Millennials are experiencing an unprecedented change in culture. In the industry it’s referred to as “digital convergence,” the tendency of entertainment and information to exist increasingly more on the internet than in physical form.
Out of this we get social media, which plays a unique role in the lives of college students. Entertainment also plays a role; music, books, movies, and television are more accessible than ever before. While platforms such as Netflix and iTunes have monetized this digitalization, almost anything we want to listen to, watch, or read can be found somewhere on the internet for free.
To this end, let’s not forget Youtube. Over a billion unique users a month have unlimited access to seemingly infinite material. All at the price of watching a few ads, most of which we can skip over anyway. This is easy entertainment for college students on a budget, but ease of access can create an unquenchable thirst for more and meanwhile, life goes on. What’s at play here is “too much of a good thing.”
It’s important to maintain a variety of relationships in college. Increasing our reliance on media content to pass the time can dearly squander the opportunity that exists for us to network. We engage professionally with some and more casually with others but neither manner of socializing is easy. Furthermore, becoming an avid socialite only gets more difficult when too much time is spent in front of a screen.
Social media and online advertising shape our tastes on an individual basis. Media is reaching better-targeted publics and as a result, the number of films and television programs released has risen exponentially each year since the turn of the century. In the music industry, artists now have the resources to have their music heard everywhere. For authors, self publishing to the web is an option that has given birth to dozens of literary genres. So in addition to content in more places, there is also more content. I love it all as much as the next person, but I still contend that we need to prioritize.
As consumers of entertainment in the era of technology, we get the content of our choosing in abundance and whenever we want it. With mobile devices we also receive content wherever we want it. We’ve been enabled to tune out of awkward situations by simply pulling out a phone. Sure, visits to the doctor’s office are more tolerable now, but life (especially college life) is not a waiting room. Mind-numbing entertainment in moderation; let’s not miss the chance to be proactive and get involved.