GENERATIONS & MEDIA

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A growing trend in digital media is that as individuals grow older, they tend to participate less and less on online communities. The younger generations are frequently considered to be the most active online. UVA Media Studies Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that there is no such thing as a “digital generation”. Although, the youth are very active online, they do not constitute the ONLY population online. The skills of youth are often overestimated because digital media was available to them at a young age. However, many youth today (myself included) are far from experts of digital media. Although, when I compare my digital media skills to my grandparents, I would argue that a large generational gap does exist. I agree with Professor Vaidhyanathan to the extent that it is hard to define exactly what a generation is because we are unable to determine precisely when a generation begins and ends. Our generation today grew up in a society flourishing with technological advances and social media networks. I could honestly not imagine a world free of cell phones, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 sites that I use on a daily basis.

A new type of language and culture is embedded within each technology that has entered our digital world. Users of technology do not just simply obtain the skills and language used on digital media, but like every other follower and friend online, users have to learn and adapt to the online culture. Therefore, I believe that the elderly have the ability to learn and adapt the skills of online culture, but many of them voluntarily choose not to. In order to help the older generations become more in touch with the rising digital media culture of today’s society I recommend training classes to be offered at major media corporations. Some media companies, such as Verizon already offer a wide range of classes that the older generation can benefit from.

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