Essay on Media

media nowadays essay

Media And Media

The mass media is an important factor when it comes to getting a message across to the public. No specific community can do without media as it is a crucial element to society. The media helps provide individuals things that they need the most, that being information. Sometimes this information is considered injurious and appalling, whereas other times it normal. The messages that are taken from the media are based off of one’s own faith and knowledge, in accordance to the reinforcement theory (Jetter

Media, Poor, And Media

It 's an interesting world we live in when comedians such as Jon Stewart are more trusted to give truthful, adequate information rather than news outlets and the media. What seems like a curious predicament is really nothing more than the creation of a monetized media, the value of a persons ' interest in a headline. In Media, poor ethics and sensationalism caused by greed have led to unfortunate effects such as misinformation, idolization of celebrities, and reduced credibility of news outlets as

Media And The Media

The term media refers to a collection of communication outlets that distribute messages and information to society. Media has revolutionized the world because it allows individuals to connect with others at the push of a button, creates marketing platforms, and is a large source of entertainment. There are many types of communication technologies, such as television, the internet, movies and the radio. I understand that media is an essential component of society but I am also aware of its influences

study examines how the media affects children. In this research paper we will discuss the social cites, television, and games that influence our youth. In today’s time the media and technology is everything. American youth now live in an environment that is overloaded with media. Through the media is the way they live and the way they socialize. There is a strong connection between the youth being exposed to sexual content, violence, bullying drugs and alcohol. The media has become a booming way

Media In The Media

Media has taken up an important role in our Democratic society. Today it would be extremely difficult to carry on this democracy without the use of the media. Its essential use grants citizens the right to freely express themselves and allows the public to be well informed. Under the First Amendment, citizens have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. They are present with two ways of getting their information, either from printed or digital media. These two forms provide a great

The Importance Of Media In The Media

Media is everywhere around the world, it surrounds us even when sometimes we don’t even notice it. It can appear from newspapers to news, or as well physically and throughout electronic devices such as cell phones. We consider it as a tool to make time fly ahead or to spectate what is going on with other people’s lives. However, we may encounter certain factors that may not appeal to us. We may see postings or news about tragic events that happen around the world and surprisingly, sometimes we don’t

The Influence Of The Media On Media And Media

are considered a special audience in relation to television and media consumption. This categorisation of this audience allows childhood to be defined as a developmental stage in which youthful participants are considered both ‘vulnerable’ and ‘corruptible’. These distinctive underlying connotations lead to an assumption that children “must be protected,” within media exposure and content (Potter, 2015: 3). In relation to these media definitions society reflects these culturally and socially by linking

Media Influence Mass Media

Mass Media and the Influence on America and Television By. Mozelle Jones HUMANITIES In real life, we are in Mass Media and we did not even know it. Everything from you learning to just leisure involvement. The cultural products that influence mass media and has taking part is Net Flix. It has made an impact on the movie business where television can be used to see movies and mass media. Television still has an impact on cultural meanings. It shows us the news, ads, and movies that change

Media Change In Mass Media

piece of paper had to be rushed back into town to relay what had transpired that day, or a little note strapped to a pigeon that hopefully flew back to base. Now, we have forms of mass media, such as television, radio, and over the internet. One thing that has drastically changed is war. Before the invention of mass media, governments held full reign over what the people thought and heard about foreign or domestic transpirings. Now, however, all is known about war. The reactions to this, concurrently

acts by the government and uphold the basics of democracy. The media can portray biases, but it should brief the audience before it does so. The word media is a plural form of the word medium and it is defined as a means of communication to reach a widespread audience. In the case of political events, the media communicates success stories and highlights any controversies it recognizes in the current state of politics. An ideal media can be described as a watchdog that protects the interests of

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Regions & Countries

More americans now see the media’s influence growing compared with a year ago.

Americans are now more likely to say the media are growing than declining in influence

Americans’ views about the influence of the media in the country have shifted dramatically over the course of a year in which there was much discussion about the news media’s role during the election and post-election coverage , the COVID-19 pandemic and protests about racial justice . More Americans now say that news organizations are gaining influence than say their influence is waning, a stark contrast to just one year ago when the reverse was true.

When Americans were asked to evaluate the media’s standing in the nation, about four-in-ten (41%) say news organizations are growing in their influence, somewhat higher than the one-third (33%) who say their influence is declining, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted March 8-14, 2021. The remaining one-quarter of U.S. adults say they are neither growing nor declining in influence.

To examine Americans’ views about the influence of the news media, Pew Research Center surveyed 12,045 U.S. adults from March 8 to 14, 2021. Everyone who completed the survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology . See here to read more about the questions used for this analysis and the methodology .

This is the latest report in Pew Research Center’s ongoing investigation of the state of news, information and journalism in the digital age, a research program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

By comparison, Americans in early 2020 were far more likely to say the news media were declining in influence . Nearly half (48%) at that time said this, compared with far fewer (32%) who said news organizations were growing in influence.

The 2021 figures more closely resemble responses from 2011 – the next most recent time this was asked – and before, in that more Americans then said the news media were growing in influence than declining. Views could have shifted in the gap between 2011 and 2020, but if so, they have now shifted back. (It should be noted that prior to 2020, this question was asked on the phone instead of on the web.)

What’s more, this shift in views of the media’s influence in the country occurred among members of both political parties – and in the same direction.

Both Democrats and Republicans are more likely than last year to think the media are growing in influence

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are about evenly split in whether they think news organizations are growing (40%) or declining in influence (41%). This is very different from a year ago, when Republicans were twice as likely to say their influence was declining than growing (56% vs. 28%).

And Democrats and Democratic leaners are now much more likely to say news organizations are growing (43%) than declining in influence (28%), while a year ago they were slightly more likely to say influence was declining (42% vs. 36% growing).

Overall, then, Republicans are still more likely than Democrats to say the news media are losing standing in the country, though the two groups are more on par in thinking that the media are increasing in their influence. (Democrats are somewhat more likely than Republicans to say news organizations are neither growing nor declining in influence – 29% vs. 19%.)  

Americans who trust national news organizations are more likely to think news media influence is growing

Trust in media closely ties to whether its influence is seen as growing or declining. Those who have greater trust in national news organizations tend to be more likely to see the news media gaining influence, while those with low levels of trust are generally more likely to see it waning.

