Posts Tagged Nickelodeon

Twittering away

I finally got a Twitter account and I’m not really sure why. You should definitely follow me (@SAEdelstein) while I figure that out. I promise it will be entertaining.

I’ve never been an early adopter of social media; I usually start by asking “What the hell is this for?” before caving when a critical mass of friends and potential employers start using it. Maybe that’s the source of my confusion.

In school, parents, teachers, and Nickelodeon characters were always saying not to do something just because it’s popular, to think independently.

That’s hard to do when it comes to joining a social network, because the network isn’t just an activity, it’s a space where social interactions (however artificial) happen. Things were less complicated when work and school were people’s only avenues for socialization.

“Because everyone else is doing it” is the primary reason most people join social networks, because they have to go where other people are. If a site is popular enough, it doesn’t matter whether the medium is 140-character messages or protein exchanges. It develops a gravitational pull of sorts that attracts more users.

Of course, it’s important not to put too much emphasis on Twitter or any other social media site. Users can post as much or as little as they want, but there is a difference between using a site and getting something out of it.

Being a late adopter is like walking through a conquered land. The hordes of discordant posts given the barest sense of order by warlord-like influencers with their thousands of followers hint at the possibilities, but remind you that, because someone has already figured out how to work the system, they’re limited.

Social media really isn’t a new frontier for human consciousness, it’s just the same routine as ever, digitized and compressed. The medium itself is where the innovation is: people are and will continue to use it to create new ways of expressing ideas.

Is that the same as fundamentally changing the way people socialize, though? if not, do we still have a choice to opt out, or will we be obligated to join the next new network, and the one after that?

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Nouveau Nostalgia

The ‘90s are back. Nickelodeon recently announced that it will be showing throwback shows like “Kenan & Kel” and “Clarissa Explains It All.” Are the program makers getting lazy? Absolutely not; they’ve just identified a lucrative market. A whole generation of T.V.-watching children has been born since Bill Clinton was president, but the real beneficiaries of Nick’s decision are the people who watched these shows when they first aired.

Nostalgia is a powerful force, especially when it comes to 20-somethings and their childhoods. That may seem a bit strange; after all, their childhoods just ended. Yet they love to reminisce: in addition to the demand for vintage television, there is a significant market for old video games. The Nintendo 64, the grandfather of the Wii is a popular choice but, unlike collectors of previous generations, many old school gamers still have their original systems.

Baby Boomers invented this consumerist nostalgia, seeking out the Matchbox cars and comic books their parents threw out, and putting a million dollar price tag on childhood memories. Some people (mostly men) feel the need to recapture a simpler time in their lives, or make up for experiences they missed out on when they were children (now they have enough money to buy all the toys they want). Or they’re just really immature.

However, Boomer nostalgia and Gen Y nostalgia are not the same things. The Nickelodeon generation doesn’t need to recall a simpler time or catch up on missed experiences; they are living what most people consider the best part of their lives. There is no need to recapture lost joy; the shows in question have only been off the air for a few years and were endlessly streamed on the Internet in the interim.

College students watching “Rocko’s Modern Life” between classes are not returning to anything; they are continuing to watch these shows because they still like them. Watching daytime television may no longer be age-appropriate, but the shows this generation watched 15 years ago still have appeal.

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