Monthly Archives: October 2012

Socialnomics/Social Media’s presence

(Click this > to watch) Socialnomics/Social Media’s presence

Akin to my previous comments on the attachment of teenagers to phones and the way that social media has changed social relationships and interactions, I would HIGHLY recommend you all to watch this video from start to finish.. not just because of the great music but because of the statistics that you might find slightly shocking and some bits that are a tad amusing (for the wrong reasons). Watch watch watch!

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Over the past few days I have been asking every teenager I have met what staple foods and drinks they would not be able to live without (not literally) and then giving them choices they had to pick from. The results were actually quite unanimous but not all that surprising (well for me) and I think certain big companies should take note of this as they may have found new target consumers.

The food of choice was the potato and the drink of choice was a cup of tea. ImageYes, that’s right, I asked 36 teenage boys and 27 teenage girls whether they would give up tea or alcohol if they could only live with one and 73% said they’d give up alcohol. This was a very small sample scale and may well just apply to Durham University students but I found it surprising (and very British, though these results may be biased by the 2012 year of the jubilee, Olympics and general Britishness) that teenagers these days would pick a cuppa over an alcoholic substance that seems to be central to so many of their surges of confidences and nights out.

I’m not surprised at all about the potato as that is a staple, and the source of chips and jackey p’s and all heavenly foods that are fundamental to teenager self catering. But the first choice of Tea! I’ve noticed that there has been less marketing over stopping binge drinking (it looks like it’s shifted more towards adults who habitually drink every night rather than binging on the weekend) but I hadn’t realised that there had been such a shift in preferences. As I said, this may all just be a total coincidence to the teenagers that I interact with who might just be abnormal teenagers with inner old granny personalities but the more that I think about it, the more that I think that yes actually, the teenager may be the actual core consumer for tea than the stereotypical granny or housewife or builder.Image

Now that my year group is now longer living together in college/halls and in separate houses/flats all over town, we generally do invite people round for a cup of tea and in the times of procrastination or just getting ready to start work or have a fry up, the tea is the first staple. When you look more into it too, the effects of having a good cuppa can be more enticing (and a lot more cheaper) than those of alcohol which usually comes with more regret anyway.

I have a previous post about the place that popcorn is beginning to play in our teenage lives, and now I can add to that and say that Tea is making a comeback. It might be to do with this whole massive surge in Britishness and patriotism but I think it’s more to do with people subconsciously realising how much they love and crave a good cup of hot tea. I will openly admit that I am a tea addict and I think that it is great that now it can be cool to be an addict for what used to not be thought of as a ‘cool’ chemical.

I haven’t even touched upon the ritual of tea making, the different types and all that jazz but the fact that it encompasses all of this not to mention the social cohesion that tea brings shows how fundamental it is to our daily lives. I think we may need to have a proper subcategory for Anthropology now, all the usual besides, just dedicated to food and drink. Maybe that can be my speciali-tea.

Tea and Potatoes

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Social Introspection

I must give another whole batch of apologies for not doing as I said and making frequent posts over the past month but I shall give an explanation for why this has been the case and thereby try and get back into the swing of Teenthropologist ways.

The truth is, although I have been very busy getting back into trying to juggle university life with my outside work, I had fallen out with the internet and social media. When I started this blog I thought it would be a great way to offer teenager perspectives on things from an anthropological point of view, and basically just offer some of my insights. I tried to update the blog when I had moments here and there and tried my best to refrain from it becoming a diary of rants or uninteresting ramblings. 

Then I was sat at a dinner with a few friends and as is the case with almost all social gatherings these days, the smartphones were on constant sight (generally on the table), holding this invisible distraction – something or the other in those phones was sitting in the back of everyone’s minds. They started to discuss what they had seen on Facebook, Twitter etc, (both which I am part of so didn’t feel left out) but then it suddenly switched to other things that had been read on the internet. I’m not going to turn all snobby and superior but I was absolutely shaken by the naivety through which some of these friends were believing all that they had read. These are University students, and they didn’t once question the reliability of what they had found on Google. I myself regularly look up things on Google and use it an omnipotent information source but I stick to reliable sources and always try and find at least one or more source to back it up, and I have never used random websites for academic essay writing and the like. I tried to explain that what my friend had read was not certainly right, and then found myself in this imaginary contest with a machine, and let’s be honest, the machine of Google is more correct, right? I thought not but then had to back down, defeated by the fact that the art of amicable enriching discussion between friends was clearly being lost.

This was just the tip of the iceberg – I met someone new that night who from Facebook seemed like the outgoing bubbly type, with over 1,000 friends and tonnes of likes, interests and Facebook activity on my friend’s wall but in person was possibly the shyest person I have ever met, unable to muster any kind of two-way conversation.

Where before the internet was one of my favourite things of the 21st Century and without a doubt the technology I most rely on, it became this scary intangible mess that I thought was going to suck up all teenagers, dismissing proper social interaction and making people too gullible. 

I sound like a right granny saying that, but it just meant that I only used the internet for my work purposes and tried to avoid any kind of social media – I had become sick of it. I was working 9-hour days at a marketing and communications company (for large pharmaceutical organisations), and I was much preferring say going to the driving range to hit a few golf balls in the evenings than sitting on Facebook.

Youngsters these days (me included) are throwing around this YOLO phrase “You Only Live Once” and it’s  ironic that they are letting the internet dictate and occupy their life.

Sorry if this has appeared as a rant, but I wanted to be completely honest. Yes I have been insanely busy, but writing a blog post doesn’t take too long and I just didn’t want to add yet more gunk into the scary internet cyber-sphere. I’m back into University life, surrounding myself with students 24/7 so I can guarantee that there shall be plenty of other observations, Ethnographies, book reviews etc to come so long as I can improve this relationship that I have with the internet.