Americans who say they have a great deal of trust in the accuracy of political news from national news organizations are twice as likely to say the news media are growing than declining in influence (48% vs. 24%, respectively). Conversely, those who have no trust at all are much more likely to think that news organizations are declining (47% vs. 33% who say they are growing).

Most demographic groups more likely to say the news media growing than declining in influence

Black Americans are far more likely to think that the news media are growing in influence rather than declining (48% vs. 19%, respectively), as are Hispanic Americans though to a somewhat lesser degree. White Americans, on the other hand, are about evenly split in thinking the news media are growing or declining in influence (39% vs. 37%, respectively). And while men are about evenly split (39% growing vs. 38% declining), women are more likely to say news organizations are growing (43%) than declining (29%) in influence.

Note: Here are the questions used for this analysis, along with responses, and its methodology .

media nowadays essay

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Broad agreement in U.S. – even among partisans – on which news outlets are part of the ‘mainstream media’

Most say journalists should be watchdogs, but views of how well they fill this role vary by party, media diet, americans’ news fatigue isn’t going away – about two-thirds still feel worn out, partisans disagree on news media’s best, worst traits, most popular.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts .

  • 12.2 Types of Media and the Changing Media Landscape
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 Defining Politics: Who Gets What, When, Where, How, and Why?
  • 1.2 Public Policy, Public Interest, and Power
  • 1.3 Political Science: The Systematic Study of Politics
  • 1.4 Normative Political Science
  • 1.5 Empirical Political Science
  • 1.6 Individuals, Groups, Institutions, and International Relations
  • Review Questions
  • Suggested Readings
  • 2.1 What Goals Should We Seek in Politics?
  • 2.2 Why Do Humans Make the Political Choices That They Do?
  • 2.3 Human Behavior Is Partially Predictable
  • 2.4 The Importance of Context for Political Decisions
  • 3.1 The Classical Origins of Western Political Ideologies
  • 3.2 The Laws of Nature and the Social Contract
  • 3.3 The Development of Varieties of Liberalism
  • 3.4 Nationalism, Communism, Fascism, and Authoritarianism
  • 3.5 Contemporary Democratic Liberalism
  • 3.6 Contemporary Ideologies Further to the Political Left
  • 3.7 Contemporary Ideologies Further to the Political Right
  • 3.8 Political Ideologies That Reject Political Ideology: Scientific Socialism, Burkeanism, and Religious Extremism
  • 4.1 The Freedom of the Individual
  • 4.2 Constitutions and Individual Liberties
  • 4.3 The Right to Privacy, Self-Determination, and the Freedom of Ideas
  • 4.4 Freedom of Movement
  • 4.5 The Rights of the Accused
  • 4.6 The Right to a Healthy Environment
  • 5.1 What Is Political Participation?
  • 5.2 What Limits Voter Participation in the United States?
  • 5.3 How Do Individuals Participate Other Than Voting?
  • 5.4 What Is Public Opinion and Where Does It Come From?
  • 5.5 How Do We Measure Public Opinion?
  • 5.6 Why Is Public Opinion Important?
  • 6.1 Political Socialization: The Ways People Become Political
  • 6.2 Political Culture: How People Express Their Political Identity
  • 6.3 Collective Dilemmas: Making Group Decisions
  • 6.4 Collective Action Problems: The Problem of Incentives
  • 6.5 Resolving Collective Action Problems
  • 7.1 Civil Rights and Constitutionalism
  • 7.2 Political Culture and Majority-Minority Relations
  • 7.3 Civil Rights Abuses
  • 7.4 Civil Rights Movements
  • 7.5 How Do Governments Bring About Civil Rights Change?
  • 8.1 What Is an Interest Group?
  • 8.2 What Are the Pros and Cons of Interest Groups?
  • 8.3 Political Parties
  • 8.4 What Are the Limits of Parties?
  • 8.5 What Are Elections and Who Participates?
  • 8.6 How Do People Participate in Elections?
  • 9.1 What Do Legislatures Do?
  • 9.2 What Is the Difference between Parliamentary and Presidential Systems?
  • 9.3 What Is the Difference between Unicameral and Bicameral Systems?
  • 9.4 The Decline of Legislative Influence
  • 10.1 Democracies: Parliamentary, Presidential, and Semi-Presidential Regimes
  • 10.2 The Executive in Presidential Regimes
  • 10.3 The Executive in Parliamentary Regimes
  • 10.4 Advantages, Disadvantages, and Challenges of Presidential and Parliamentary Regimes
  • 10.5 Semi-Presidential Regimes
  • 10.6 How Do Cabinets Function in Presidential and Parliamentary Regimes?
  • 10.7 What Are the Purpose and Function of Bureaucracies?
  • 11.1 What Is the Judiciary?
  • 11.2 How Does the Judiciary Take Action?
  • 11.3 Types of Legal Systems around the World
  • 11.4 Criminal versus Civil Laws
  • 11.5 Due Process and Judicial Fairness
  • 11.6 Judicial Review versus Executive Sovereignty
  • 12.1 The Media as a Political Institution: Why Does It Matter?
  • 12.3 How Do Media and Elections Interact?
  • 12.4 The Internet and Social Media
  • 12.5 Declining Global Trust in the Media
  • 13.1 Contemporary Government Regimes: Power, Legitimacy, and Authority
  • 13.2 Categorizing Contemporary Regimes
  • 13.3 Recent Trends: Illiberal Representative Regimes
  • 14.1 What Is Power, and How Do We Measure It?
  • 14.2 Understanding the Different Types of Actors in the International System
  • 14.3 Sovereignty and Anarchy
  • 14.4 Using Levels of Analysis to Understand Conflict
  • 14.5 The Realist Worldview
  • 14.6 The Liberal and Social Worldview
  • 14.7 Critical Worldviews
  • 15.1 The Problem of Global Governance
  • 15.2 International Law
  • 15.3 The United Nations and Global Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)
  • 15.4 How Do Regional IGOs Contribute to Global Governance?
  • 15.5 Non-state Actors: Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • 15.6 Non-state Actors beyond NGOs
  • 16.1 The Origins of International Political Economy
  • 16.2 The Advent of the Liberal Economy
  • 16.3 The Bretton Woods Institutions
  • 16.4 The Post–Cold War Period and Modernization Theory
  • 16.5 From the 1990s to the 2020s: Current Issues in IPE
  • 16.6 Considering Poverty, Inequality, and the Environmental Crisis

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the types of media and their history.
  • Explain how ownership affects both media content and consumers and why it is relevant in the study of politics.
  • Compare and contrast state versus privately owned media.

