Thursday, October 11, 2007

Generation Q-uestionable

The New York Times' Thomas Friedman published an Op-ed piece on Oct. 10, that calls my generation "Generation Q." According to Friedman, the "Q" stands for "Quiet," a trait we have earned for our lack of political participation, activism and other antiquated 1960s rhetoric.

Here's a link to the piece:

Why is it that former Hippies and other activists of the 1960s keep trying to relieve their glory days? I think it's time that these peace-seeking, tree-hugging, middle-aged Americans get the clue that their time as past. Sure our generation chooses to address current issues in different ways their our predecessors, but that does not mean that we're avoiding them altogether.

Think about it, more students volunteer than ever before. More students are actively engaged in their communities and conduct community service. Our "Idealism," as Friedman calls it, transcends every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Simply put, we're concerned with the welfare of others and the overall good of humanity.

So my question is, why protest when our silent form of activism seems to be working? Has direct confrontation ever fully changed anything? The peace rallies of the 60s and 70s went on for years before the Vietnam War ended. Our passive-aggressive approach to the War in Iraq has already led to some changes there. At least President Bush has said some troops will be coming home soon. Besides, has the majority of Americans asked for a complete withdrawal from Iraq?

Maybe our Idealism feeds our apathy, or maybe it will become our generation's guiding principle as the baby boomers retire and we step into their leadership roles. I'm bold enough to say that our generation wants to make the world a better place, not divide it on religious, cultural or political lines.

Generation Q is not a questionable one, we're a steadfast one that is seeking change in our own way. Older Americans shouldn't chastise us because we're taking a different approach. They should applaud us for having our own sense of identity.

Lights out on the media

Well... sort of. Last Friday, as I was teaching my MMC 2100 lab, a storm swept over the Gainesville area and knocked out power in Weimer Hall.

I dunno if I'm reading too much symbolism into our unfortunate black out, but without computers, air conditioning or PowerPoint, it was time to cut class short. I mean, how could I teach my students about definite and indefinite articles without PowerPoint? Did you actually expect me to use a chalk board?

Well, much to my students' chagrin, I did, and after an hour of non-air conditioned classroom bliss, I set them free to finish and e-mail me their assignments.

In this age of computer-based readership, is it time to call it quits for print newspapers? Is it worth killing thousands of trees each year for a print product that fewer and fewer people are reading in lieu of a digital one?

Well, that may be up to the next generation of media executives to decide. Don't get me wrong, I still appreciate the print product and actually prefer reading the print edition over the online one, but online newspapers are now making a name for themselves.

Not to mention blogs, just like this one. For the first time in media history, average citizens have the chance to share their stories without having to go through local media to get their news across. They can also share their opinion in a relatively anonymous way without harassment. Hmm...sounds like information-sharing perfection doesn't it?

Of course there will always be a nice for a hand-held paper product. Where else would old folks get their Sunday coupons? But the tides are changing, and my generation may be the one's to decide which direction they go.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"We the Media"

So I'm reading a book called "We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People," for my New Media and a Democratic Society course and am surprisingly enjoying it. Now I will confess that I just finished the first chapter, but from what I've read so far, the books seems to be rife with information that discusses the state of modern media.

I bring this up over and over again simply because it's a phenomenon that cannot be avoided anymore. The media is changed. Sure older readers still enjoy their printed newspaper, but how many young readers still pick up a paper and read it? Instead, they're heading online to read news Web sites and blogs to get their news. Whats more, these readers are participating in the process by adding comments to online articles, posting to their own blogs and essentially serving as watchdogs to the fourth estate. Having that extra layer of protection certainly can't hurt democracy, right?