MJi: Generational Media Differences

tammy-new-photo
Tammy Fowler

Generation Gap

Feb. 12, 2017

644 words

Mass Comm. In Modern Society

Jack Fowler

Aspiring Writer

JONESBORO, Arkansas- For my Media Journal I assignment about the generational gap and its relation to media usage I interviewed Tammy Fowler. She was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1965. Fowler is my mother and currently the Assistant Dean for Student Administration at NYITCOM in Jonesboro. The interview took place at her home on Feb. 11, 2017.

Fowler’s favorite form of media are books and the media she accesses on a typical day include her desktop computer, IPad, Cellphone, TV, CDS and the Newspaper. Her favorite media memories are when she saw “Inception,” “Interstellar” and “Arrival” in theaters. She said “Inception” showed her, “The power of our minds is something we do not harness and love is the strongest force to do so. We must build memories that are positive and hold on to/meditate on the goods in our hearts, minds and past.” “Interstellar” showed her that, “Love transcends time and memory. It gives us purpose and energy to be. The connections we have with each other through love are permanent and will remain. Also, time is not linear; our futures are not determined, nor is our past. We are not constrained to what we see or think at this moment. It can change.” Lastly, she said “Arrival” showed her, “Another non-linear time theme. Also, we must be ready to think differently, be open to new ideas and concepts, even when we may be the only one seeing it. Don’t give up, you will find a way.”

She remembers many historical events she witnessed via media such as 9/11, the Space Shuttle Challenger crash, Ronald Reagan being shot, the San Francisco Earthquakes and the 2016 Election Night. She feels that her life without media would be quieter, peaceful and boring. Also, she feels that without media she would be lost and on the outside of society, and she feels that it may give her more time to the things she wants.

Fowler and mine’s media use is not that different. We both use the same tools, but what we access on those tools is different. So, technically, we are not going different places to get the same information, but the information we get is different. I think this is because of the way media is set up these days. Instead of having to see information that you don’t care about, you can program your mobile media to what you want to see. That can play into one’s knowledge of local and national issues. If an issue is big enough it will show up on almost all media, but if an issue is not as big some media users won’t see that issue because of how their personal media use is set up. The different media use makes me somewhat more in know over a broader range of topics before she knows about some of those topics, mainly movies and entertainment.

Since she is my mother, our values are not that different. However, she does interact with other media, like books, that broadens her thoughts on her values while I tend to do that with different media, like movies. These shape our values into similar forms but do so in different ways.

I feel that this assignment has shown me how much my mother has transitioned throughout her life to the new media that has come out. She always tells me about how they had a TV with no remote when she was growing up and that they had a rotary phone. Now, she uses almost all the media that is out today. I think this shows her capability to adapt and how we should also be able to adapt not just in regards to media but life as well. What surprised me the most was how much history she has witnessed and then makes me think of which events I will look back on like her.

Chapter 3

Long-Tail Media

The kinds of long-tail media I consume on a daily basis are Youtube, HBO GO/Netflix, and Google Play Music. These are where I get basically all of my entertainment media content. Youtube is basically like my Television where I watch my daily and weekly shows posted by my favorite content creators anytime I want. HBO GO/Netflix is where I watch movies and shows that I’m interested in like, The Sopranos and House of Cards, and Google Play Music is where I get all of the music I listen to.

Some long-tail artists I like better than short-head/mainstream media are Philip DeFranco, H3h3 Productions, Cow Chop, Funhaus, Casey Neistat, and much more from Youtube. The rest of my long-tail media artists could be considered mainstream at one point in time, but maybe not now. This is because I watch a lot of old movies and shows like, The Sopranos and The Deer Hunter, and listen to musicians that are somewhat older. These include The Doors, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Smiths, The Red Hot Chilipeppers, The Police, and U2. I also listen to current artists that aren’t completely in the short-head like, Local Natives, Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie, Muse, and Radiohead. Again, some of these may not completely qualify for the long-tail, but I think they definitely aren’t completely in the mainstream.