The oldest known printed book in the world is the Diamond Sutra , a Buddhist text that was printed using fixed wooden blocks in 868 CE. 30 In the 11th century, roughly a thousand years later, Chinese inventor Bi Sheng developed movable type , 31 a system of movable letters that could be reused to repeatedly print text. Movable type changed the course of human knowledge and history because it allowed for faster dissemination of information, cheaper printing, and the shareability of printed material. This newfound ability for people to share knowledge challenged traditional authority, and in the 16th century, Pope Alexander VI prohibited unlicensed printing in an attempt to suppress publications that promoted ideas or threatened the orthodox faith. 32

The Chinese Invention of Printing and Movable Type

The Chinese invented paper, printing, and movable type. This video shows how Chinese movable type was developed and how it works.

The pope’s actions show that, as English writer and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” That is, the ability to spread information freely was an existential threat to traditional power structures. The mass availability of printed material reflects the democratization of knowledge, as education and books were no longer exclusive artifacts of the elite. The media landscape today is very different from when Bi Sheng first created movable type. This section examines the different types of media that exist today as well as recent significant changes in the media environment—and how these changes affect the media’s ability to play the role of gatekeeper and information provider.

Types of Media and Their History

The media can be categorized into four broad groups: print, radio, television, and the Internet. Print media includes newspapers, magazines, and books. This section will briefly discuss the history and current state of each medium as well as how ownership of these industries affects the political world.

According to Cornell University professor Theodore Lowi , Johns Hopkins University professor Benjamin Ginsberg , and Harvard University professors Kenneth Shepsle and Stephen Ansolabehere , print media is important for three primary reasons. First, other media—including television, radio, and now online news aggregators and podcasts—rely on print media to set the news agenda with original coverage. Second, print media provides more context and details than other forms of media. Finally, print media (and its online iterations, such as online versions of newspapers) are the prime information source for the elite . 33 While some have proclaimed that “print is dead,” there is plenty of evidence to the contrary: though newspaper circulation has declined, unique visitors to news websites have increased. 34 What has emerged is a symbiosis of print and online media, where traditional flagship news sources such as the New York Times and various magazines move online to recapture waning audiences, while some previously online-only sources launch physical magazines. In December 2020, Forbes ran an aptly named article titled “Stop Saying Print Journalism Is Dead. 60 Magazines Launched during This Crazy Year,” 35 pointing out that people still like print, and, as University of Texas professor Iris Chyi explains, the reason for this is biological; tangible material leaves a deeper footprint in the brain. 36 A study of democratic European countries confirmed the same phenomenon: print media is still resilient in the face of an expanding online environment. 37 Commercial Observer reporter Chava Gourarie explains the phenomenon this way: “It seems print and digital can co-exist after all. The new won’t replace the old. The new will hammer the old, deform it, reform it, reconceive, reconfigure, but the old won’t disappear.” 38 Later parts of this chapter will further investigate the impact of the Internet on traditional media.

Print media has not suffered as much in other parts of the world, particularly in developing countries. A 2011 Pew Research Center study found that “print newspapers are thriving . . . in countries with untapped and emerging population segments. In some parts of the world, such as India, reading a print newspaper is a prestigious activity, in much the same way that it was for immigrants a century ago in the United States,” 39 and increased literacy in developing countries also contributes to this trend. 40 Newspaper circulation increased by double-digits in South America, Asia, and Africa between 2004 and 2009. 41

The first commercial radio station was born in the United States on November 2, 1920, when Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company transmitted the first scheduled broadcast, announcing live returns of the presidential election contest between Warren G. Harding and James Cox . Westinghouse obtained the first US commercial broadcasting station license in the same year, and seven years later, the Radio Act of 1927 created the Federal Radio Commission to oversee radio broadcasting, replacing the Department of Commerce in its oversight duties. 42 This marked the beginning of what has come to be known as the golden age of radio, from the late 1920s until the early 1950s, when radio broadcasts were millions of Americans’ primary source of news and entertainment. 43 Television would soon overtake radio as the primary form of entertainment in the home, but as of 2019, radio programming still reached more Americans than any other media platform. 44 While the United States is considered the largest and most important radio market, other developed countries constitute important markets for radio broadcasters. The United Nations continues to celebrate the radio on World Radio Day , hailing the humble technology as a “vector of freedom” because radio supplies low-cost information and remains a widely used technology around the globe. 45

Show Me the Data

The first black-and-white television was introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair, 46 and in 1941, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , the US government commission that currently oversees radio, television, wire, and now the Internet, authorized commercial broadcasting in the United States. 47 The introduction of color television quickly followed in the early 1950s, and by the 1980s, around 90 percent of American households had a television. 48 This era is what Queensland University of Technology professor Amanda D. Lotz terms “the network era,” when three major television networks had a fixed schedule and provided the majority of media content. During this era, most homes had one television, and television was a means of “bring[ing] the outside world into the home.” 49 Coaxial cable television was first developed in the 1930s to provide television to rural areas that could not receive broadcast signals. Cable television became more widespread starting in the 1950s and culminating in the 1970s with the introduction of Home Box Office (HBO) , which fought with the FCC to be allowed to provide for-fee television content through a cable network. 50 Steady growth of the industry peaked in the early 2000s, and by 2010, more than 105 million Americans—or about 90 percent of homes—paid for cable television services. 51 Yet the number of Americans who said they watched television via cable or satellite plunged from 76 percent in 2015 to 56 percent in 2021, 52 while a recent Deloitte consulting study found that 82 percent of respondents subscribed to a streaming service. 53 The trend of moving from traditional television to streaming or mobile services can be seen elsewhere in the world, though it is progressing at a slower pace. In India in 2018, 197 million households had televisions, while only a fraction of that number (60 million) utilized the country’s most popular on-demand media programming. 54

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) , which was established through the US Department of Defense in the early 1960s, built on research conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to fund and administer one of the first iterations of the Internet . 55 By 1969, ARPANET mainly connected research universities to one another, but at the urging of the telecommunication and computer industry, the government was persuaded to open up the network for public use. In 1993, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) put the technology into the public domain 56 thanks to the research of MIT professor Tim Berners-Lee , who created the framework for the World Wide Web and the use of links and hyperlinks. The Internet has of course altered the way people interact with every communication medium. Never have people been able to access so much information at once from one place, be it with a laptop or a smartphone. As of 2021, 97 percent of all adults owned a cell phone, and 87 percent owned a smartphone; over 95 percent of Americans ages 18 to 49 reported using a smartphone. 57 A 2018 survey found that, worldwide, a median of 76 percent of the populations of 18 advanced economies had smartphones compared to just 45 percent in emerging economies, with South Korea reporting the highest smartphone adoption rate at 95 percent. 58 In 2020, more than 80 percent of Americans got their news from a smartphone, while only 10 percent got news from a printed newspaper. 59 Of those using online news, more than half of Americans said they get their news from social media “at least sometimes,” and a third of Americans stated that they regularly get news from Facebook . 60 Later parts of this chapter will investigate the role of social media in more depth.

