THE INTERNET REWRITES YOUTH CULTURE
BY JAMIE BRETT
As British modern youth groups perpetually intertwine and converse - we’re noticing fewer definitives or borders between them.
With youth identity gaining further freedom, we’re seeing not only a greater power handed to younger generations in terms of music and fashion, but a greater influence that teenagers are having on culture as a whole.
Could it be that the youth groups emerging out of World War II were more inclined to create tribes laden with iconography so strong that they became instantly recognisable? British youth groups have left a giant mark on western culture and, arguably, set a benchmark and tone for youth worldwide that is still to this day, re-appropriated, re-used and exploited to its death.
In a culture like todays, we’re eternally exposed and infiltrated with an explosive body of media that people often mistake for virtual noise. In reality, youth culture isn’t being lost due to technology, its beingre-appropriated by it. And we need to make peace with this. The internet has such an overwhelming power over music, fashion and youth because our emerging youths are being informed by it.
Tumblr itself is a youth movement. We’ve had MySpace back in the mid 2000s and we’ve had many rivals. MySpace ignited a relatively short-lived but highly recognisable tribe - namely ‘Emo’ or Hardcore Kids. The online ‘profile’ or ‘blog’ simply represents a pseudo identity, that now plays a key role in youth tribes and self-expression. This online doppelgänger works in synchronisation with the a real life identity (often referred to as IRL). The genre of Emo/Hardcore rose from Post-Punk, Hardcore and 2000s Indie and inspired and evoked teenagers with such passion that, like all youth tribes, often paved the way for their adult identities. Newer tribes are often disregarded as true youth groups however it is integral to our development as observers of society to identify these new micro-tribes and to equip ourselves to celebrate them.
What’s so interesting about these new groups is the lack of a physical location and the way in which them can manifest themselves in small pockets across the globe. Harajuki and Manga culture is a great example.
Youths today are empowered by the digital age and whilst its often too easy to unearth it’s societal ills, its important to understand its cultural significance. If we really want to guess where our next youth tribes are going to find their ideas, we need look at the way our web experiences are evolving. A recent youth group inspired by the tastelessness of technology and a recycled and regurgitated culture are the Seapunks.
The internet has reached an interesting point of self hyper-awareness. Currently dominating the cultural zeitgeist is a real sense of post-post-modernism. A wry and nihilistic exposure of the embarrasment that is pre 2000s internet. Tumblr accounts are surfacing showcasing kitsch imagery from early computing, gyrating tasteless household objects and crude animations that have helped to reinvigorate the relevance of the animated GIF (See The Photographers Gallery: Born in 1987: The Animated GIF).