It is undeniable that the media climate of our nation had undergone many changes in the last few decades. Times are changing and so is the technology that we rely on in all aspects of our lives. We live in a day in age where the average American will spend 8.5 of their waking hours staring at a screen, be it a television, phone, or computer (NYTimes). Our society has developed a dependence on the digital realm of media and broken away somewhat from print sources. However, the evolution of the media has made the dissemination of important information more reliable and more efficient than we could have ever anticipated.
When it comes to the civil actions and the media, the benefits of the Internet are mind blowing. When looking at events like the Arab Spring and the crises in Venezuela and Ukraine, the media, especially social media, has played a tremendous role in bringing about social change. With the Arab Spring in particular, social networks on the web like Twitter turned the tide of political oppression by spreading awareness of certain causes to the masses. Here is an article that outlines the importance that social networking had in the awakening. The success of the revolution was in part a result of the technological advances we enjoy as a world community. New technologies that allow communication with ease and access to a great bounty of information. Not only can the modern media environment be a bastien for social and political change, but also a force for charitable good and the relief of oppression.
The new media environment also makes life easier on a daily basis for the average American. It is so easy to find news and information and to cross check it with other competing sources to ensure it’s accuracy. One of the great things about Internet news sources is that it is usually pretty easy to sense bias and inaccuracy when browsing unfamiliar sites. There are always certain sites that one can count on for accuracy like CNN and CBS, which I see as the gold standard. This ease of information access is both a blessing and a curse. It makes life easy with the efficient and quick access to information but we have come to rely on the new media to a degree that may be unhealthy. It is a problem that I only see getting worse as time progresses. The average of 8.5 hours a day we spend looking at screens pales in comparison to the new figures that say children born today will spend 25% of their entire lifetime looking at some sort of screen and digesting media content (Geekosystem). This is what really scares me about the great strides we have made in the development of the modern media and the great strides that have yet to occur but that I know are coming. I feel that as a nation we are starting to lose touch with each other on social levels due to our dependence on “screen time”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ease of the Internet, the entertainment of film, music, and the news, but I feel that there is an unhealthy amount of consumption going on that will only grow and grow in the future.
When it comes to my idea of what the media will be like in ten years, I see a shift from gatekeeping on the part of media distributors, to a widespread increase in gatewatching on the part of the media consumer. We live in a time where people want access to all the information that there is to access. We as a people have grown tired of censorship and keeping irrelevance out of the general media. As can be seen from scandals like Wikileaks, we simply won’t stand for information begin withheld or shielded from the general populous. I actually think this is a healthy shift, I don’t like the idea of standing idly by while information is deliberately kept from me, when there might be something I have to say or do about it. It is this ideology that will propel us into the rest of this century with more positive political action and more general consciousness on the part of the people.
The new media environment is an ever-changing entity that has both good and bad implications for our modern society. On one hand I am excited about the new developments in the construction of our media outlets and the dissemination of information that it induces. On the other hand I fear for our society and for our children due to the reliance on the media we are falling into, media in all shapes. After what I have learned about media and it’s relationship to culture this quarter, I will eagerly watch the changes that the media will encounter in coming years and the exact effects it will have on the people of this nation and the world.
“Twitter Revolution: How the Arab Spring Was Helped By Social Media.” PolicyMic. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014. <http://www.policymic.com/articles/10642/twitter-revolution-how-the-arab-spring-was-helped-by-social-media>.
“Geekosystem.” Geekosystem Report Suggests Kids Born Today Will Spend 25 Of Their Lives Looking At Screens Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. <http://www.geekosystem.com/kids-watch-screens-quarter-of-life/>.
Stelter, Brian. “8 Hours a Day Spent On Screens, Study Finds.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Mar. 2009. Web. 08 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/business/media/27adco.html?_r=0>.