Author: Catherine McCormick

It’s All Show Biz Now

How the Internet might be helping (or hurting) the Theater Business

For many people the experience of going to a theatre production is a commonality. Most of us have bought a ticket (maybe complained about the price), got dressed up, and found our seats in the semi-darkness. We have sat through good shows and/or bad shows, and may have felt an emotional connection to the main character, theme, plot, etc. This experience is one that some

When our generation is discussed by the one before it we are admonished for our obsession to technology. I have heard it said that the experience of living in the present is lost to those who find their phone more important. I have heard that because of our technology, the average attention span has greatly decreased. Going from 12 seconds (in 2000) to 8 seconds (2013), which makes us 1 second below a goldfish. It seems almost impossible that we would be able to sit still and attentive through a rendition of any Shakespeare production.

I cannot dispute this statement in many cases. There have been times when people have missed out on a moment because of their distractions. But I also feel that it is not as dire as many have said. This generation is not one of just tech-zombies, although there may be some around today. People are still able to connect, have moments, make memories, etc regardless of phone use. One of these experiences is going to the theatre.

Before the spike of technology, theatre was one primary source of entertainment. Since then it has stayed a pleasure, but has become a lesser part of the entertainment world. Some blame this on the smart phone generation. They believe that our generation has departed from the value of the theatre arts and, because of this, it is a dying business. After all how can it survive among all of the special effects, photo shopping, special filming, etc that we consume and expect today. Theatre cannot truly be experienced unless it is done in person, face-to-face with the performance. This complicates things in a society that is used to quick blurbs and easy shares.

How do we make theatre a priority today, to this generation, to the next?

I have found that it may not be necessary to do this. Even in small school productions there is still an audience. We may not need to make it relevant, because theatre is timeless. The older generation should look at the phone usage as an advantage, not a problem. We are able to find productions online and search for locations, ticket prices, and critical writings about the production in an instant. This ability can help the theatre business stay prevalent and alive.

 

 

 

Does Social Media have an effect on Studying?

Media 1

Just this year I joined the social media rat race. Before, I was an “every once in a while” Facebook user. But my life changed considerably with graduation from high school and my purchase into the smart phone generation. In the beginning I was still not too worried about my social media footprint but I began to realize the benefits and disadvantages of being connected in an environment such as this.

Following this discovery I became an avid member of facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat (along with other sites). With these new apps on my phone I began posting, tweeting, adding people, etc. I soon began to spend more time doing this than otMedia 2her things I found important in my life. I felt my control slipping a little bit as studying became less of a priority.

In my case I found the onslaught of social media to be a distinct disadvantage to my studying habits. According to a Nielsen Media Research Study, almost 25% of student’s time on the Internet is spent on social media. This amount may seem small but compared with the other categories (including Netflix/other movie sites, research for classes, etc.) this number is significant. This research also found that two thirds of the students in this study reported using social media during class or homework. These numbers imply that the usage of social media could be considered a detriment to students and faculty, but they don’t have to be.

Although there are many cases in which social media can hurt a student’s progress it also has helped! Many students inside the class and graduated have found that social media has helped in making social/networking connections, providing easier access to knowledge about present and past times, and giving the ability to share their ideas and content. These sites also help get important news tmedia 3o people that may not have been as accessible as before.

Based on research done in the past, 73% of American teens are involved in social media in some shape or form. Is this number a good or bad one? This could mean 27% of teens are not as informed as the other 73%. It could also mean that 27% of teens are better able to study based on the lack of distractions and ability to hold attention for a longer period of time. A follow up survey should, in my opinion, ask these teens their study habits and knowledge about current events as compared to those who do have accounts.

Media 3In many cases both parts of this question are valid: Are we a generation that no longer has the attention spans to study efficiently? Or are we a generation that has so many more opportunities based on the connections we make through these sites?

The answer is up to you!

 

Oberst, L. (2010). The 6S Social Network. Retrieved from: http://sixsentences.ning.com/profile/LindsayOberst

Jacobsen, W. C., & Forste, R. (2011). The Wired Generation: Academic and Social Outcomes of Electronic Media Use Among University Students

Wang, Qingya; Chen, Wei; and Liang, Yu, “The Effectsof Social Media on College Students” (2011). MBA Student Scholarship. Paper http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/mba_student/5