In reply to “Stop Calling My Generation Dumb”

My response to this blog post.

I could care less about what my friends Facebook statuses are. I’ll look at them next time I head over to Facebook, but usually only the top 3 because that’s what shows up on the front page. Facebook, for me, has been an incredible tool to keep up with my friends from back home. I’m living approximately 150 miles from where I grew up and if it wasn’t for sites like Facebook, or ::shudders:: MySpace, there are people I’d probably not talk to anymore. Is that good? Maybe. But, let’s also not forget, I work in an industry that relies more on who-you-know and not what-you-know, so having a large network on the social sites is important.

The lack of knowledge, or in some respects, caring of people in the 15-24 age range (and I’m just outside that, by the way, at 26) about history, politics, and current events does trouble me. My girlfriend is one of those who probably could not tell you who the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) is, or for that matter our Representative (Tammy Baldwin) but could tell you who won American Idol this past season (David Cook, but I direct a newscast that follows American Idol, so I saw the ending.) In fact, there’s been a number of times she’s told me that she would not watch the news if she were not dating me. And I’ve gathered, from talking to people, that most people younger than like 35 don’t regularly watch a local newscast, or any newscast, at all. And even fewer pick up a newspaper. Most people in this age range get their news from Jon Stewart, which while is an entertaining show, is not the best source of news.

And speaking of reading… I read books on occasion, but haven’t lately because I’m currently doing the jobs of 6 people at work. By the time I get home at night, I’m so worn out that the last thing I want to do is sit and read a book. In the past year, I’ve finished the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and if you’ve not read it, that’s 800+ pages. It took me the better part of a month to read, but I did read it. Now, I do like reading a physical book, but I’ve been exploring the option of “books on tape” (ok, Audible, but it’s the same concept) to keep up with some of the books out there. The fact is, though, that the more and more we get overworked, the less and less time that people of our generation will have to sit down and read.

The web is a great resource to use for networking. I’ve got myself on all of the major social sites, and I’ve linked to them from my website. I know that even as recent as last year, I was afraid to link to any of my social sites because of the thought that I didn’t want a perspective employer to know about them. But then I realized that one, they’ll find me anyway, and two, it’s not like I have pictures of me drinking and partying on there, so who cares if they see them. Now, with Facebook, we didn’t have it when I was in college. When we did group assignments, or needed to ask a question of another classmate, we either did it in person or through e-mail. Sadly, though, I’ve seen my fair share of gossip on Facebook and MySpace. (I actually have found out work related items there, before finding out from my boss.) Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen this or not, but I have friends on MySpace and Facebook, who I’ve never actually met in person. But we’ve “freinded” each other due to mutual interests, for example, such as both having been Broadcast Communication students.

Is it really that hard to find a professor during office hours? Granted, I graduated 4 years ago, but when our professors had posted office hours they were generally in their office or other place where they designated they’d be for their office hours. I had one professor who liked to hold office hours, one day a week, in the Brew Bayou, which is the coffee shop on campus. In fact, too, most of the professors I had would be happy to schedule an appointment outside of office hours, too, if you couldn’t make it to their office during the time they’d normally be there. Actually, it’s one of the things I loved about Marquette, was how accessible professors were.

Oh and none of them gave me a handout. None ever did. I’ve worked my ass off to be where I’m at, and I’m currently working my ass off to try and advance up in the TV world, though I’ve explored a few leads outside of it, too.

Now, I will agree with the originaly author, however, on the fact that people are more disconnected than ever these days. See my comments above. I work in television, the eyeballs on our newscast have shrunk dramatically over the last several years. People have more choices than ever with how to spend what little free time they have theses days, and it’s not watching the evening news, reading a newspaper, or even going to places like CNN.com. It’s spent with video games, friends, on social sites like Facebook, etc. Is this a problem? Probably, because we’re now going to have a generation of people who have no clue what’s going on in the world. Honestly, I think that if the 18-25 year olds out there would have looked at a newspaper, or TV news broadcast in 2004, we’d not have had 4 more year of Bush.

And my opinion on Shakespeare? Bleh. I had to take British literature in high school. That, and the philosophy classes I was required to take in college, were the most boring classes I ever took. Especially, since we were reading such dry, boring material. Give me a book by Cory Doctorow, Douglas Adams, Fred Schepartz, or even Barak Obama. They’re more interesting than Shakespeare (or Plato, Aristotle, etc.) And know, that does not make me less “intellectual” because I’d rather read something that’s less that 500 years old.

Honestly, the biggest problem, is that we’re over worked, over stressed and have too many choices for media today. We’re becoming a fragmented and disconnected society and it might come back to bite us in the ass. But it doesn’t make us dumb. Not at all. Unless you’re a right-wing Republican, that is.