Ownership of the Media

Between print media, radio, television, and streaming services, it feels like people have a lot of choice when it comes to media. However, the United States and Europe have what is called media concentration , where a few firms own the majority of channels and content. In fact, five companies own and produce 90 percent of what Americans watch today. 61 Another word to describe this type of media ownership pattern, in which a small number of corporations dominate the market, is an oligopoly .

Is media concentration a cause for concern? Columbia Business School professor Eli Noam argues that larger corporations have the money to invest in good journalists and foster reader loyalty. 62 Since being acquired by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos , the Washington Post has increased hiring and has shown profitability, unlike many other newspapers. 63 However, because these companies are privately owned, it is not irrational to assume that they are profit-seeking businesses that look to maximize earnings over other, perhaps loftier, goals. As such, these companies may choose easy-to-sell programming over content with high information value. Providence College professor Matt Guardino writes, “When control over the media is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, owners may be able to use their corporations’ powerful platforms to amplify propaganda driven by their own political views or business interests.” 64 In addition, profit maximization can lead to budgetary constraints such as reduced foreign news coverage or other staffing cutbacks, which can affect the content of the news and, by extension, what information citizens and voters can access. A 2018 study found that “ownership chains” had “a homogenizing effect on the content of newspapers’ coverage of foreign policy, resulting in coverage across co-owned papers that is more similar in scope (what they cover), focus (how much ‘hard’ relative to ‘soft’ news they offer), and diversity (the breadth of topics they include in their coverage of a given issue) relative to . . . papers that are not co-owned.” 65 As Senior Research and Teaching Associate at University of Zurich Edda Humprecht notes, “Large media corporations are assumed to offer superficial or scandalizing news content in order to attract large audiences,” 66 and this idea has been backed by various empirical studies that point to the reduction of more serious news in favor of content with what is perceived to be higher entertainment value. Stanford researcher Mark Cooper iterates this point: “Concentration of ownership may foster entertainment variety, but it undermines diversity of information and journalistic enterprise.” 67 He also notes that “concentration of media ownership reduces the diversity of local reporting and gives dominant firms in local markets an immense amount of power to influence critical decisions. Consolidation in national chains squeezes out the local point of view.” 68 A study of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group , which provides news to more than 70 percent of American households, found that news outlets under concentrated ownership focused on national news over local interest, produced slightly more politically conservative content, and resulted in a small downward shift in viewership. 69 This is troubling when considered alongside research that finds that smaller station groups produce higher-quality newscasts than stations owned by larger companies—by a significant margin. 70 It is not difficult to see how ownership affects not just what people see but also what they consider important—and how that can affect the public’s view of politics.

The picture of media ownership in Europe is similar to that in the United States in that six corporations also own the majority of media content across Europe, prompting the European Union to commission the 2020 report Monitoring Media Pluralism in the Digital Era 71 and to issue a warning about the threat that media concentration poses to pluralism and diversity of views. The European Federation of Journalists echoes this concern: “Many politicians, particularly those in the European Parliament, have repeatedly expressed concerns over the growth of huge media companies that are exercising unprecedented levels of political and commercial influence. In the process they threaten diversity and pluralism in society.” 72

Private ownership is not the only media model. In many countries outside of the United States, the media are either partially or wholly owned by the state with positive effects. For example, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the world’s first public broadcaster, 73 draws its funding via the government in the form of a user fee while not having any direct government intervention when it comes to programming or editing. Many hail the BBC as a model for public ownership because of its high-quality news, content, and accessibility. Countries that have strong public broadcasters such as the BBC have been shown to “have higher levels of social trust, and the people who live in them are less likely to hold extremist political views.” 74 Public news media continue to play a particularly prominent role in western Europe, where public news stations, including the BBC in the UK, Sveriges Television (SVT) and Sveriges Radio (SR) in Sweden, and ARD in Germany, continue to be top sources for news. 75 However, in poorer, autocratic nations, state ownership of the media has been shown to undermine political and economic rights and freedoms. 76 In the United States, the two highest-profile public news outlets, National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), rank far lower than private news outlets in terms of listeners and viewership. 77

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Amy Johnson, the Pioneer of British Aviation

The surprising life of the only animals that defecate cubes, openmind books, scientific anniversaries, exoskeletons: robotics + virtual reality + neurology, featured author, latest book, first the media, then us: how the internet changed the fundamental nature of the communication and its relationship with the audience.

In just one generation the Internet changed the way we make and experience nearly all of media. Today the very act of consuming media creates an entirely new form of it: the social data layer that tells the story of what we like, what we watch, who and what we pay attention to, and our location when doing so.

The audience, once passive, is now cast in a more central and influential role than ever before. And like anyone suddenly thrust in the spotlight, we’ve been learning a lot, and fast.

This social data layer reveals so much about our behavior that it programs programmers as much as they program us. Writers for the blog website  Gawker  watch real-time web consumption statistics on all of their posts—and they instantly learn how to craft content to best command an audience. The head programmer for Fox Television Network similarly has a readout that gives an in-depth analysis of audience behavior, interest, and sentiment. In the run-up to the final episode of the American television drama  Breaking Bad , the series was drawing up to 100,000 tweets a day, a clear indication that the audience was as interested in what it had to say as what the producers were creating.

