Over the summer, I found myself reading a few articles and participating in some roundtable discussions about the disconnect between generations and how to bridge that gap. Normally, half way through I start tuning out because I realize that none of us has the answers or we do and we’ve noticed we’re not ready/willing to do the work.
An example would be an article I read on thenextweb.com where they talked about The Beatles catalog and how the new generation may be getting cheated out of learning about great music of a time before them. Not cheated because it’s too expensive, but cheated because it’s not accessible to them where they consume music these days.
Should The Beatles authorize whoever it is that uploads music to Spotify and similar services or should these kids go searching like people did in the old days?
I agree that we can consume so much now that our attention spans are shot and some classic material may get overlooked (toots own horn). At the same time, I don’t think that means we should start ordering CDs from that East Bay mailer that they used to send to the house. Some kids do their own research through their parents encouragement, genuine curiosity or sometimes the shazam app or something. Is it their responsibility though? I don’t have the answer for that part.
I use this example to shift into the Mercer/Middle Georgia State students being back in town. Every year, from the week of Bragg Jam up until the first week of school, I hear the “How do we get the college students to come to our thing” talk. I’m not really sure if I care to help solve this out of boredom or because I actually want to help everyone have a good time. (Let’s say the second one.)
Mercer has done an amazing job building up its campus and giving their students something to do when they aren’t in class. I haven’t been to the Middle Georgia State campus in a year or two, but I hear good things about its campus as well. This is more than just getting 21-year-olds to drink in a bar. How do we get students off campus and to your event? How do we get the students to work on boards outside of campus so we can get some fresh ideas circulating?
I think what’s missing is the same thing that’s missing in The Beatles conversation: Actually taking the conversation to them. I think it’s been years since the city has connected with the students and vice versa. Letting them know what’s going on rather than throwing paint at a wall in the area and expecting them to see it.
Whether it’s coordinating with College Hill to get your posters distributed within the campus flow or talking to students yourself to find out what they like. We need to bridge that gap for things to stay fun and for everyone to be engaged.
Dear Mercer/Middle Georgia State students, I personally volunteer to be your favorite hip-hop artist. If you need that bounce I got you.
Floco Torres is an artist/songwriter. Contact him at email@example.com.