The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

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The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

New generation brings new media

My generation is lazy, incompetent, incapable of focusing on a single task, and completely unprepared for the world that we will grow into as adults.

Or, at least, that seems to be the idea that society at large is being sold. Personally, I’m not buying it.

It’s always been trendy for older generations to judge youth and compare their own lives and experiences to those of current youth. The results are rarely a favorable commentary on just how right the newest, burgeoning generation is. In fact, the results tend to be an examination of how [insert new phenomenon] is changing how kids perceive [insert long-lasting institution] and how the result will be a complete reinvention of [insert same long-lasting institution] that will bring the world to an end.

Literature and media continue evolving and changing with the new generations. (Helen Wiley)

The part of this formula for outraged editorials that I would like to challenge is that very last sentence. Yes, the world is constantly changing and things that we consider to be a permanent presence today may no longer be recognizable to the next generation. However, why does each generation seem to think that anything different from their past experiences has to be a bad thing?

One common complaint is that our generation’s attention spans have been ruined by the ubiquity of multi-tasking and multimedia in our online usage. While I certainly understand concerns about many peoples’ increasing disinterest in reading long-form literature, this change in interest is more likely a symptom of what direction literature will go in next. Not too long ago, the novel was considered to be a lower-brow medium of digesting literature.

Maybe the next wave of literature will be short-form stories and nonconventional poetry, or even combine various forms of media to tell a story. The potential of such a literary revolution becomes ever more clear to me as Kindles and other electronic reading devices become more common. Soon, new novels may be published in an eBook format that simply can’t be translated to a traditional, physical book.

The novel of the future may combine prose, verse, videos, audio, and animated gifs, among other things, to tell a single story, or even numerous stories at once.

In other words, young people aren’t too lazy to read a traditional novel; they just enjoy deciphering a story from various sources and means of communication.

This is not to say that novels will disappear forever. I, personally, love a good novel and I don’t see myself ever ceasing my habit of reading more traditional novels. However, I’m also open to the idea that the way that I will digest information in my future might be a more layered approach to consolidating information and narrative.

Very few authors publish their works as a serial anymore in the way that Charles Dickens did, but Dickens has most certainly not been obliterated from the literary canon. It’s rare to find any modern people complaining about the way in which Twentieth Century writers progressed from the ways of Nineteenth Century writers, so why should my generation’s progression from the past be considered negative?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that our generation is different from the previous generation because the world that we will inhabit as adults will undoubtedly be different from the world today. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, maybe our so-called deficiencies are only preparing us to exist in the world of the future. Maybe we’re not too lazy to focus on a single task, but just too ambitious to limit ourselves to one task at a given time.

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New generation brings new media