All this connected conversation is changing audiences as well. Like Narcissus, we are drawn to ourselves online and to the siren of ever-more social connections. In her book  Alone Together , Sherry Turkle (2011) points out that at this time of maximum social connection, we may be experiencing fewer genuine connections than ever before. The renowned media theorist Marshall McLuhan (1968, 73) saw the potential for this more than 40 years ago when he observed that  augmentation leads to amputation . In other words, in a car we don’t use our feet—we hit the road and our limbs go into limbo. With cell phones and social devices, we are connected to screens and virtually to friends worldwide, but we may forfeit an authentic connection to the world. Essentially, we arrive at Turkle’s “alone together” state.

In the past, one could turn the media off—put it down, go offline. Now that’s becoming the exception, and for many, an uncomfortable one. Suggest to a young person today that she go offline and she’ll ask, “Offline, what’s that?” or “Why am I being punished?” We are almost always connected to an Internet-enabled device, whether in the form of a smartphone, fitness monitor, car, or screen. We are augmented by sensors, signals, and servers that record vast amounts of data about how we lead our everyday lives, the people we know, the media we consume, and the information we seek. The media, in effect, follows us everywhere, and we’re becoming anesthetized to its presence.

It is jarring to realize that the implication of this total media environment was also anticipated more than 40 years ago by McLuhan. When he spoke of the “global village,” his point was not just that we’d be connected to one another. He was concerned that we’d all know each other’s business, that we’d lose a measure of privacy as a result of living in a world of such intimate awareness. McLuhan (1969) called this “retribalizing,” in the sense that modern media would lead us to mimic the behavior of tribal villages. Today, the effects of this phenomenon help define the media environment: we consciously manage ourselves as brands online; we are more concerned than ever with each other’s business; and we are more easily called out or shamed than in the bygone (and more anonymous) mass communication era.

We maintain deeply intimate relationships with our connected devices. Within minutes of waking up, most of us reach for a smartphone. We go on to check them 150 or more times throughout the day, spending all but two waking hours with a mobile device nearby (IDC 2013). As these devices become omnipresent, more and more data about our lives is nearly permanently stored on servers and made searchable by others (including private corporations and government agencies).

This idea that everything we do can be measured, quantified, and stored is a fundamental shift in the human condition. For thousands of years we’ve had the notion of accountability to an all-seeing, all-knowing God. He kept tabs on us, for our own salvation. It’s one of the things that made religion effective. Now, in just a few thousand days, we’ve deployed the actual all-seeing, all-knowing network here on earth—for purposes less lofty than His, and perhaps even more effective.

We are also in the midst of an unprecedented era of media invention. We’ve passed from the first web-based Internet to the always-connected post-PC world. We will soon find ourselves in an age of pervasive computing, where all devices and things in our built world will be connected and responsive, with the ability to collect and emit data. This has been called the  Internet of Things .

In the recent past, the pace of technological change has been rapid—but it is accelerating quickly. One set of numbers tells the story. In 1995, the Internet connected together about 50 million devices. In 2011, the number of connections exceeded 4.3 billion (at the time roughly half of these were people and half were machines). We ran out of Internet addresses that year and are now adopting a new address mechanism called IPv6. This scheme will allow for about 340 billion billion billion billion unique IP addresses. That’s probably the largest number ever seriously used by mankind in the design of anything. (The universe has roughly 40 orders of magnitude more atoms than we have Internet addresses, but man didn’t invent the universe and for the purpose of this chapter it is not a communication medium, so we’ll move on.)

Here is a big number we will contend with, and soon: there will likely be one trillion Internet-connected devices in about 15 years. Nothing on earth will grow faster than this medium or the number of connected devices and the data they emit. Most of these devices will not be people, of course, but the impact of a trillion devices emitting signals and telling stories on our mediated world cannot be overstated.

To visualize the size of all this, imagine the volume of Internet connections in 1995 as the size of the Moon. The Internet of today would be the size of Earth. And the Internet in 15 years the size of giant Jupiter!

Exponential change like this matters because it points out how unreliable it is to predict how media will be used tomorrow. Examining the spotty record of past predictions is humbling and helps open our minds to the future.

In 1878, the year after he invented the phonograph, Thomas Edison had no idea how it would be used; or rather, he had scores of ideas—but he could not come up a priori with the killer application of his hardware. Edison was a shrewd inventor who kept meticulous notes. Here were his top 10 ideas for the use of the phonograph:

  • Letter writing, and all kinds of dictation without the aid of a stenographer.
  • Photographic books, which will speak to blind people without effort on their part.
  • The teaching of elocution.
  • Music—the phonograph will undoubtedly be liberally devoted to music.
  • The family record; preserving the sayings, the voices, and the last words of the dying members of the family, as of great men.
  • Music boxes, toys, etc.—A doll which may speak, sing, cry or laugh may be promised our children for the Christmas holidays ensuing.
  • Clocks, that should announce in speech the hour of the day, call you to lunch, send your lover home at ten, etc.
  • The preservation of language by reproduction of our Washingtons, our Lincolns, our Gladstones.
  • Educational purposes; such as preserving the instructions of a teacher so that the pupil can refer to them at any moment; or learn spelling lessons.
  • The perfection or advancement of the telephone’s art by the phonograph, making that instrument an auxiliary in the transmission of permanent records.

He first attempted a business centered on stenographer-free letter writing. That failed, largely because it was a big threat to the incumbent player—stenographers. It would be years (and a few recapitalizations) later that music would emerge as the business of phonographs. And this was a business that survived for well over 100 years before cratering.

When I reflect on my own career, I see this pattern of trying to understand—“Exactly what is this anyway?”—constantly repeat itself. In 1993, I collaborated with Bill Gates (1995) as he wrote  The Road Ahead . The book outlined what Gates believed would be implications of the personal computing revolution and envisioned a future profoundly impacted by the advent of what would become the Internet. At the time, we called this a “global information superhighway.”

I was working with Gates on envisioning the future of television. This was one year before the launch of the Netscape (then Mosaic) browser brought the World Wide Web to the masses. In 1993, we knew that in the coming years there would be broadband and new distribution channels to connected homes. But the idea that this would all be based on an open Internet eluded us completely. We understood what technology was coming down the pike. But we could not predict how it would be used, or that it would look so different from what we had grown accustomed to, which was centralized media companies delivering mass media content from the top down. In 1993 what we (and Al Gore) imagined was an “information superhighway”—Gates and I believed that this would be a means to deliver Hollywood content to the homes of connected people.

