I just finished reading Nick Bilton’s recent “I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works“, a thoughtful book on the emergence of digital media and how it’s impacting our society. One of the concepts that has stuck with me is Bilton’s thoughts on how we naturally adapt to new media forms and learn to displace old ones in our daily life. As an example, he illustrates how the emergence of television caused people to change their media focus in homes, moving radio consumption to being experienced mostly in the car. Bilton makes a good point about how organizations demonize new media forms and their effect on learning and growth, especially in youth. Comic books were supposed to encourage juvenile delinquency, and now mobile and texting is supposed to limit children’s use and understanding of the English language. There are many studies to support both viewpoints, but one perspective I find lacking in the discourse is the youth’s perspective. Yes, media creation and consumption is in overdrive these days, but is it really a problem for ‘society’ or just the older of us? My 12-year old niece doesn’t seem to have a problem texting, watching tv, and listening to music all at the same time — in fact, she sees it as a natural habit. In discussing the impact of the media deluge and what it means society’s development, how much of the discussion is tainted by our individual ties to old habits and our hope that we won’t get left behind? In the short video below, 12-14 year-olds talk about their everyday media use and how they feel about it. For many of us over 35, the only habits we might find similar to the younger generation is that texting and studying is not a good combination.
What do you think? Are our feelings about today’s media diet tainted by our age and old habits? Can you teach an older dog new tricks? Comment here or wherever you interact with me.