By Matthew Christian Brice Thompson
My earliest media interaction was music and the radio. Oftentimes, as a young child, I rode in the backseat of my grandmother’s car with my twin sister, Maya, and became fixated on the sounds coming from the radio.
Sometimes demands that the songs be repeated, according to my mother, would last the entire duration of the car ride.
My early exposure to music shaped a fundamental love of media that continued into junior high, high school and college. I joined the band program in grade six, but my sister and I also began creating many short news-like clips and recordings. We starred in them, edited them, and then watched them together. Although we would not publish the videos we produced online, sometimes we would show our family. Other times, we would simply laugh at how outlandish and entertaining our creations were.
I included the stories about music, and the quasi-news stories my sister and I would produce to highlight how far technology and the media has come in such a short time.
In those early days, the latest tech and gadgets for me included a television set (with built in VCR), Nintendo 64 console, CD player and a computer. Before entering high school, I was also given a Motorola Razr cellphone.
Other than the included “web browser,” I had limited access to the internet. Even my computer was not web accessible. There was no such thing as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Social connections were forged with MySpace and text messaging.
The principal media outlets of my childhood also included the television. The early memories of watching my high school band march the inaugural parade stand out, in addition to the unforgettable 9/11 attacks, because many of my teachers’ classrooms were simply inundated with news coverage of these events.
Fast forward to contemporary times, and I could pull out my iPhone and have the live newsfeed of the parade coverage, and even the thoughts of the president of the United States (via Twitter) right in the palm of my hand.
The media of my childhood shifted pretty drastically from the media my parents may have been familiar with. I can recall my mother’s use of a pager, car phone, briefcase phone, newspapers, etc. Generational differences in media use appear staggering.
Presently, while my mother still asks me to assist her in using her MacBook and iPhone, young children have begun using the same devices. In doing so, kids are exposed to media differently than me and my parents have been.
The use of media and consumption of media is more or less 24 hours a day, seven days a week now for kids and adults. Media has evolved into newer, more innovative ways to digest information, connect with friends and family, learn, find entertainment, etc. Nonetheless, the way in which media is used has fundamentally been altered.