Book Festival vs Social Media
I love the way you have written this. I can hear your voice. And it would be terrific if the assignment were to write an opinion piece for the Op-Ed section (Opinion/Editorial). But you were assigned to write a news story covering an event. So, you need to keep the first person “I” out of the story, along with your personal reflections (alas). I have sent the suggested edits by email:
Since its arrival into the mainstream, social media has dominated millennial lives greatly. Activities such as reading a book have been pushed aside by teenagers who would rather focus on snapchat or Instagram. Knowledge is no longer a priority over number of followers on a social network. This thought process is scary, to say the least, which is why I felt like I had to check out this year’s Texas Teen Book Festival at St. Edward’s University.
If I’m being entirely honest, I was expecting to witness a crowd of mostly late twenties to early thirties, and while there was a large number of said group, I was surprised to see a good number of teenagers lined up to meet their favorite authors. If anything, other than surprised, I felt proud to see there were still teenagers who would spend their weekend at a book festival over socializing with friends.
I also noticed a wall of signatures of those who showed love for author John Greene. As somebody who loved both The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, I had to sign this. I was happy to see the number of signatures, especially considering the books were so much better than their film adaptations.
When I decided to interview some of the attendees, I got a few who did admit they don’t read as much as they wish to. Though, there were many who stated they read every night. “I try to read as much as possible. At least every night,” one girl around eighteen years old told me.
For me, one the biggest highlights of the Book Festival was being able to see the Harry Potter merchandise. I made sure to buy a Harry Potter t-shirt while I was there! That’s one item I could not pass up, no matter how thin my wallet was at the moment. If there are any book series that appeal to a wide range of readers, it is Harry Potter. I’ve seen children and teenagers alike read the series avidly, which also makes me believe that society can overcome the prioritizing of social media.
As some were in line to meet their favorite authors, I had the chance to speak to a few attendees. One young man told me that books changed his life, and inspired him to become an author himself. I could definitely relate to this, being as I hoped to become a writer myself in the future. “I write something every day. My favorite book right now is The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, so I had to come to see Mackenzie Lee!”
The greatest moment of the entire Texas Teen Book Festival was seeing author Jason Reynolds in person. Hearing him read the We Need Diverse Books entry was very inspiring for me personally, as somebody who hopes for a future where he can write. The audience was definitely moved by the finale. Another inspirational guest speaker was Lizzie Velasquez, who has taken the negatives of her rare disease and turned them around to help others struggling with low self-esteem. I had seen her a few times in person, as she often comes to the Starbucks I work at, but I had never been able to view her speak in public. These moving moments, and the audience reaction, has boosted my belief in a future where reading can progress and thrive.
Though, despite these many proud moments at the festival, I am not going to deny that a majority of millennials spend more time on social networks. One festival crowd cannot prove that teenagers of today would rather pick up a book. Though, by looking at the turnout and number of teens who do love reading, I witnessed hope for a future. While I do believe social media is a great invention in terms of communication, and admit I do spend a majority of my time on Instagram, I hope to see a future where we can appreciate knowledge. Even fiction novels may broaden our creativity, which can lead to success.
Technological advances will also not limit our ability to read. With devices, such as the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook, we are able to easily access novels from anywhere with Wi-Fi access. Using my kindle app on my iPhone, I am able to read no matter where I am. Though we may appear to be a society who relies on said technology, we are merely evolving our previous resources. At the end of the day, no matter how much the millennial generation may ignore said novels, there is always room for improvement in success. As someone who has gone from rarely picking up a book to reading regularly, I can proudly say that we have no reason to worry about society’s current priorities.