A couple weeks ago several students at my school started a nasty Twitter page; anonymously attacking and bullying other students. I was angry and disgusted at how ignorant and blindly stupid these attackers were. It was natural that the student body was divided over this Twitter page. It was natural that teachers said it was dumb. It was natural that supervision got involved. Ideas were thrown, thoughts were pitched, but no one offered a solution to solve the problem. Sure, kids got in trouble, but what are we going to do as a society to teach children to put a filter on themselves?
I sat down and listened to a radio show from On Being with Krista Tippett where she had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Seth Godin. Towards the end of their talk, Tippett asked Godin about parenting and what he said got the ball rolling for something much larger. Godin said when it comes to social media, he teaches his kids that people will always be watching. Yes. Just yes. A lot of times, I feel as though students don’t have a filter because they think only other students can see what they’re doing. They don’t realize that things like photos you post and things you say get attached to you and in a sense— label you. You create your own content. It’s almost as though social media accounts are a preview to who you are as a person. It’s odd now because you can be judged by hundreds of people who will never meet you in person. What label will you create for yourself?
Godin says we’re all artists…are we? I think the real question would have to be….what is art? What is the criteria for something being art? I deem things that are created as art. And if you have to create to become an artist, then no; we are not all artists. Here’s where I contradict myself…Writing is an art form. Tweets are composed of writing AND photos (sometimes). Are tweets….art?
I want to say no, but I can’t either. On my Twitter feed and I can find anything from this:
to a beautiful and meaningful photo like this:
It becomes obvious which one we would consider art.
For the longest time, I wanted to be like the first tweet. I wanted to be able to send the most simple and grammatically-incorrect tweets and have people think I’m cool, but now I see it as a lame way to grab attention. I look at it now as a way people are using social media not for connecting and making the world a better place, but filling this realm called “the Internet” with useless noise.
I have a solution for this “useless noise”. And it starts with schools. There are so many “Internet Safety” talks and talks about being a responsible member of society on the interwebs, but honestly…no one cares. I feel like whoever designs these talks needs to sit down to a SOAPSTone lesson in my English class.
The message is definitely not getting across. In my video production class the other day, an idea was pitched to make a PSA video about throwing away trash. Time and time again this video has been done with no success of people actually throwing away their trash, so my teacher stopped them and asked, “What will you do more effectively than the people before you to get this message across?” I think any creator needs to ask themselves this question.
“What will I do that’s more effective than the people before or among me to get my message across?”
This idea is always brought up in my English class. How will we as writers, add to a conversation? It’s one thing to say something, but another to qualify it. And in that sense, how do I do more than just agree or refute ideas that came before mine?
I think it comes from not only divergent thinking, but also straying from the given.
“Most people who are making an impact, they’re doing it despite what they learned in school, not because of what they learned in school.”
– Seth Godin
Most of my ideas, whether it be for writing or a new video I’m making or anything really, come from the things around me. And I, am around school for at least 8 hours a day. I want to learn—no, change the way I think. I want to be able to take a situation and flip it around so I see all angles. I don’t want to leave school only to learn to be afraid of putting my ideas out there.
I want to be brave enough to assert my ideas with confidence. I want to be brave enough to call out those Twitter kids. Godin says you can’t change the world, but you can affect a large subsection of it. I want my impact to not only be focused for those people with the same passions as me, but I want it to expand to those who don’t agree with me.
“Let me know what you think and please share – especially if you hated it!”
-a Facebook post from a new videographer