’s electronic board displaying Towson events.  Even while I was standing in line to get my salad I noticed advertisements posted on the wall for school events, and then my phone started to buzz. An E-mail. Thank goodness for my Blackberry.

Through out the day my phone will buzz whether I am in class and can not check it or just walking through campus more than once with an e-mail, a Facebook notification, a text message, etc.  These are all constant sources of media. In addition, I think I am more aware of all of the signage posted around campus that I never noticed before.

Once I was done with my day of classes and came back to my room to relax I needed to study for MCOM 101 quiz that was the next day (February 16, 2010). Since for the quiz each student had to find 3 articles from the New York Times, I sat down to read the newspaper on-line. The newspaper is another media source.  While reading my articles and reviewing my notes for the quiz, I had my computer on. In another tab on internet explorer I had Facebook open just so I could see if anybody would be writing on my wall or someone wanted to ‘Facebook’ chat.  I realized that even while studying, I needed my media sources to be available to me.

At 9pm I had my weekly meeting with my sisters of Alpha Xi Delta in the union. During that meeting I wasn’t really influenced by any additional sources of media, which I hadn’t noticed earlier. But when I came back to my dorm room at around 10:30pm I realized I had missed one of my favorite shows, One Tree Hill, that was on at 8pm (I went to dinner with some of my sisters in AXiD before meeting, making me miss the show).  So when I came back to my room, I went on the internet and was able to watch it right then and there. After all that media consumption for one day it was time to go to sleep.

The next day, Day 2, was Tuesday February 16, 2010. I was again surrounded by the media. Same as Day 1, my morning started exactly the same. Get up, check Facebook, shower, and watch a little TV, while I got dressed.  The only thing different was that, I reviewed my New York Times articles and read over my MCOM notes. All media.

Through out the day I was overwhelmed by the media. You can’t escape it. With my Facebook notifications and the emails coming to my phone through out the day, I am constantly in touch with the media. I was also more observant of notices, publications, magazines, books and ads throughout the school buildings and the campus, over the pass 2 days.

I returned to my dorm and started homework. I suppose it is a habit, but I like to have the television on while I am doing my homework.  As I did my homework with the television on in the background, I noticed many commercials.  Some commercials caught my eye and I noticed the product placement and was influenced by some of them. Media changes the way people look and things. It even influenced me to go downstairs and get myself a Diet Pepsi.

After all my homework was done my friend and I went for a ride to go to Chipotle for dinner. We listened to the radio, which is another source of media. We listened to mostly music with occasional news/entertainment, weather and traffic stories. In addition, the commercials on the radio were really audio ads that attempted to influence the way you think. We almost went for pizza because of a radio ad that we heard on our way to Chipotle. But we were in the mood for quesadillas. I noticed at Chipotle all of their ads for dinner combos that could save you money. Normally, I would have gotten my usual dinner, but this time the media actually saved me money.

After I was done for the day with everything that I had to do, I finally was able to go to bed. While I lay in bed, I watch and/or listen to TV because it relaxes me and helps me fall asleep.  I even sleep with the media.

I never realized until writing this log how much media is in my everyday life. Media is constant. You can’t hide from it. It is surrounding us everywhere. From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. However, the media does keep me in touch with what goes on in my immediate surroundings, with my family and friends, as well as what is going on in the world. Without it I might be living a very sheltered life. I also realized that I am on my Blackberry constantly and if I am not then I am checking it every free moment I have. Why do I need all of this media? Is it my fault that media is pushed upon me or is it just the way life is?  The next two days are going to be a struggle without any media. But we will see how it goes. Stay tuned.

NICHE.

While sitting on the couch or lying in bed, do you ever think to your self while watching television or a movie or reading a magazine or newspaper “Why did they choose that?” or “Why am I watching/reading this?

Don’t think that this is a coincidence. Producers/editors realize that each person is different and each person likes something else. They choose what they put on the TV or in the magazine for a specific reason. We are all part of a “Niche Audience”, or a fraction of a total market. The American viewing audience has highly specific needs. So whether you want to learn your ABC’s, watch a sporting event, like ice fishing or even learn how to bake a cake, television marketers are making sure that it is all right there for you. Each person’s interest is taken into consideration. People don’t think about this when they watch television or read a magazine. When watching television, one might say to them that this one show is about me. What you don’t realize is that it is not only about you but also about millions of other viewers saying the same thing.

I didn’t realize this until watching the video “Media History: The Story of Film, TV, & Media” in Intro to Mass Communications at Towson University. The television network grew from three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Television was simple and life was simple. Now from three networks we have broadcasting as well as cable networks. The television industry/era skyrocketed. Today we have more than 100 channels with something different for each person to be interested in. The television industry has looked at all of the different “Niche Audiences” and addressed their interests by producing shows on more topics than I knew even existed.

I never thought about why this television program was so appealing or why I wanted to watch. What I didn’t realize is that I am interested because it is directed towards me. It was not by accident but it is on purpose that I enjoy this show. I can relate to it and I can put my self in their shoes.  I remember seeing an interview with Ray Romano. He was the writer, producer and star of “Everyone Loves Raymond”. He was asked why he thought his show was so successful. Ray believed it was because the story lines were taken from real people’s lives and people could relate to them.

Most people in America watch television. Typically we are usually watching a show for a reason. It’s not because it is just something to watch; but it is usually something that you personally enjoy and can relate to. You may learn something new, or just be entertained.  You may not think about it at the time but this television show was targeted just for you. The television market found “your niche”.

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