Recently, I came across a few old television shows that I have not seen in years, A Different World and Saved by the Bell. Saved by the Bell was not a show I watched consistently when I was younger, but my older sibling religiously watched, so I had no choice but to tune in. Save by the Bell was set in the early 90’s around a few high school friends who are going through the normal growing pains of teenage life. The basics of how to deal with a poor report card to figuring out a plan to ask your crush to prom were covered in this television series. The good natured image of the show was preserved by the predictable storylines demonstrating honesty is always the answer. The sitcom depicted a tight knit collective community that represents high school life during those times. The individual stories frequently involved student events such as pep rallies, dances, and fundraising events. These events would be considered collective action during those times.
With the added component of social media, the storyline for a high school sitcom would be very different. Modern high school students are much more advanced because of the social media and technology. Today’s high school students have many of the same advantages that college students have. The collective community that Saved by the Bell depicts would be much more open and individually based. Representing pep rallies and local school events would change to online postings on Facebook. Openly discussing rumors from last weekend’s festivities would change to viral videos on Instagram and anonymous messages on YikYak. How do you think you high school experience would have changed because of social media?
Also, many of the episodes revolved around the one the friends getting left out of a situation. Most of the time, this happened to the nerdy friend, Screech. In today’s world, Screech would have a much different role in their group. He would have many more options of friends on digital social media networks than he does in the bubble of high school. The environment for past high school life closely followed the three principles of Axelrod:
- A likelihood of meeting in the future
- An ability to identify each other
- A record of past behavior
High school attempt to create an environment that everyone can share in a while striving to be their best. “Axelrod’s “Three Conditions” describe what would be the most important conditions for ensuring cooperation among strangers in a competitive environment. I think today’s society has moved away from the need to create a cooperative environment and more so cultivating a space to discover specific interests and ideas.