Generation Like

“When I was a kid, we were outside from when the sun went up until the sun went down” and “Why don’t you kids ever put those electric boxes down and go out and make some friends” are two phrases I heard from my grandparents weekly while I was growing up. And they make some good points. WHY does this generation insist on being glued to their phones 24/7? As silly as it sounds, there are entire worlds on their phones.

When my parents and my grandparents were young they would come up with imaginary worlds, or pretend games to play, but this generation doesn’t have to. Everything they could ever imagine is already on their phone. And before anyone gets mad at me for this – I’m not saying kids shouldn’t go outside, and I’m not saying they should be glued to their phones 24/7, I’m just saying it the way this generation sees it.

Growing up with the internet as such a massive part of day to day life has definitely made my life great at times, but it has also made it terrible. Being a part of a tech-savvy generation I can’t imagine trying to drive more than 30 minutes out of my town without the GPS on my phone. Along with the technology that is useful in our day to day life, it’s incredible how quickly the whole world can know about something seconds after it happens. There are some perks to this, but there are definitely some losses. It’s great to be able to keep up with friends and family you haven’t seen in years, or celebs that you’ll never meet, but there were definitely some days in high school where I wished I couldn’t see all of the parties I didn’t get invited to broadcasted live on everyones snapchat stories.

In the documentary, Generation Like (2014) they interviewed various celebrities, and talked about how the internet has impacted where they are today. One of the people they talked to was YouTuber Tyler Oakley. I have been following Tyler for probably 5 years now. He was born and raised in Michigan, he went to Michigan State University, and we have a lot of the same interests – the most major one being Pop Culture.

Tyler Oakley got famous on accident. He went off to college and was no longer with his family and his high school best friends everyday. To make this a little easier for him and for them he started making random, low quality videos about anything and everything. As he continued to make these videos he started getting a following, and today he has over 8 million subscribers on YouTube.

Tyler is one of many internet stars, and one of few who are using their power and their voice for good. From reminding all of his followers to vote, to advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, it is incredibly important for people with a following as massive as his, to use their voice for good. What is the point of having 8 million followers if all you’re going to talk about is Justin Bieber and Grey’s Anatomy?

Social media has become a crucial part of day to day life, especially right now. With the election just a few weeks away, I feel like every time I log onto anything all I see is Donald Trump this, or Hillary Clinton that, and I’m still not sure if this is good or bad. Although I do believe that everyone has a right to share their opinion, are some of the opinions being shared taking it too far? I have many friends who will try and talk politics to me and all they can talk about is some article they saw on FaceBook that said this or that about one candidate so now they’re voting for the other.

Although it’s hard to be bombarded with so much information every time you log on, something my parents always taught me, and something that I think everyone should do, is take EVERYTHING you read with a grain of salt. Just because your second grade teacher shared an article on FaceBook does NOT mean that it’s true. Overall I think that the presence of social media in everyones lives, although it does have its consequences, is for the better. It’s a quick, easy way to share a photo with your grandma, or connect with your best friend from 4th grade. Maybe we should all just humor the grandparents who tell us to go outside, and bring our laptops outside from time to time, and surf the internet from there.

Koughan, F., and Rushkoff, D. Generation Like. (2014). United States: Public Broadcasting Station.

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