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Media Use: A Personal Reflection

Out of the Sandbox

By Nicole Campbell, mass media intern at St. Petersburg College

From preschool to the present day, the media has been integrated more and more into everyday life. Fifteen years ago, activities in the classroom were not as virtual as they are today. However, television programs like Reading Rainbow, Blues Clues, and Sesame Street introduced me to the media while starting a media foundation that that continues to be built upon as I do though my life. These television shows made learning fun and caused me to connect positivity to learning new things. I remember coming home and being so excited to watch my favorite, Blue’s Clues every day when I got home from school. I was able to draw connections from these shows to school when learning math and how to spell. The lessons taught in the shows reinforced the curriculum taught in school. Television was definitely the main media medium that was used in my preschool years.

Building off of the media usage from preschool, elementary school started to become more advanced in the media world. Videos from School of Rock and the Magic School Bus were used to reinforce the lessons and bring a different explanation to the table. I really enjoyed the use of these videos because having that extra explanation that put the lesson in different words helped me with my comprehension. Through elementary school video clips became more common in the classroom and were used maybe even every day in the lesson. Starting off the foundation with the educational television series and adding video clips specific to the lesson started a saturated mix that enhanced my learning experience. If the classroom was just one-toned with the usual lecture, notes, and practice assignments I feel as though I wouldn’t be as soaked into the information as I was. These different media sources demonstrates complex ideas that help develop quantitative thinking (“Why Use Media to Enhance Teaching and Learning”, 2012).

Fifth grade into middle school was the time when one of the best musical movies Disney has ever came out with, in my opinion of course, debuted. High School Musical probably had the largest impact on me from the end of my elementary career to when I graduated high school. Occasionally, I still go back and reminisce with friends about how much this musical impacted our lives. High School Musical raised the bar for the high school experience. This movie made me think that high school will be full of spontaneous dance breaks and musical numbers. Of course, that was not the case when high school rolled around. However, thinking about it now, it gave be hope for the future. It caused me to look forward to high school. This Disney Channel original also created a bond between my friends and I. We still scream at the top of our lungs to the grand finale piece, “We’re all in this Together.”

High School Musical encouraged students to break the social norms and showed that it is okay to try something new or talk to a people in different social groups. This helped tremendously because middle school is always an awkward time. Everyone is trying to find who they are and where they fit in. Even having the common interest in the movie created friendships that still see the light of today. Along with many positive things the movie showcases, it also shows the struggles of losing friends and mending relationships while balancing school work. It gave positive examples of how I could handle problems in my friend group. High School Musical later brought out my love for musical theatre in high school. It encouraged the, “if they can do it I can do it” attitude. This movie had me putting their t-shirts, posters, and soundtracks on my Christmas and birthday wish lists.  With 7.7 billion views the year it was debuted making it Disney Channel’s most watched film, I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t the only one begging my mom for a poster with Zac Efron’s face on it.

Along with my love for that movie my favorite band, The Jonas Brothers, became the love of my life. I’ve made many friends through loving this band and their music. Not only did it populate my physical social interactions, they inspired my first time using social media. They always encouraged their fans to find them on Myspace which turned into Facebook and YouTube. I wanted to be as connected to them as possible so I signed up for these social media platforms and haven’t deleted them since. I was able to connect with other Jonas Brother fanatics and learned that there was a whole other world online that was constantly growing. Singing up for social media platforms so young put me into the statistic that 59 percent of children are social networking by the age of 10 (Daily Mail, 2014).

My freshman year of high school was the year that I went to my first ever concert. It of course was the Jonas Brothers. This started my love and appreciation for live music and the production of a live show. The production side of the show mixed with High School Musical caused me to join musical theatre. With musical theatre came a lot of promotion for upcoming shows. This had the cast turning to social media to promote the show to more people than we can reach just walking the halls at school. Social media became a huge empire in high school. It got to the point where if you didn’t have social media, you were weird and questioned as to why. I have found myself thinking the same thing today when I meet someone that doesn’t have any social media. It has become the norm.

High school introduced me to Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. I was more glued to my phone than ever with wanting to see what everyone is up to while updating on my activities as well. A study from the Pew research center says, “92% of teens report going online daily.” I have definitely seen and experienced this first hand. High school was a pool of tweeting, snapping, and instagraming and as the class grew older, the pool of social media got deeper and deeper.

Because the radio promoted the Jonas Brothers, I of course started paying more and more attention to it. This sparked a fire that grew into what my career is today. At the moment I am employed at a media company and work in the promotions department for two local radio stations. This media channel mixes the production and behind the scenes aspect of music with the live show and listener interaction perfectly which is why this is my favorite media type and the choice for my career path. The radio reaches more than 90% of the population today (“Radio Facts and Figures”). Because of this statistic, the radio impacts people’s lives more than they think. If we didn’t have radio, streaming apps would me more widely used but the locality aspect of the radio would be missing. Radio is more individualized and locally driven which touches people’s lives in a more personal way.

Parallel to the music, listener interaction is one of the most important aspects of our success. This means updating social media postings on a daily basis is extremely important. It also means that I have a professional responsibility to make sure that my own personal social accounts are appropriate and representing the station in an appropriate fashion. Little did I know that the social media usage I was doing for fun in high school would turn into a whole social schedule that we have to follow for success at the station. My media usage has gone from educational video clips on a screen, through a live music production, and is currently coming face to face with a listener that makes radio what it is today.


Header photo from digilitey.eu

High School Musical. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_School_Musical

Lenhart, A. (2015, April 09). Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. Retrieved March 02, 2016, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/

More than Half of Children use Social Media by the Age of 10: Facebook is most popular site that youngsters join. (2014, February 5). Retrieved March 02, 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552658/More-half-children-use-social-media-age-10-Facebook-popular-site-youngsters-join.html

Radio Facts and Figures. (n.d.). Retrieved March 02, 2016, from http://www.newsgeneration.com/broadcast-resources/radio-facts-and-figures/

Why Use Media to Enhance Teaching and Learning. (2012, May 15). Retrieved March 02, 2016, from http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/media/why.html

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