By William Nash
My earliest media memory was being obsessed with “Star Wars.” My parents recorded “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” on our DVR for all of us to watch as a family. I loved watching the Rebels tie up the massive walkers on Hoth, laughing at Yoda being an incredible Jedi, and being taken aback by the incredible visuals of Cloud City.
Every day after that night, I came home from school and re-watched “The Empire Strikes Back” memorizing all the lines and recreating all the action scenes in my living room. I grew up five minutes from Disney World, which had a “Star Wars”-themed simulator called “Star Tours.”
Every weekend, me and my best friend at the time, went to MGM Studios and rode that ride. The idea of the ride is you were taking a tour of the galaxy hosted by C3PO and R2D2, which would inevitably end up being attacked by Darth Vader. One time after the ride, there was a character dressed as Darth Vader, and we ran up and attempted to hit him with our plastic light saber.
My media is very similar to my parents. We watch the same news channels, read the same websites and watch the same movies. The primary difference though is I use social media, such as Instagram and Snapchat for fun, while my parents despise social media.
I personally enjoy taking ironic, funny pictures to send to my friends on Snapchat while my parents view it as “a disaster waiting to happen.” They see social media as stupid and think it’s a bad idea.
Where I grew up compared to where they did is also a major media difference. Growing up in Orlando, mass media is everywhere you look. There are billboards of Harry Potter, Minions, and Disney’s latest princess all on one road. Mass media is so incorporated into Orlando culture, we were all taught the history of Disney as part of our fourth-grade curriculum.
I think one of the biggest differences between how kids use media today compared to how we use it is we see social media as more of a joke. Kids use it for news and to express their political views. I look at my Facebook feed and kids in my grade are posting funny pictures of memes, themselves, and other funny pictures, while kids a few grades below me post infographics, CNN posts and other forms of news. Also, younger students are encouraging activism, such as boycotts, sit-ins and other social movements.
Our generation was ground zero for social media. When we joined, it was only people posting about their lives. Now every media organization has a daily updated Facebook page.