logo2By Ashton Rawls

2017 is all about social media. Everyone in the world has some sort of smart phone, laptop, TV, etc. Technology and media are everything. It’s crazy how much this has all changed in a short period of time. It wasn’t always like it is now.

My first media experience is probably pretty different than most. I was about 4, and I still have a vivid memory of an interview of the parents whose child was killed during the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. I was sitting in my grandma’s basement on the couch, all snuggled up next to her while we watched the news. I remember looking up at her, and she had tears streaming down her face.

I was confused because I kept asking her why she was crying and if we knew who those people were on television. She kept reassuring me that we didn’t know them, but that she had two sons (and I had two uncles), who both were active in the Air Force, and how she couldn’t imagine going through what the couple on TV was going through.

That is such a distinct memory because it was the first time I had seen someone I cared about be so heartbroken, and sort of understand what was going on. I will always remember that day and that memory shared with my grandma. That event will stay with everyone in this country for the rest of our lives.

My media in 2017 as a 19-year-old is completely different than anything my parents had at my age, but it’s only semi-different than what they have now as adults. Growing up, my parents didn’t even have cell phones. Nobody did. I got my first cell phone when I was 10 years old. I grew up in a household with multiple laptops, cell phones, televisions, etc., and everyone I knew did too.

I have multiple social media accounts, something that was unheard of when my parents were growing up. Now my mom and grandma have Facebook accounts, but that’s it. They like to keep up with old friends and me, now that I have moved eight hours away from them. My mom enjoys social media for that reason only. She likes to see what I am up to, and gets to see pictures of my friends and I at events that she probably wouldn’t see if she didn’t have a Facebook account. My grandma got Facebook a couple years ago and was able to reconnect with a bunch of old friends from college, who she has kept up with ever since. Things like that are what make social media great, but our parents didn’t have all of it growing up.

Social media is a lot different with kids now than it was even 10 years ago when I was in elementary school. We had things like MySpace, and if you were “cool enough,” your parents let you have Facebook, but it wasn’t as fun as MySpace. A flip phone was THE biggest deal, and you had to take selfies with your phone turned around usually ending in a blurry picture with half of your face.

Now, kids I babysit are running around with iPhone 7s and more followers than me on Instagram. They know all the latest trends in the media, etc. It is crazy to me how much it can all change in such a small period of time. I will be interested to see how kids 10 years from now use media.