Over the past few months, I have been either consuming my vantage point as both the receiver and creator in the social media current to reach the unpredictably powerful Gen-Z for any potential media impression capitalization, or manoeuvring my vast cognitive capacity to give some meanings to my existence, or about the world (but in vain in one way or another). Acknowledging the horrifying phenomenon that the generations to come are not interested in introspection, knowledge acquisition nor craftmanship is like putting pineapple and pizza together (noooooooo) – a disgrace to the masterminds from centuries ago who work so hard to make sure the world was becoming a better place.
Yes, I said ‘was’.
Education, by far, becomes the most and the least important institution to prepare individuals for hierarchical survival. In the face of Youtube, Google and Facebook, no single problem that we have has not been to some extent solved by another person, historically or by way of machine-learning. Why shocked when some self-taught tech geeks, creators, consultants, strategists, and a bunch of insta-famous people with no specialties to speak of* transpire to be the drivers of change in the era of fame and influence. If 20 years of schooling is solely a foolproof validation for whom it may feed your mouth, then I wonder whether the fundamental objective of literacy and intellectual development is merely a political tool for mind-control. Think about it: all the unconventional career practitioners we all aspire to be emerge from a self-inflicted realisation of the parallel pursuit of interests, even if that is against the traditional virtue of competence and success. That being said, should the role of school evolve according to the modern-day needs or stay as it is for its glorious mission?
Players gonna play anyway.
Thanks to the internet, the upheaval of elitism propels alternatives and opportunities, giving the youth a leg up to standing on their own feet. Or not. Adolescence, according to scientists, now lasts till 24, under the unprecedented influence of digital media. Well, I can relate to that. In the grand scheme of Facebook and the like becoming the singular information footing, online interactions taking over real-life conversations, self-made billionaires building upon family stardom et cetera, spending almost 16-20 years of one’s life in formal schooling which seems somewhat unnecessary is indeed unconvincing to the quick-witted crowd.
So to speak, it is confounding to see how a shift of media changes the public’s perception of the world. The more you think you get access to, the less you understand – an everlasting paradox no one yet to apprehend. What we can do to identify ourselves amid a multitude of voices nowadays, perhaps, is to stand firmly on our grounds and be well-educated for new challenges, possibilities or opinions that may once again transform our surroundings, but never the core of us.
*we all know the talented few only account for a minority of the influencers (as we call them) out there
Text and photography: Hong Hiu Ching