Tag Archives: Social Media

Why This Generation is All About Me

Or more accurately my response to Time Magazines May cover story: The Me Me Me Generation by Joel Stein, who claims that although millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents…they’ll save us all. And since I am a millennial and I have a blog I had to respond, duh! The story covers why we as the generation born between 1980 and 2000 are so obsessed with posting photos of ourselves on Instagram, send over 88 texts per day because god forbid something happens without us knowing, or why we can’t for the life of usĀ  move the hell out of our parents basement. First off I haven’t lived with either of my biological parents since I was fifteen and I haven’t lived at “home” for a year. I turned 23 in April. I was born slam in the middle of generation Me, in 1990. And I have few things to say because like duh I’m a millennial!

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For those of you who don’t watch Lena Duhnman’s show Girls the pilot episode opens with 20 something Hannah eating dinner at a fancy restaurant with her parents who sort of gently inform her they will no longer be supporting her life in Brooklyn. Hannah objects by basically saying she needs more time. Apparently this is the plight of every twenty something, although not many I know, but maybe her parents shouldn’t have supported her to begin with? Stein in his article brings up that new studies in the seventies claimed children with higher self-esteem succeeded more often. So our parents started feeding us lines like “you’re special”, “you can do anything”, and giving every kid a trophy just for playing the game. I’m not saying that’s bad, but I am saying maybe we’re not the ones to blame for our self obsession?

Here’s the thing, I grew up with my parents telling me I was great, I was so smart and pretty, too. And my teachers all throughout school, even college, told me I was so smart and creative and sweet, just a doll. (I grew up in the south and people still to this day say “you are just the sweetest thing, just a doll!”) Then I got to an unpaid internship for my bachelors program and my supervisors said you’re okay but you could probably work harder on this and this and this. Which in reality were great criticisms that I took to heart and have made me a better social worker. But for the first few months at my internship I felt like I was floundering, but I’M GREAT I said, I’M SWEET and CREATIVE these people are just blind, they can’t see how absolutely wonderful I am! (This post is painting me in a lovely light). I mean why had every one told me I was great if it wasn’t true? So it had to just be this one person right? Wrong. The truth is I am great at some things and I need to work on others like every human, but I didn’t know that because everyone had only told me I was great. Not just my parents everyone. That’s right, teachers you’re to blame, too. We have grown up with everyone inflating our self esteem, of course we all think we’re awesome! Of course 40 something employers hate us, because they were raised to work hard for what they wanted, and we were raised that we’re fantastic give us jobs!

2013-05-23 13.14.46Here’s a screenshot of my Instagram account

You can’t really fault our parents though because they thought they were helping us succeed. And, if my friend circle is an indication (I have over 1,000 friends on Facebook), we’re doing okay. Maybe we do spend our days photographing and posting our food, our faces, our fun, but we also do really amazing things. We’re more educated than the generation before us, we are also more mobile, I moved to New York City with $1,000 to my name and I’ve done okay (my parents don’t support me BTW), we wait longer to get married but when we do we have more equal partnerships, we are more globally aware and we are more invested in global occurrences. And as Stein concludes we’re nice, we don’t resent authority, and we’re extremely accepting. According to Stein we’ve lost the ennui and irony of those 20 somethings who were 20 something in the 90’s. And when I read that I realized he’s completely right. I watched Reality Bites, which according to its movie poster is “a comedy about love in the 90’s”. I came across the movie on Netflix, cuz I live on the internet duh!, and as I was watching the “comedy” I kept thinking why are all these characters so cranky? Maybe that sullen sadness worked in the 90’s but these days 20 somethings seem much more optimistic and excited, I personally like that attitude much better! We may be lazy but we’re happy about it!

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A “selfie” I took while writing this post, excuse the hair :)

Woolwich attack & Social media

Yesterday was a sad day for Britain but there was also clear signs of hope. The truly heinous and barbaric act that resulted in the loss of a serving soldiers life is incredibly shocking but I am confident that the perpetrators will be dealt with in the correct way, that is to be brought to justice by law enforcement. I felt that had to be said but it is not really the emphasis of the post.

