I remember the 90’s as a decade of change. My height, interests, toys and education were changing as drastically as technology was. Cell phones became a part of the family, and I spent increasing amounts of hours online. Apparently, newspapers had big changes and big ideas in the 90’s, too.

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable” is an article I read by Clay Shirky that describes problems between the Internet and the printed world of newspapers. Personally, I feel bad for the changing world of print media. I adore waking up late on weekends, sunlight streaming through my window, and hearing the noise of my dad flipping the pages of the newspaper downstairs. I like the funnies. I like reading the news in the paper simply because it is in the newspaper and it gives me something to do; I don’t care to take the time and search for that same news online.

But the times they are a-changin’ (thank you Bob Dylan). During the Super Bowl this year, I noticed the presence of participatory ads, such as the Doritos campaign for consumer-generated advertising. The increase of participatory media has gotten me thinking about the technological changes in our society. In more than half of my classes, teachers are requiring participation on blogs and discussion boards. As an intern for Girls’ Life Magazine, I have spent time moderating their blog. 11 to 15 year old girls are blogging significantly more than I ever had at that age (and my parents thought I was online too much!). Not only are the younger generations being required to use digital and participatory media, but we are more frequently turning towards them on our own.

What do I see this meaning in the future? With growing ease at which we can participate in advertising, blogging, and journalism, participatory media is simply becoming part of our lifestyles. Whereas I am hesitant to write an article and post it for the world to see, girls who are ten years younger are building their confidence in the blogging system. By the time they reach college and beyond, blogging and participatory media will be the norm, and they will participate without questioning whether or not it is a class requirement.

And what does that mean for my beloved newspapers? In his article, Shirky attempts to prove that there will not be a smooth shift of power between newspapers and the Internet, and publishers are having a hard time coming to terms. Newspapers are being increasingly abandoned by the youth and professionals alike. We cannot be sure of any quick solution to help the newspapers, and Shirky is calling all tech-savvy entrepreneurs to step forward. I guess I should get this blog rolling—but hopefully my parents will keep their subscription to Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer, too.