As I watched Dr. Michael Wesch discuss the power of mass media conversations, especially the video segment with the gentleman giving away free hugs as an example of changing the traditional media paradigm (Wesch, 2010), I was reminded of another video I watched on Youtube. This one is called "How to start a movement? Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy" It humorously talks about the stages of starting a trend or doing something new. From the single person changing his behavior, to the first follower, to the avalanch of copy cats who emerge after the first few join (Huang, 2010).
If you watch the video it describes the process of creating a new movement. From being a lone nut, to the first follower, to embracing others who join as equals.
Television revolutionized the world. People were able to bring the conversation into their living rooms every evening, albeit it was a one way conversation. Walter Cronkite would talk to us about the events of the day around the country and the world. This made Walter one of the most powerful people in the country. What he said was recieved as the absolute truth. He, and other news reporters, had the voices in the conversation. People were disenfranchised from having a significant contribution to the dialogue.
When I first got a twitter account a few years ago, a fellow teacher of mine asked me why I wanted to be a pretentious human being. Tweeting out every though, idea, and letting people know what you are up to was considered to be a bit narcissistic by my colleagues. After watching this video, I have been thinking about my students and how often the instagram images of their world around them, they tweet every minor detail of their lives, they send pictures of their food to let the world know what they eat, they worry about college acceptance, and occasionally send out tweets for help out of ackward situations. This is the first time that the mass populace has been able to contribute to the national conversation, or any large conversation, in a real significant way, as you no longer need to be on telvision to have a voice. So are my students narcissistic (as my former colleague tried to label me), or are they merely grasping at relevance? Personally, I think they are looking for a way to be relevant and contribute something meaningful.
Here are some examples of tweets by teenagers about various situations they experience.
Huang, G. (2010, October 8). How to start a Movement? Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy [video file]. retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbaemWIljeQ
Vagianos, A. (Ed.). (2015). Best Tweets. Retrieved June 6, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/best-tweets/
Wesch, M (2010, October 12). From Knowlegable to Knowlege-Able [video file]. retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8.