We understood that the Internet would be a means to pipe content to connected homes and to share information. But here’s what we missed:

  • User-Generated Anything . The idea that the audience, who we treated as mere consumers, would make their own content and fascinate one another with their own ideas, pictures, videos,  feeds , and taste preferences ( Likes ) was fantastical. We knew people would publish content—this had been taking place on online bulletin boards and other services for years. But the idea that the public would be such a big part of the media equation simply did not make sense.
  • The Audience As Distributor, Curator, Arbiter . We’d all be able to find content, because someone big like Microsoft would publish it. The idea that what the audience liked or paid attention to would itself be a key factor in distribution was similarly unfathomable. It would take the invention of Google and its PageRank algorithm to make clear that what everyone was paying attention to was one of the most important (and disruptive) tools in all of media. In the early 2000s, the rise of social media and then social networks would make this idea central.
  • The Long Tail . In retrospect, it seems obvious: in a world of record shops and video rental stores it cost money to stock physical merchandise. Those economics meant stocking hits was more cost-effective than keeping less popular content on the shelves. But online, where the entire world’s content can be kept on servers, the economics flip: unpopular content is no more expensive to provision that a blockbuster move. As a result, audiences would fracture and find even the most obscure content online more easily than they could at Blockbuster or Borders. This idea was first floated by Clay Shirky in 2003, and then popularized by  Wired ’s Chris Anderson in 2004. That was also the year Amazon was founded, which is arguably the company that has capitalized on this trend most. It has been one of the most pervasive and disruptive impacts of the Internet. For not only has the long tail made anything available, but in disintermediating traditional distribution channels it has concentrated power in the hands of the new media giants of today: Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. (And Microsoft is still struggling to be a relevant actor in this arena.)
  • The Open Internet . We missed that the architecture of the Internet would be open and power would be distributed. That any one node could be a server or a directory was not how industry or the media business, both hierarchal, had worked. The Internet was crafted for military and academic purposes, and coded into it was a very specific value set about openness with no central point of control. This openness has been central to the rapid growth of all forms of new media. Both diversity and openness have defined the media environment for the last generation. This was no accident—it was an act of willful design, not technological determinism. Bob Khan at DARPA and the team at BBN that crafted the Internet had in mind a specific and radical design. In fact, they first approached AT&T to help create the precursor of the Internet and the American communication giant refused—they wanted no part in building a massive network that they couldn’t control. They were right: not only was it nearly impossible to control, but it devoured the telephony business. But as today’s net neutrality battles point out, the effort to reassert control on the Internet is very real. For 50 years the Cold War was the major ideological battle between the free world and the totalitarian world. Today, it’s a battle for openness on the Internet. The issues—political and economic at their core—continue to underpin the nature of media on the Internet.

The Internet Gives Television a Second Act

New media always change the media that came before it, though often in unexpected ways. When television was born, pundits predicted it would be the death of the book. (It wasn’t.) The death of television was a widely predicted outcome of Internet distribution, the long tail, new content creators, and user-generated media. This caused fear in Hollywood and a certain delight, even schadenfreude in Silicon Valley. At conferences, technology executives took great pleasure in taunting  old media  with its novel forms and reminding the establishment that “it is only a matter of time.” New media would fracture audiences, and social media would hijack the public’s attention. The Internet was set to unleash an attention-deficit-disorder epidemic, leading viewers away from traditional television programming en masse. Yet television is doing better than ever. What happened?

As it turns out, the most widely discussed topic on social media is television. One third of Twitter users in the United States post about television (Bauder 2012), and more than 10 percent of all tweets are directly related to television programming (Thornton 2013). New forms of content (as well as new distribution methods) have increased the primacy of great programming, not diminished it. Competing platforms from Google, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and others have meant more competition for both network and cable television networks—and more power for program creators over whose content all the new distributors are fighting.

Despite the volume of content accessible via online platforms—100 minutes of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute—people still spend much of their time watching television, and television programming continues to reach a large majority of the population in developed countries. In the United States, people consume an average of 4 hours and 39 minutes of television every day (Selter 2012). In the United Kingdom, nearly 54.2 million people (or about 95 percent of the population above the age of four) watch television in a given week (Deloitte 2012). Thus, it appears that the “demise of television” is far from imminent (Khurana 2012).

In fact, television is better than it has ever been. Few predicted, even five years ago, that we would find ourselves in the middle of a new golden age in television. There is more content vying for our attention than ever before, and yet a number of rich, complex, and critically-acclaimed series have emerged. Shows like  Heroes , Mad Men ,  Breaking Bad ,  Game of Thrones , and  Homeland  are a testament to the success with which television has adapted to a new and challenging climate.

Networks are now developing niche shows for smaller audiences, and thrive on distribution and redistribution through new platforms. Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and HBO GO have pioneered new forms of viewing and served as the catalyst for innovative business deals. The practice of  binge viewing , in which we watch an entire season (or more) of a program in a short amount of time, is a product of on-demand streaming sites and social media. Before, viewers would have to consume episodes of televisions as they were aired or wait for syndication. Boxed DVD seasons were another way that audiences could consume many episodes at once, but this often meant waiting for networks to trickle out seasons spaced over time. Now, networks are pushing whole seasons to platforms such as Netflix at once. With enough spare time, one can now digest a whole series in an extremely condensed time frame.

This has changed not only our viewing habits, but also the nature of television content. Screenwriters are now able to develop deeper and more complex storylines than they ever had before. Where once lengthy, complex, and involved storylines were the domain of video games, we see this type of storytelling in drama series with some regularity. In addition, television shows are now constructed differently. As audiences become more conscious of the media and media creators, we find that programming is much more self-referential. Jokes on shows like  The Simpsons ,  Family Guy ,  30 Rock , and  The Daily Show  are often jokes about the media.

The consumption of television via on-demand streaming sites is not the only significant change to how we consume television content. There has been a tremendous shift in how we engage with television programming and how we interact with one another around television.

During the early decades of television, television viewing was a scheduled activity that drew groups of people together in both private homes and public spaces. The programming served as the impetus for such gatherings, and television watching was the primary activity of those who were seated in living rooms or stood before television sets in department stores or bars. Television continued to serve as a group medium through the 1960s and 1970s, but technological innovations ultimately transformed viewer behavior. The remote control, the videotape, the DVR, and mobile devices have led people to consume television content in greater quantities, but they do so increasingly in isolation. Once a highly anticipated social event, television programming is now an omnipresent environmental factor.

