Bringing Digital Media into the Classroom
Here's an excerpt from a paper that I wrote for Dr. Parker's class that details a teenager's use of new media. My thesis is that this particular student uses modes such as Facebook and her cell phone in order to achieve her current goal, which is to continue to be popular.
Using New Media to Become Popular
Ashley Queene * begins her day like many other sixteen-year-olds, and her morning is tinged with new technologies. Just like other Millenials who “sleep with a cell phone glowing by the bed, poised to disgorge texts, phone calls, emails, songs, news, videos, games and wake-up jingles,” she awakens to the blaring sound of “I’m Awesome” by Spose coming from her cell phone (Pew Research Center 1). She showers and then blow dries her hair while listening to her iPod on her iHome, which wails music downloaded from Limewire.com. She considers the act of straightening her hair to be something that sets the tone for the rest of the day. If her hair is not perfect, she does not feel comfortable being around people because she is afraid that they will judge her for “looking like a skank” (Queene). Ashley is also the only girl at her school who has gotten hair extensions. Once pulling on her standard uniform of torn jeans, Ugg boots, and her team cheerleading sweatshirt, she drags herself to her mom’s car before being driven to her grandmother’s, which serves as a halfway point of her morning trip. Her grandmother then takes her on to school.
*Ashley Queene is a pseudonym
of identity” (“The Youth and the Digital Media” 6). During her transport to school, a familiar
sound in the car is the tapping of the keys on Ashley’s Dare LG, which is the seventh phone that she’s had since her father (who does not play an integral role in her life) bought her the first one at age twelve. It is very important to Ashley to have what is considered to be a “cool phone” (Queene). The town in which she lives in very rural and poverty runs rampant. Ashley does not have a nice car, so her phone is something that tells others that she is not poor; also, she makes fun of her peers who do not have a cell phone that is as expensive as hers. Today, a teenager’s cell phone can partially dictate what level of popularity on which that student can be; so for Ashley, it is especially important that she has the right tools in order to achieve her status amongst her peers.
She continues to text on her phone all day, even in school, before returning home. Like most teenagers, using a cell phone is not “a fad” but an established fact of young life in the digital age (“The Youth and the Digital Media” 4). Ashley could never conceive not having a cell phone because she needs it to stay in contact with her core group of friends because they attend other schools. She also needs her phone to take pictures of herself because she constantly “takes pictures, sends them to an e-mail, and then puts them on Facebook” (Greene).
What makes Ashley different from her peers is her motivation behind her use of technologies; she does not access Facebook and post pictures online because she enjoys the actof uploading the pictures; she participates in these activities because they support her goal, which is to remain very popular in the eyes of her peers. When she posts pictures, she is most excited to see how people react to the pictures. For example, five out of eleven of her profile pictures are taken in school, which is strictly forbidden. But Facebook friends who comment on Ashley’s page are impressed that she is brave enough to take pictures in school. It has always been thought that doing something that is not allowed will make a teenager seem popular through their classmates’ eyes.