Sunday, September 27, 2009

What is wrong with a mixed media diet? (part two)

This post contains allusions I made during my previous post, and I'm mostly writing this because I'm feeling guilty about leaving it short. You see, I alluded to two separate consequences of the mixed media diet in today's society.

Doesn't that sentence just feel like it belongs in undergraduate media studies? Anyhow, alongside the consequence that people have less time and inclination to read print media, the increasing number of hours spent per day on broadcast mediums has led somewhat to a decrease in literacy.

I'm not talking a major slump. I'm talking about just little things that lead me to believe the people taking care of us in the nursing homes may not be able to read the prescription on our medicine bottles properly. Don't worry, I'm not about to engage in a teen-bashing blog posting as there's already enough of those around the place. Instead, I'm going to attempt to offer some kind of insight into the media habits of the young'uns.

Oh god, I've become a social commentator.

I'd like to think that I'm not so different from teenagers today, being 22 and all, but I find these new creatures vastly different to myself. I wrote in my last post about the customer who spoke in Internet terms in the real world. Who actually said 'OMG' instead of 'my goodness gracious' or something less wanker-y.

Of course, this is starting to sound like just another blogger trying to comprehend an entire generations using analogies and broad generalisations and I fully accept that. I know there are those who express themselves quite well and are well read, in fact, that's one of the benefits of the mixed media diet.

You see, the new generation are viewing a heck of a lot of broadcast medium, and a heck of a lot of embedded media. These are the kids cooped up on a Saturday watching Skins on DVD and youtube clips of people failing. While those habits don't exactly broaden the horizons as much as reading a book the size of your head might, it is making young people more confident with the spoken word.

Granted, sometimes the words aren't correct but is it my imagination but are the new kids on the block a lot more confident? Of course, many would begrudge these traditionally uneducated kids the right to confidence these kids are a far cry from the stoic gen X'ers. Whereas the media may portray them as shut-ins attached to a screen, while they're out of the house they're not shy about their ambitions and about speaking.

Speaking, is our primary form of communication and taught before the written word. How we learn to speak is largely by listening to those who know how to speak. These kids have been given a DVD as a babysitter and are spending their time predominately listening to other people speak on their screens. They are learning and adapting to the new forms of speech, and they are now more than ever equipped to express their views. Of course the massive downside to this is that their opinions are generally ill-informed.

I wrote in my earlier post about the advantages of print media being able to offer informed and in-depth debate and fact to flesh out said debate. Whereas TV and radio try to do this, they just don't have time to, and online news don't want their readers to get eye-strain from reading too many words and following a stream of logic.

Of course, the question now is: Where are the next generation of decision makers getting their facts from?

They certainly aren't getting their informed opinion from print media. While I'm not here to bash other mediums, I think the best broadcast mediums can do in terms of news delivery is whack on a couple of opposing voices to have a bitchfight (On the topic, did anyone see Caroline Wilson and Roy Masters on Offsiders?) without ever answering the all important 'why' question. Broadcast is caught up in the politics of the day woven into a grand narrative, whereas I see print as the wise-man able to ponder, reflect and analyse before offering an opinion (at its best anyhow).

Our kids are being drawn to these mediums, and policy makers eager to get their mugs where the people can see them will be more than happy to offer up an inflamatory opinion in the hopes of being invited back next week and ultimately being re-elected.

In short, other mediums in comparisson to print media offer a lack of insight which those who want to be seen are all to happy to pander to. Welcome to Spin City.

'Till Next Time

1 comment:

Melaisis said...

Being a social commentator is one step below being a 'pop culture commentator', which is like, the lowest of the low. :P Next you'll be on Fox talking about Mass Effect sex. ;)

Its rare to see anyone defend print media, but you're right. The online platform means anyone can sound off about anything and bare little responsibility if they're wrong. Similarly, TV always seems pushed for time. However, print has never been fully free of spin. Just because papers have the freedom to make a fully-formed argument doesn't mean they always do. There's more stigma towards old media being biased and inaccurate then there is new media. Furthermore, long-form bollocks doesn't always make for decent reading. Old media journos DO take the chance to reflect, analysis and conclude in their articles, but it can be bloody boring to read. Of course this is the fault of the editorial department, but it comes as no surprise that people are going off print, especially when some writers take two paragraphs to make a single point. The point itself may be a very good one, but no one has the patience for such bullshit preamble any more.

Should kids be chastised for preferring the spoken word to reading? I believe it all depends on context. Make them know that a politician is OK to listen to, but reading the manifesto is what counts.