Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Theorize This...

A portion of my graduate work concentrated on cultures within the university environment. Thanks to Peter Magolda, I think regularly about how small things can send a huge signal about what is important, what gets left out, and how to make meaning of those two. I will say that I learned a ton from his questioning of root paradigms, what "counts as good," and how history and context matter. This stuff really applies to life on a daily basis, no matter how explicit or implicit we are about understanding it.

A popular topic within student affairs and Peter's classes is generational theory. Right now, it is also common to wrap all of our current students into the category of the "Millennial Generation." A lot is being written about this generation because we (I think I'm a cusp Millennial) are supposedly high achievers, highly praised, highly supported by our parents, used to working in teams, highly stimulated and used to quick responses, and short attention spanned (There are multiple sources for this information, but these are the traits I remember off the top of my head). Over the past couple of days, this topic has come up a lot in professional and personal conversations, so I wanted to post about two things.
  1. My main concern with generational theory is that is categorizes the majority culture. Clearly, these "traits" of the generation generalize the group of people born in the 80s and 90s. While this can be helpful, the question I pose is, can it be harmful? In some ways, I think the answer is yes. As we hopefully move towards a more culturally aware and proficient society, using theories to educate individuals on large groups of people (i.e., generations) will be detrimental to our growth as a society. In other words, all generational theories do is make the majority culture look like the norm and continue to make others who don't fit into the "categories" feel oppressed. As the majority is written about, discussed, and catered to in educational environments, the theories reinforce themselves and therefore reinforce their status as the majority. I believe this can cause serious problems. Just some food for thought.
  2. I think this blog is a phenomenal conversation starter. I'd love to know what you think about it and how it provides a productive or destructive argument in the mix. It makes me go back to my first point and say, "I don't fit into this generalization," but then again I found myself saying, "Guilty as charged" to some of the points in this blog. It's almost inspiring in a weird way.
All of this is just some good material that I think is worth talking about. It's one of those topics that I don't think always has to be a deep conversation, but I love stuff that gets so many people fired up. You could talk to your friends, parents, and grandparents about this and get a totally different reaction. Either way, it primes the pump for critical thinking and social interaction. Go get 'em.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back to the Future

I found this video about social media and think it is very helpful in further understanding the topic. I know you may have been thinking that this conversation was over, but I'm still grappling with social media's affect on everything SOCIAL.

What I like about this video is that it breaks it down into terms that are easy for me to digest. When I think about what I want to do on this blog, I think that I'd like my "flavor of ice cream" to be something that continues to serve my original purpose of encouraging people to think about leadership differently and consistently, talk about bold ideas that shape our world, and consider reciprocity through a unique lense.

Let me know what you think of the video. Do you buy that social media is here to stay? What will be the "next" social media outlet that takes the individual "ice cream stores" out of business?