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Media: Electronic Media and the Decline of Modern Society

Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 3
The teenagers of today are often characterized as media-obsessed and pop culture-driven. They plug into their iObjects every morning, flood themselves with electronic stimuli at night, and appear to be losing the ability to write in full words, much less complete sentences. It's a bleak picture of humanity that these generalizations describe. Real social interaction is becoming obsolete, and popular media is devolving into 140-character scraps of increasingly inane subject matter. We're only a few downward slips from a dystopia both isolated and overstimulating- each person alone in a room of glowing screens, glazed eyes passing over text and images, gold-fish memories not absorbing a single word. Aren't we?

As a member of the demographic in question, I say "no". While it may seem that teenagers only want to text, Tweet, and Facebook their lives away, this superficial observation ignores an important fundamental: Teens use media to talk to their friends. It's redundantly obvious, but important. No one participates in so-called social networking because they enjoy thumbing on tiny number pads or scrolling through pages of what people ate for breakfast and "bored. txt me". But these are the available means of doing what matters, which is connecting with other people. You can ask a young person how time they spend online or on their phone, but ask instead if that comes anywhere close to talking in real life. Talking with other people, face-to-face, in the same room, has always been and always will be the most important form of media.

Yes, electronic media plays a major role in daily life, but it's too limited to replace physical presence. The words alone, abbreviated into random consonants or not, lack subtle but vital details like tone and body language. These clues aren't always consciously acknowledged in conversation, but you miss them when they're gone. Countless times have I declared the need for a sarcasm font. This ":D" is not an accurate depiction of someone's face, and I have seen friendships tried by the misinterpretation of a joke. There's only so much that can be conveyed through a medium whose purposes are speed and ease, not thoroughness. When you have replaced the sound of laughter with "lol", which stands for either "laughing out loud" or "I have nothing to say but am letting you know I'm still here", something has gone wrong.

The nature of the Internet is impersonal. When websites like Facebook claim to offer connections and sharing and rekindled friendships, what they have is a homepage lined with status updates and pictures, nothing more or less. Such a collection can be informative and interesting, but still it's only bits and pieces that aren't meant for you from a person that may or may not care about you. This is not connecting. It's observing and maybe responding, communication disjointed by time and place. And in such a socially-conscious age, the true connections are even more important. Electronic media might be taking over, but my homepage will never replace my lunch table.
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Comment by kinzie52

Joined: 1/8/2011
Posts: 45
great job presenting your opinion! You're right about media taking over the way we communicate. I'm actually a victim myself! good luck on the contest!
Posted: Monday, April 11, 2011 9:44:41 PM
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Comment by michness

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 210

I'm the Writing Intern for

We wanted to let you know that your essay for our Teens and Media writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.

Two things...
1) Megan, our PR Coordinator, will be in touch with you via email (the one you used to register for to see if you'd like to be named in our national press release going out via PR Newswire.
2) Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.

Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:33:34 PM
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Comment by DarkStar49

Joined: 5/28/2009
Posts: 332
I think you made some strong points towards some of the disadvantages of a new age of media and communication. There are many who would probably be quick to point out the unlimited benefits! But in the end, your realization of 'your truth' in the matter is what matters the most. You did an excellent job with your essay!
Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2011 6:14:08 AM
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Comment by bugcandy

Joined: 11/5/2008
Posts: 286
I'm the President & CEO of and I wanted to personally let you know that your essay about teens and the media is the winner of our March student writing contest.

I will be emailing you (from the email you used to register for the site) with next steps on sending you the prizes.


Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011 3:13:49 AM
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Comment by sophtar

Joined: 8/27/2011
Posts: 6
Just came across this essay and I think its fantastic! I love the way you present your opinion and how you tackle the misconceptions about social media and teens' usage.

Loved it!
Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 4:33:18 AM
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