The culture of the millennial generation is blossoming. Social media has become one of several new mediums of self-expression. The smallest works can catch attention (see #crawsquad), and like a mosaic, they can become one of many small moments that make up who we are today. Thanks to YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Tumblr, etc., our culture is shifting and changing at a much faster pace and defines pop culture today.
With a liberal sense of freedom, controversies do exist. With social media comes a sense of fame as the works go viral. Justin Bieber became a star thanks to videos on YouTube. Ever since the fame got to his head, he has shown delinquent and criminal behavior. Miley Cyrus, once a pop-country musician, departed from her Disney persona, and in 2013, with her radical change in her single We Can’t Stop, the song spread throughout social media and YouTube. Her work has been questioned due to its implied sexual and “bad girl” nature. Most famously, twerking became popularized for the next year following the song’s release. “Everything I’m doing with my videos, everything I’m doing with my music, I just want it to be really honest,” Cyrus said. “I just feel like I’ve been a character for so long that now I just want all my performances, all my videos to be really real.”
One of the most popular genres on television today is reality programming, which gained prominence thanks to Cops, American Idol and Survivor. The genre has since then expanded, showing the daily lives of celebrities and other varieties of people from different parts of society, which allows the audience to see “real drama” and connect to it. “Some watch it to feel better about themselves,” Dr. Dennis Murray, professor of psychology at Mansfield University, said. “Others may enjoy seeing others publicly flaunt their ignorance and dysfunction.” Due to relatively low costs for the drama, these programs have become prominent in MTV, Discovery, TLC, A&E, and several channels. Since some of the “drama” derives from tantrums, sex life, and simple bad behavior, many of the subjects in these shows serve as questionable role models for the young audiences who happen to see them.
Pop culture is a very mobile and complex concept, even more so today with the arrival of social media, which means tastes are changing at a much more frequent pace. As of today, pop culture is our culture, and though it has its flaws, like a trend or fad, they do die off.
Kenneth Tran, Staff Writer
Senior Kenneth Tran is a staff writer for the 2014-2015 Colonel. He is co-leader of the Amnesty International club and participates in the National Ocean Science Bowl.