Today I attended a middle school career fair and manned a booth representing the television industry. While I was there I observed several interesting things. I wish the following stories were an April Fools joke but unfortunately they’re not.
I set up one of our broadcast video cameras on a tripod and connected it to a portable monitor on the table. As you would expect, most school kids enjoyed seeing themselves and making funny faces and such on camera. What I found odd is that, while not the majority of them, over and over again students would look at themselves on the monitor and ask me where the camera was. The camera was a broadcast-quality camera on a tripod just two feet to the side of the monitor, yet around a dozen different kids were searching all around and didn’t see it right in front of them. Or they didn’t recognize what a television camera looked like. I have a theory for this. I’m thinking that kids today are used to tiny little cell phone and lap top web cams that are nothing more than a tiny glass circle embedded within a device. At the career fair, most kids who couldn’t find the camera were looking for the camera in/on the monitor. But even those that looked around often didn’t recognize the large camera in front of them. Again I think it’s still what they’re used to. Even when a camera isn’t just a small embedded glass circle, they’re probably looking for something much smaller like a desktop web camera or even a consumer camcorder that easily fits in the palm of your hand – nothing like the monstrosity you see pictured above. Anyway, I just thought that was interesting.
Another thing I found interesting was how few students actually stopped at our television booth to ask real questions (not just making funny faces into the camera), especially compared to the extremely popular booth next to mine. The booth next to me was always crowded with genuinely interested students, asking serious questions and listening to the answers too. What was this fascinating career next to us? Waste Management! Yup, the Waste Management table was constantly abuzz with interested middle school students. Kids instantly gravitated to the glass row of beakers filled with disgusting bacteria filled water. Apparently a display of gross liquids will easily trump a video camera and monitor.
And my final story is the best. In addition to pamphlets and brochures, many career booths gave out small trinkets and chotskies like keychains and pens. Believe it or not, one of the career booths gave out whoopee cushions! The gymnasium was filled with the harmonious sounds of mass farting. Hundreds of middle school students constantly sticking a whoopee cushion in the face of their fellow students and squeezing, over and over again. As unbelievable as that was, the best part is who gave out the whoopee cushions… Carolina Digestive Health Associates! LOL