I recently had this semi-dumb tweet after feeling nostalgic about staying up watching Drake & Josh on Teen Nick. At the time, I distinctly remember ‘boob’ as referenced on the show picking up as casual slang at recess. Other friends interestingly had their own similar experiences where ‘boob’ was once an insult that was thrown around the house. It’s fascinating to me how an entire age demographic that watched a TV show can share a similar experience of personally emulating its characters. This got me thinking — in what other ways do TV personas influence our culture and individual personalities?
In tech, its common to hear stories of people who drew inspiration for a career in startups from watching the Social Network. The movie at the time vastly dropped the cultural barriers of starting a company by shaking the perception that great founders were cutthroat hyper-connected MBA-types in suits but were often actually hoodie-wearing obsessive computer nerds in college dorms. Even Y Combinator saw a spike in applications to its startup incubator after the release. Similarly, I know many friends who were first inspired to pursue finance jobs as stock brokers and hedge fund managers after watching the Wolf of Wall Street and the Big Short. Top Gun at the time even increased military signups. Characters on a TV screen often reflect aspirational lifestyles that expose people to whole new ways of life. For those who resonate with the associated persona and are ambitious enough to pursue it, TV characters offer an inspirational guide. As a result, media gains the power to actually shape the narrative that people decide to apply to their lives.
Media often reflects the societal sentiments of its time. Star Trek first aired a few years before the Moon landing and captivated the American imagination with the unbounded mysteries of space and inspired real astronauts. Meanwhile today, the recent Theranos documentary reflects a less optimistic view that instils the cautions of technological innovation, skepticism of the bold and young and comfort in the status quo. Even the next generation aspires to become Youtubers over astronauts. Given how influential media can be towards culture, it’s important to think about the social implications of the content that is widely consumed by the masses. In an internet-empowered age where TV broadcasting boards have far less control over this content there’s an interesting question of who regulates it and is responsible for the cultural ramifications of unfiltered content on the impressionable.
What I’ve been consuming recently
kicking off some new experiments. if you have experience running an online business or side hustle i’d love to chat!