Misinformation

Social media has a huge role to play in reporting the news. Often it is Twitter that breaks news stories before even the big news organisations themselves and that’s good but it also brings with it challenges. The problem is that on Twitter and other social media there is no overall control and verification. If you are not aware Nick Robinson of the BBC was lambasted for a comment that he made, he even blogged about that very issue today. People were, rightly or wrongly, questioning why he made those comments and how unhelpful it was. The comment in question was to describe the attackers as being of “muslim appearance”. The issue here for me is not so much the comment but the response. So many people were quick to judge without arming themselves with the facts. It turned out that it wasn’t Nick who had said that but he was directly quoting a source from Whitehall. I tried somewhat in the sea of tweets to inform people of the facts and in fairness many responded and thanked me for the clarification. Tweeting is great and I am a big fan of it but it has it’s limitations. It can be dangerous when such misinformation is allowed to go and be spread without correction. The news organisations do not have this problem as they check and have someone to authorize the story.

Desensitizing

The other main point that I would like to approach is video and photos of the attacks and the aftermath. With the world we live in now we want information now but that can come at a cost. As I was following the news yesterday I of course looked on the BBC and other reputable news outlets but I also followed Twitter. Unfortunately I saw photo’s that I don’t think I should have seen. Pictures of the poor soldier lying on the floor (deceased), photos of the attacker with bloodied hands…Has social media changed our way of thinking? Are we as a society getting desensitized to such atrocious photos? I question who thought it would be a good idea to share that? Imagine if the soldiers family were looking on Twitter and saw such pictures. Like I say Twitter and social media is brilliant but I think we need to step back a second and try and understand just what we are posting and the consequences of our actions before we click send.

Remembering

Finally I just want to point out a more warming side that I find heartwarming and encouraging. Within an hour of the page being created in memory of the soldier who lost their life, this Facebook page had over 1 million likes. I am glad that people can unite and I can only hope that as the family come to terms with their loss, they may take some comfort knowing they have people around the country and world (which is what makes social media so great) thinking of them and supporting them. RIP young soldier, you won’t be forgotten and Britain will stay strong.

Won’t You Be My Buddy?

Budweiser is launching some new drinkware this summer. Forget the iconic red solo cup, that was so last century, now we have the Buddy Cup. A glass complete with a computer. This new cup is connected to your Facebook account and anytime you clink glasses with someone you become their “friend” on Facebook.

This is a really cool idea, in theory. The problems though are many. First off usually when I go to a bar I go with a group of my real life friends, who are already my friends on Facebook. Second, after my first drink I become everybody’s best friend. I am admittedly the girl at the bar that is annoyingly like “heeeeey guys, yeah bff, *clink* whooo”. And I can already imagine opening up my Facebook the next day and seeing “Julie Sutherland is now friends with John Barguy and 58 other people” and hearing my exasperated groan as I defriend all these random people or worse just get overwhelmed and leave it, because it doesn’t really matter. Unless one of them decides to stalk me.

Here I’m going to sidetrack myself to say this: I like Budweiser. I like Bud Light and Bud Light Platinum, and Bud Light Lime, I cried at the super bowl Clydesdale commercial and I absolutely love the St.Louis Cardinals (if this looks out of place to you click this link).

However, this Buddy Cup brings up not only Facebook privacy issues (not their first rodeo in this area) but also safety. I’m already aware that if you are my Facebook friend, even if we haven’t spoken in fifteen years, you know or could find out everything about me. I have my school and work listed along with my age, I’m listed as living in New York, I add photos of me in Central Park and the kicker I have checked in at my apartment and surrounding restaurants and bars before. But I have my privacy settings high, meaning only my approved friends can see these facts. Except when drunk Julie starts clinking classes with the entire bar. And that’s the big issue, is the Buddy Cup opening up our Facebook’s to people we barely know? Yes. Is this a privacy problem? Absolutely.

Also on a less scary stalker note, I know Facebook execs. want me to have a million “friends” and download Facebook Home and check Facebook every five seconds, but don’t they also want me to like my Facebook? I can’t help but wonder if watering our Facebook’s down with thousands of “friends” is going to have the opposite effect and continue to push our feet out the door? Is this the beginning of the end? What do you think?