Thank you BCM110, for changing my outlook. A lifetime of over-thinking television and media has been born. I never really was a fan of mainstream free to air radio or TV or any of that nonsense and was a bit critical of it. After having started my new course, the media theories have been let loose in my brain and have begun to change the way I think about what I watch. Even my beautiful YouTube shows.
First we looked at how the media is capable of shaping peopling and how because of this supposed ability it’s ramifications. I always did enjoy arguing with people about how media doesn’t necessarily influence behavior and now I have educational sources to back me up. Life just got so much easier.
Secondly we looked at how the media can be used in controlling people, not just shaping them, the ways in which politicians and other personalities will use whatever platform they can to get their message across and drown out others. I never thought for a second that so much of the media was owned by such a small percentage of people. It does explain why I tended to reject the majority of the media, since all of it comes from the same viewpoint.
And finally how the media reflects our society, a nice little full circle considering we started with the media directing us. I’ll never be able to watch a show from now on without thinking to myself: “Hmmm. There’s a market for this kind of rubbish.”
All in all, I’d say this course at uni has been worth the time and money I’ve put into it so far (and the session is only halfway finished!). Even if I don’t finish my degree this subject has been educational and definitely worthwhile just for life in general.
The way people shape their media is always a fun concept to explore. Media like TV shows and radio and magazines are all based on having people buy them or tune in and go through adverts. Peoples time is their most valuable resource so media is made to make it so that peoples time feels well invested and worth while. The easiest way to do that is to entertain them. Which is why we have this amazing thing called Reality TV.
Reality TV makes me want to drown a sack of kittens. It’s one of those things that makes great business sense. It’s cheaper to make requiring unskilled actors and very little scripting. It’s draws the audience members in because the show members are more relate-able. It’s also really good for my uni work here because these shows are a reflection of the society that views them.
Actually… having written that… I’m kind of sad. We have things like The Biggest Loser being popular. And Survivor. And apparently there’s this thing called The Voice. They’re all competitions, which is OK. The world is a competitive place, it’s a good lesson. Unfortunately, The Biggest Loser is watched by sadistic and lame excuses of human beings who like to watch people suffer and people who watch it for inspiration and then don’t do anything.
These shows also show up in other media forms. Radio personalities will comment on the shows and celebrities tweet about it and even other TV shows will mention them. This would be very cool if what was being discussed is a big issue or something. A bunch of different popular media formats discussing the rising conflict in Korea? Awesome. A bunch of unfortunate fat people? I’m not so sympathetic (don’t get me wrong, if you get to that state, I feel sorry for you. I don’t feel sorry for you signing up for a beating and crying about getting beaten).
Sadly this isn’t going to change any time soon. People are often slow to react. And let’s face it, people are having fun taking the path of lest mental resistance. Looks like we’ve got another few years of Biggest Loser until people get bored with it.
The media of today is a funny issue. For once though it’s not about who’s showing little Timmy all those mutilated aliens or high school shootings. This time it’s about who owns the media. Most of the time this wouldn’t be an issue would it? You’d think that the guy who owns the news just wants to inform you right? Sure, in an ideal world that would certainly be the case. This isn’t an ideal world. Not even close.
As a result, we have corporations and people grabbing all the media platforms they can so that they can put forward their own opinion. People love their power after all so it’s no surprise we get the likes of Rupert Murdoch controlling a ridiculous proportion of the worlds media. With all his news networks and then some, people like him can display their side of the story and because of their prominence drown out every other opinion.
This wasn’t how democracy was supposed to work. The guys telling the new s were supposed to be telling us what is what and letting us make up our own minds. The reason certain regimes get started, and continue to work in some cases, is because the media is dominated with one view point. Dominated to such an extent that there is no other source, no other news, besides the infectious one that tells you what to think rather than what you should be thinking about. It’s a subtle distinction but one that is important and one that seems to be slowly slipping away.
***For anyone who doesn’t get the joke in the title, go read 1984. It’s a good book and a perfect example of just how insane the world could get if we only had the one news source.
Yeah, that’s something I learned recently. I know right, a uni student learning. It’s a pretty simple word in reality though. Basically it’s looking at something, anything, an image, a song, a shirt and then thinking about what it’s meaning. That’s the short end. OK, I’m going to show you something.
Thank you grayflannelsuit.net for helping here
You guys recognize this right? Of course you do. If you didn’t our friendship would be over. Now semiotics is what we’re going to look at here. This image conjures up images in your head. You associate it with Batman and the cinema and certain actors when in reality, all it is, is a simple bat outline.
The difference between what an image is and what an image conveys is ever important. It’s why we have advertising. A toothbrush is a toothbrush in most circumstances, but because of advertising we associate certain toothbrushes with some qualities. The toothbrush has meaning other than what it really is.
It’s actually a pretty cool concept. Uni might just come in handy!
There’s this thing known in the media research community as the “Effects Model” of thinking. It’s a thought process to be undertaken when performing a study on the media and its effects on people. Who’d have though it? It’s not a bad little idea, people are products of their surroundings to looking into how the media effects people seems like a pretty legitimate thing to do. The only problem here is that it’s thought through incredibly poorly. The people people using this method tend to have certain… let’ s call them oversights.
The example we were using was the bobo experiment. For those who refuse to click links the idea was that they’d show kids a video of someone beating up a clown doll, and if the effects model worked, they kids would then emulate the video, that is, they’d kick the everliving snot out of the doll. Lo and behold, they did just that. That proves it right? The aggressive media is responsible for aggressive children! Well… not exactly… this clown doll in particular was made to be smashed and beaten and whacked. It was fun to do that. And it’s just a toy. Not a person.
They’ve done things like this all the time. Kids who watch crime shows want to commit crimes. Violent video games are responsible for school shootings. Sure, there are those connections that do occur from time to time but that’s not always the cause. The people who commit these crimes and shoot up schools are disturbed individuals and often have a history of abuse. I’ve played many violent video games and can say with quite some certainty that they are the reason I haven’t shot anyone in real life. Just because there is a correlation does not imply causation.