As television moved from a communal appointment medium to an individual activity initiated on demand, the community aspect of television has moved to the Internet. We have recreated the social function of television, which was once confined to living rooms, online—the conversation about television has expanded to a global level on social networking sites.

The sharp rise in multiscreen consumption is perhaps one of the most significant changes in modern media consumption, and has been a source of both excitement and concern among television network and technology executives alike. This form of media multitasking, in which a viewer engages with two or more screened devices at once, now accounts for 41 percent of time spent in front of television screens (Moses 2012). More than 60 percent of tablet users (Johnson 2012) and nearly 90 percent of smartphone users (Nielsen 2012) report watching television while using their devices.

Currently, television viewers are more likely to engage with content about television programming (such as Tweets or Facebook status updates) on complementary devices than they are to consume supplementary programming (such as simulcast sports footage) on a second screen. What is clear is that even if we are watching television in isolation, we are not watching alone.

Even when we’re alone, we often watch television with friends. Some 60 percent of viewers watch TV while also using a social network. Of this group, 40 percent discuss what they are currently watching on television via social networks (Ericsson 2012). More than half of 16 to 24-year-olds regularly use complementary devices to communicate with others via messaging, e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter about programs being watched on television (Ericsson 2012).

With all of this online communication, of course, comes data. With exacting precision, Twitter can monitor what causes viewers to post about a given program. During the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, a performance by Jay-Z and Kanye West generated approximately 70,000 tweets per minute (Twitter 2013). Later in the program, the beginning of a performance by Beyoncé generated more than 90,000 tweets per minute. Before she exited the stage, the superstar revealed her pregnancy by unbuttoning her costume. Tweets spiked at 8,868 per second, shattering records set on the social network shortly after such significant events as the resignation of Steve Jobs and the death of Osama Bin Laden (Hernandez 2011).

It is clear that television programming drives social media interaction. But do tweets drive consumers to tune in to a particular program? A report by Nielsen (2013) suggests that there is a two-way causal relationship between tuning in for a broadcast program and the Twitter conversation about that particular program. In nearly half of 221 primetime episodes analyzed in the study, higher levels of tweeting corresponded with additional viewers tuning in to the programming. The report also showed that the volume of tweets sent about a particular program caused significant changes in ratings among nearly 30 percent of the episodes.

The second-screen conversation about television programming is not limited to Twitter. Trendrr (2013), a social networking data analysis platform, recorded five times as much second-screen Facebook activity during one week in May 2013 than on all other social networks combined. Facebook recently released tools that will allow partner networks, including CNN and NBC, to better understand second-screen conversation taking place on the social network as it happens (Gross 2013). Using these tools, it is now possible to break down the number of Facebook posts that mention a certain term during a given time frame.

This real-time data—about who is watching television, where they are watching it from, and what they are saying about it—is of interest not just to television executives and advertisers, but the audience, too. There are several drivers for social television watching behavior, including not wanting to watch alone and the desire to connect with others (Ericsson 2012). Beyond connecting with the audience at large, dual-screen television viewers report using social networks to seek additional information about the program they are watching and to validate their opinions against a public sample.

I’ve witnessed times in my own life where watching TV alone became unacceptable. In order to make my viewing experience tolerable, I needed to lean on the rest of the viewing audience’s sensibility. Moments like these changed my relationship to the medium of television forever.

In January 2009, I watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama on television along with 37.8 million other Americans. As Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office, he strayed from the wording specified in the United States Constitution. I recognized that something had gone wrong—the president and the chief justice flubbed the oath? How could that be? What happened? I immediately turned to Twitter—and watched as everyone else was having the same instantaneous reaction. The audience provided context. I knew what was going on.

Twitter was equally useful to me during Super Bowl XLV when the Black Eyed Peas performed at the halftime show. The pop stars descended from the rafters of Cowboys Stadium and launched into a rendition of their hit song “I Gotta Feeling.” It sounded awful. I turned to my girlfriend in dismay: “There is something wrong with the television. My speakers must have blown! There is no way that a performance during the most-watched television event of all time sounds this horrible.” After tinkering with my sound system to no avail, I thought, “Maybe it’s not me. Could it be? Do they really sound this bad?” A quick check of Twitter allayed my fears of technical difficulties—yes, the Black Eyed Peas sounded terrible. My sound system was fine.

As the level of comfort with and reliance upon multiscreen media consumption grows among audiences, content producers are developing rich second-screen experiences for audiences that enhance the viewing experience.

For example, the Lifetime channel launched a substantial second-screen engagement for the 12th season of reality fashion competition  Project Runway  (Kondolojy 2013). By visiting playrunway.com during live broadcasts of the show, fans could vote in opinion polls and see results displayed instantly on their television screens. In addition to interactive voting, fans could access short-form video, blogs, and photo galleries via mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.

There are indications that second-screen consumption will move beyond the living room and into venues like movie theaters and sports stadiums. In connection with the theatrical rerelease of the 1989 classic  The Little Mermaid , Disney has created an iPad app called “Second Screen Live” that will allow moviegoers to play games, compete with fellow audience members, and sing along with the film’s score from their theater seats (Stedman 2013). In 2014, Major League Baseball will launch an application for wearable computing device Google Glass that will display real-time statistics to fans at baseball stadiums (Thornburgh 2013).

Music: Reworked, Redistributed, and Re-Experienced Courtesy of the Internet

The Internet has also completely transformed the way music is distributed and experienced. In less than a decade physical media (the LP and the CD) gave way to the MP3. Less than a decade after that, cloud-based music services and social sharing have become the norm. These shifts took place despite a music industry that did all it could to resist the digital revolution—until after it had already happened! The shareable, downloadable MP3 surfaced on the early web of the mid-1990s, and the music industry largely failed to recognize its potential. By the early 2000s, the Recording Industry Association of America had filed high-profile lawsuits against peer-to-peer file sharing services like Napster and Limewire (as well as private persons caught downloading music via their networks). Total revenue from music sales in the United States plummeted from $14.6 billion in 1999 to $6.3 billion in just ten years (Goldman 2010).

