The Social Media Life of Teens: Why is it so important and how they use it
Generation Y and younger it seems feel like they must have a cellphone to be constantly connected. If not with a phone, certainly a laptop, tablet or even desktop computer can be found nearby. There is a quickly growing generational gay, as well as income. With these gaps the information divide is deepened.
Teens with access to social media are not only able to use it to stay connected to friends and entertainment or pop culture, but also are beginning to use it as a tool of learning and marketing for themselves. In economically disadvantaged families this information and digital gap is felt particularly intensely, but they still find ways to creatively and effectively cope. In areas where this gap may be felt the strongest, libraries, basic internet access and traditional teaching methods are utilized heavily. Lynn Schofield Clark discusses in the article, “Digital Media and the Generation Gap,” how in these areas that education, such as test scores or literacy rates may be lower, there is not a lack of reading. Libraries actually are visited more and offer more resources than in areas with access to higher tech.
Vanessa Dennen from Florida State University studied how high school students use social media and how schools are beginning to implement informal learning practices and the trajectories they could lead to in the near future. By schools integrating technology into the classrooms instead of standard paper and pen methods, it is teaching kids how to safely navigate this landscape and use this massive source of information to benefit themselves. They are now able to market themselves by learning from others in their area of interest and using this knowledge to benefit their future career paths. Social media can also be used to help in future planning. Trajectories can be inbound or outbound planned depending on the path the teen has chosen and where their media interest lie.
Through the ways that teens interact, to communication, even dating and the development of a new social hierarchy. Teens and younger ages no longer socialize quiet the same. There is much more intricate in person and online rules to be followed. For someone to truly have friends it seems they must have followers, likes and have to present themselves in the very best or ‘real’ way online, at least as real as you can be behind a screen. The online profile that a person has become the new form of a first impression and if they do not present well or lack certain standards, they may be at a disadvantage with the group they are ultimately trying to become a member of. Social media also connects people to each other 24/7 now. People feel that they are never alone because there is usually at least one of their connections online at all times. Teens have created almost scientific formulas to determine how and what to post, when is the best time to do it for interaction and how to get continual growth in their followers and responses to their content as addressed in the Frontline Special, “Generation Like,” with Douglas Rushkoff.
When it comes to online dating there are different rules and codes to what each interaction means, such as the different between texting, talking through snapchat or Instagram messaging and how the actual in-person interactions will commence. Angus Davison discusses how it is now incredibly easy to hide an identity online and ‘catfish’ meaning lying to a person about who you are. Or vice versa, it is the quickest and easiest way to learn everything about a person and spend that face to face time developing the more human and physical responses to a foundation of emotional connection that has already been cultivated.
Teens and Corporations Working Together:
Generation Y has been the main drive behind the changing values, preferences and main behavior that created stability over time to create the media rampant age. Gifted with media from young ages, they have been the ones to create platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and others to have the actual impact and social responsibility that are present today. It can be seen in how they disseminate healthcare information to communities that where hard to reach before and the rise in public engagement in many situations. Bolton outlines this well in the study of “Understanding Generation Y and Their Use of Social Media: a Review and Research Agenda.”
The thought of what technology is no longer exists, but more what the content that technology holds has to offer. Teens learn how to market themselves, as well as the products that they use, which is driving how the future of social media is being used by media itself and how companies use it. Companies now are looking to teens for free marketing. Teens who like products will discuss these with friends and followers, promoting these products promotes the company and then develops a relationship between the two. Companies use incentives as well to engage these younger viewers, offering free products to YouTube stars for publicity and reviews, point systems to meet stars that also may use their products or even hiring teens and paying them to become promoters through different sources of reimbursement.
In the future, it is important to look to the change in popularity between social media sights, as well as tracking the different types of data that they can offer about their users. These different societal values and behaviors will continue to create the divides and drive generations apart but can also offer insight to the future inner workings of social behaviors, marketing, media and where technology itself may develop. Focuses should be more in the area of the interpersonal connections that are developed through social media interactions and the actual effects physically and neurologically that it may be causing. The question of if the technological savvy will form humans into a new species or if they will inherently begin to be smarter because of new upbringings are very real possibilities from current findings in the still very new area of study. Also continuing to expand the exact definition of what the digital age and how far these social interactions can develop in the old vs. young debate can help determine will societal values will shift and develop.
It is within these developing times that we can use new information to continue developing smarter and faster. These strategies can help bring insight to effects on economic and cultural gaps, and possibly bring real world solutions to trying and closing these as much as possible, leading to a more equal, free and knowledgeable society as a whole.
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