September 2, 2013
Each month Azraa Janmohamed discusses timely topics relevant to teens.
In the world we live in today, it is not hard to access millions of sources of information with the simple push of a virtual button. We are living in the age of information-technology, constantly bombarded with hundreds of messages, each vying against the other for our attention. And we have been left with the difficult task of navigating through this information to find the tidbits of gold we wish to spend our time on.
It is no surprise that with teenagers, the “gold” that I referred to tends to fall within the categories of humor, entertainment and online socialization. Whether it be casually surfing random YouTube videos on a rainy afternoon or posting a viral link on Facebook, there is no doubt that teenagers enjoy a good laugh — and guess what? We are not the first to notice. Millions of people around the world have taken notice of this, and have created websites and businesses in order to profit from teenager’s love of humor in the modern age of technology. It is through this ever-growing list of websites that humor can be further integrated into our virtual universe.
Vine is among the many websites that works to spread humor in the digital age. It is a mobile app owned by the social media giant Twitter that works by enabling users to record and share videos that are up to six seconds in length. The video is then played on a loop for viewers to watch. One of the largest uses of this application is the sharing of funny videos over Twitter and Facebook. In fact, some of the videos shared have garnered so much support and interest that “vine celebrities” have been born. Furthermore, Vine, in its short lifespan, has already been compared to the likes of YouTube — perhaps one of the highest honors in the world of viral media. Vine plays a large role in the topic of humor in a technology-centered time as it allows the comedic events of an individual to be instantly shared with all corners of the globe.
Vine is not alone in taking over conversations shared through social media. Buzzfeed seems to be another heavyweight in the discussion on how comedy is being shared today. Buzzfeed, a website that shares selected current viral material from around the web, is most notably known for its postings by users and staff that take a given topic and portray it in a comedic manner through a series of semi-sarcastic comments followed by appropriate GIFs (moving pictures). Since many of these topics bring about old childhood memories, or simply poke fun at the simple things in life that we can all relate to, they do so in an unforgettably humorous way, making them prime targets for re-distribution over social media.
When the internet started to become a more common phenomenon, there were many disbelievers who warned of the dangers of this new technology. Among their claims was the belief that as the internet became more integrated within our lives, people would forget the power of human interaction and communication — one important facet of which is the sharing of humor. While face-to-face communication is no doubt important, people and groups from around the world have been able, to some extent, to allow aspects of personal communication, such as the sharing of humor, shine through into the world of virtual reality.