The Kids May Have it Right: Copying = Ideas = Freedom
A generational tidal wave is upon us, with a debate on EFFECTIVE MESSAGING at its center.
For example: Why isn’t #OWS galvanizing throngs of young people for long enough to create a sense of escalation?
Most likely because the messaging of these organizations and movements are not keeping them ENGAGED.
The divide between generations can be understood through the ways each understands the use of media, specifically FREE USE OF MEDIA.
A number of recent scientific studies and editorials pontificate about the attention spans of a younger generation (under 25 years old is a pretty safe place to draw the line for now). An awful lot of time and energy is devoted to discussing the negative ways the so-called ‘Gen-Z’ or post-millennials process information. There are even PSA commercial campaigns now encouraging parents to control how their kids engage with information online.
The documentary film #ReGeneration briefly discusses how younger people simply use a process called ‘Time Slicing’ instead of processing information in its entirety. This becomes a justification to accuse an entire generation of slacking on important issues due to lack of attention span. Time Slicing, essentially a computer term, provides a variation on Multi-tasking.
I’d like to reverse this argument. What if the problem isn’t the kids?
I mean this is something very inherent post-industrial society. Older generations telling the younger generation they are less capable or lazy due to their own ambivalencsow out the innovations of the day. Radio, movies, television, and now the Internet–all have been accused of youth corruption.
Maybe the problem with society’s lack of advancement is not the younger generations inability to RECEIVE MESSAGING, but the older generation’s inability to MESSAGE EFFECTIVELY.
Historically, when a breakdown in communication between two generations occurs, a form of revolt often follows, the 60s Counterculture being one example. One could even go back another generation to say that the Baby Boomers’ parents revolted against their parents by leaving crowded cities for the suburbs and rejecting community in favor of fiercely individualistic lifestyles.
This generation, which some refer to as the Millennials, may already be on the precipice of their own revolution. However this one just may not be that visible, especially not to the preceding generations comprising most of the power structure.
This Revolution may Not Be Televised
It also may not be seen in the Public Square.
As I have said before, this generation has ANALOG EXPERIENCE of communication and media.
Millennials use art, media, music, film, video, and photography to express themselves, cultivate ideas, and maybe just enjoy themselves, by remixing, re-broadcasting to anyone seeking to be part of each curator’s audience. Since Profit from an end product is not the immediate motive behind the creation or manipulation of content, the thinking is “use whatever you want, get it however you are gonna get it and broadcast it however you are going to broadcast it and to whomever they want.”
This debunks most of the previous ethics behind appropriate or ‘legal’ media usage.
An older generation ponders these ethics because they have ANALOG MEMORY.
The emerging Millennial generation that does not see this as an ethical issue. The concept doesn’t even register.
When one generation tells the next generation that the foundations of what they have understood as building blocks to free speech are wrought with legal and ethical issues, even going so far as to criminalize it, a messaging problem results. For a younger generation, the message just doesn’t compute. They revolt by simply bypassing the older message and moving immediately to the next. This process is being interpreted by many communities as the Timeslicing Effect.
Boomers and Gen-Xers perceive their messaging as too complex for a generation of Timeslicers. Could it be that it’s just not Complex enough?