New Media = New Children?

 

Thanks to the advancement of technology, the world of communication has taken on a whole new meaning. Family and friends can now communicate with one another regardless of geographical location, and information can be easily obtained with a few clicks of the mouse. Blogs and social networking sites are norms than exceptions serving as the common platforms to voice one’s opinion.

New Voices

Considering how efficient communication has become and given Singapore’s development, surely our children have become more outspoken and more willing to creatively express their views in more ways than one. Give us a math, engineering or even business idea challenge and our tertiary students will easily come up with the right formula, set of calculations and business proposal respectively. Ask them to openly express their own views however, and not so many hands would go up.

Nevertheless, there are those who have willingly allowed the influence of new media – traditional media influenced by the computer and Internet – to alter their way of communication.

Youths are voicing their opinions through channels like blogs, forums, emails direct to media owners and so on. In fact, blogs such as XiaXue and ladyironchef have been championed by the masses for either their entertaining take on current affairs, or providing in-depth reviews about local eateries. The writers behind these blogs unveil their personality via their content, creating a unique identity that not only entertains, but also creates a loyal community of regular followers.

Then there are the more controversial characters like Mr Brown, who provides his point of view of political matters in a humorous fashion. To find more blogs by Singaporeans, visit www.sgblog.com.

Aside from the ‘private spaces’ mentioned above, there are also public forums where groups of like-minded individuals come together, exchanging opinions and bouncing ideas off each other on various topics. One well-established forum is hardwarezone, a place that provides the latest information and reviews on new technology.

New Avenues

A natural result of the growing popularity of new media would be that of new career paths. Singaporean youths are seen picking up a strong interest in sectors involving new media designing, filmmaking, app development for smart phones and other professions made accessible only with today’s technology. The schools are offering full-time courses revolving around new media. Republic polytechnic for instance, provides diplomas in Business Information Systems, Interactive and Digital Media and even one in Mobile Software Development!

I personally know at least four people who are doing such jobs on a freelance basis, and they have acquired quite an impressive track record that includes major brands. This only means that there is a market for such innovative entrepreneurs. Should you have any doubt about how lucrative careers in the new media can get, look at sites like Amazon, Groupons and of course, the grand daddy of all social networking sites, Facebook. According to the figures, Facebook is expecting to reach $4.27 billion in terms of revenue for year 2011. This will double its revenue made last year!

Taking the next step together

So how can parents and educators then play a part by leveraging on such trends to encourage creative expression of independent views amongst our children? One of the most effective ways is to use established case studies such as those mentioned above to inspire the children. Share with them the process likely to be involved for these successful personalities, including how not much capital and resources are required for them to be heard and recognised.

If you are seeking to “use” someone who is established in a certain field, then the Internet is at your disposal. Type words like “sg” and “filmmaker” and see the likes of Jack Neo, Eric Khoo and individual youths aspiring to make a name in the filmmaking industry.

From the looks of things, it appears that Singaporeans are not as reclusive as one would think. The opposite appears true instead, with so many youths dying to share their opinions with one another. And now that there is an efficient way to do this, all they need is a little nudging from the right person in the right direction.