So, how did discover all of these artists? My parents. They are the ones to thank for the older artists because that is all they would listen to while I was growing up, so that ear and taste for that kind of music bled into me. I discovered the newer artists by listening to some satellite radio that would play that stuff and Google Play Music because they have a suggestion and radio feature that plays artists similar to the ones you are already listening to which kind of led to a domino effect for the rest of my music. The movies and shows are somewhat based on my parents’ influence but also on my “research” for my career choice of being a Director/Writer. I’ve basically gone through and tried to watch the AFI, American Film Institue, Top 100 movies list and keep an eye out for anything old or new that has a lot of buzz from critics and people. Youtube is probably the one long-tail media I have used the longest. I started watching it regularly around 2009 or 2010. I would just watch gaming videos on a channel called Machinima and the rest was just a domino effect of watching one thing leading me to another and to what I watch today. So, for me, the long-tail media is the mainstream while the short-head media is the niche that I rarely use unless I have no other choice.

Chapter 2

The Medium and the Message

The medium I use for mass communication sometimes does change how I perceive the message. For me, this is because that when it comes to my approach to learning what’s going on in the world I try to take everything with a grain of salt. Especially when it comes to the television networks but also the internet because, in my opinion, you can never completely believe what you are being told. Which is why I say that the medium does change how I perceive the message because each different one I view adds a new perspective to the situation and in turn how I perceive the message.

This isn’t only with the news but also entertainment because when I watch a movie in an IMAX theater it is vastly different than watching on a television set. I feel more immersed in the movie and see so many different things I wouldn’t have noticed even on a 50″ tv. Which also plays into the senders intended way to view the message because if you think that every filmmaker wants to make movies for a small television screen with sub-par HD quality you must not follow the film industry. This can also be seen with speeches that are viewed or listened to versus reading it online or in a newspaper because the sender of that message intends for people to view it or listen to it so that the audience can feel the dramatic beats and emotion in the sender. It’s like reading a script for a movie or play. You get an idea of the story, characters, and the plot, but it isn’t fully realized until it is acted out. Which is why I am more comfortable reading something disturbing because in my mind it is not fully realized although most disturbing things don’t bother me completely when I view them. So, by changing the medium the sender or the receiver changes the way that message is perceived which can be positive or negative depending on the message and is one of the main themes behind Mass Communication.

Chapter 1

The Media’s Effect on Society

What effect does the Media have on our society? There is a debate among society arguing that the Media is the reason for the problems with our society. From violent video games indirectly causing school shootings, movies promoting violence towards women and sexual promiscuity, and songs that, when played backward, promote satanic beliefs. However, the other side believes that the people arguing these things are just using the Media as a convenient scapegoat for those real social issues.

Now, me being one of the consumers of all of these forms of media for my entire life I can’t help but disagree with the assertion that the Media we consume makes us do anything. I have played countless video games where I have shot and killed thousands of digital characters and have even played the favorite among the “blamers”: Grand Theft Auto. Yet, I haven’t killed anyone, been arrested, or even been pulled over at all.

I feel that when the Media is brought into these social issues this regard it is only whenever a tragedy has happened or when a new movie, video game, song, etc. is released that challenges what was previously accepted. So, stereotypically, the older people or generation that doesn’t understand or haven’t been a part of that media speak out about it. I think this is because they may be scared of the unknown things that maybe their kids are getting into and, when it comes to tragedies, don’t want to think that their kid or someone else could this. So, I think they seek to find something to help understand why someone would do that. I don’t think it’s wrong of them to do this because we are all misinformed on the things we haven’t experienced before. I just think it is a little short-sighted and ignorant to make a broad claim about something you don’t fully understand.

However, I do believe the Media does a little effect on our society but not in necessarily negative ways. The Media can shape our clothing, the way we talk, and can, in my opinion, have a positive effect towards our mental health. That’s another interesting topic to think about. Why is it that the Media is mainly shown in a negative context when it comes to its influence on society? Anyways, I may be a little bit biased since I want to be a part of this “influencing media,” but I think that when it comes to extreme issues the Media is not the main cause of the problems with our society. I think that when it comes to mental health especially that the Media has positive influence because of the cathartic effects you get when you watch a movie, listen to a song, or etc. I know that it has had that impact on me because whenever I’m going through a hard time if I watch my favorite movie I will legitimately feel better which I think most people has felt that impact and have forgotten that the Media they’re criticizing is the same Media that has had that impact on them. So, if we could all remember to take an open-minded examination of these societal issues that the Media is being blamed for, I think we’ll come to realize that we are all humans and we need to look within ourselves and others to truly understand the problems.