The truth was inescapable: its unwillingness to adopt new distribution platforms had badly hurt the music industry’s bottom line. Television (having watched the music debacle) adjusted far better to the realities of the content business in the digital age. But the recording industry was forced to catch up to its audience, which was already getting much of its music online (legally or otherwise). Only in recent years did major labels agree to distribution deals with cloud-streaming services including Spotify, Rdio, iHeartRadio, and MOG. The music industry has experienced a slight increase in revenues in the past year, which can be attributed to both digital music sales and streaming royalties (Faughnder 2013).

Ironically, what the music industry fought so hard to prevent (free music and sharing) in the early days of the web is exactly what they ended up with today. There is more music available online now than ever before, and much of it is available for free.

Applications like Spotify and Pandora give users access to vast catalogs of recorded music, and sites like SoundCloud and YouTube have enabled a new generation of artists to distribute their music with ease. There is also a social layer to many music services. Their sites and applications are designed to allow users to share their favorite songs, albums, and artists with one another. Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube (among others) enable playlist sharing.

The rapid evolution of online music platforms has led to fundamental changes in the way we interact with music. The process of discovering and digesting music has become an almost frictionless process. Being able to tell Pandora what you like and have it invoke a personalized radio station tailored to your tastes is not only more convenient that what came before it, it’s a qualitatively different medium. Gone are the days when learning about a new artist required flipping through the pages of a magazine (not to mention through stacks of albums at the record store).

As a kid I didn’t have much of a popular music collection, which was somewhat traumatic whenever it came to throwing a party or having friends over. The cool kids had collections; the rest didn’t. Telling friends to bring all their LPs over for the night didn’t make a lot of sense growing up in New York City, where they’d have to drag them along in a taxi or public bus. Fast forward to 2011. I was hosting a cocktail party at my home in San Francisco, which became an experiment in observing the effect of different kinds of Internet music services. In the kitchen, I played music via an iPod that contained songs and albums I had purchased over the years. (And my collection still was not as good as my cool friends.) In the living room, I streamed music via the Pandora app on my iPhone. Guests would pick stations, skip songs, or add variety as the night went on. Upstairs, I ran Spotify from my laptop. I had followed, as the service allows you to do, two friends whose taste I really admired—a DJ from New York, and a young woman from the Bay Area who frequently posted pictures of herself at music festivals to Facebook. In playing a few of their playlists, I had created the ultimate party soundtrack. I came across as a supremely hip host, without having to curate the music myself. Ultimately, everyone gravitated upstairs to dance to  my  Spotify soundtrack.

The iPod, Pandora, and Spotify all allowed me to digitally deliver music to my guests. However, each delivery device is fundamentally different. Adding music to an iPod is far from a frictionless process. I had purchased the songs on my iPod over the course of several years, and to discover this music I depended on word of mouth of friends or the once-rudimentary recommendations of the iTunes store. Before the introduction of iCloud in 2011, users had to upload songs from their iTunes library to an iPod or iPhone, a process that took time (and depending on the size of a user’s library, required consideration of storage constraints).

With Pandora came access to a huge volume of music. The Internet radio station boasts a catalog of more than 800,000 tracks from 80,000 artists. And it is a learning system that becomes educated about users’ tastes over time. The Music Genome Project is at the core of Pandora technology. What was once a graduate student research project became an effort to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level.” Using almost 400 attributes to describe and code songs, and a complex mathematical algorithm to organize them, Pandora sought to generate stations that could respond to a listener’s taste and other indicators (such as the “thumbs down,” which would prevent a song from being played on a particular station again).

Spotify has a catalog of nearly 20 million songs. While the size of the service’s catalog is one of its major strengths, so too are its social features. The service, which launched in the United States in 2011 after lengthy negotiations with the major record labels, allowed users to publish their listening activity to Facebook and Twitter. The desktop player enabled users to follow one another, and make public playlists to which others could subscribe. In addition, users could  message  each other playlists. The sharing of Spotify playlists between connected users mimicked the swapping of mixtape cassettes in the late eighties and early nineties.

All of these are examples of how what the audience creates is a growing part of the creative process.

In the heyday of the album, the exact flow of one song to another and the overall effect was the supreme expression of overall artistic design and control. It wasn’t only the songs—the album represented 144 square inches of cover art and often many interior pages of liner notes in which to build a strong experience and relationship and story for your fans. It was a major advance over the 45, which provided a much smaller opportunity for a relationship with the band. With the arrival of MP3s, all of this was undone. Because we bought only the songs we were interested in, not only was the artist making less money, but he had lost control of what we were listening to and in what order. It didn’t much matter, because we were busy putting together playlists and mixtapes where we (the audience) were in charge of the listening experience.

The Internet has given us many tools that allow us to personalize the listening experience. More than that, listening to music has increasingly become a personal activity, one that is done in isolation. The simplicity with which music can be consumed online has changed music from an immersive media to a more ambient media, one that is easily taken for granted.

Interestingly, the rise in personal consumption of music (via MP3 and the cloud) has coincided with a sharp rise in festival culture. Now more than ever, audiences seek to be together—whether in Indio, California for Coachella; Black Rock City, Nevada for Burning Man; Chicago, Illinois for Lollapalooza; or Miami, Florida for the Ultra Music Festival—to experience music as a collective group.

At a time where we collectively listen to billions of hours of streamed music each month, nothing compels us in a stronger fashion than the opportunity to come together, outdoors, often outside of cell phone range, to bask in performances by our favorite artist. Festival lineups are stacked with independent artists and superstars alike. Interestingly, a lineup is not unlike a long playlist on iTunes. There is no way to catch every performance at South by Southwest or Electric Daisy Carnival—but there is comfort in knowing that many of your favorite artists are there in one place.

This has also proven out economically. At a time when selling recorded music had become ever-more challenging, the business of live music is experiencing a renaissance. In 2013, both weekend-long installments of the Coachella festivals sold out in less than 20 minutes and raked in $47.3 million in revenue (Shoup 2013). The rise of festivals (now one in every state of the U.S.) is a response to the Internet having made the act of consuming recorded music more ambient and banal than ever before while creating the need for greater social and immersive experiences.

At the core of going to a music festival or listening to  The White Album  with a group of friends is the need to experience music collectively. It is a realization that beyond even the song itself, perhaps the most inspiring and rousing element of music is not just the music itself, but our collective human experience of it.

Today, as the audience is restlessly making its own media, it is also learning fast that with new media come new rules and new exceptions. Media confer power on the formerly passive audience, and with that comes new responsibilities.

This was made startlingly evident in the wake of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. At five o’clock in the evening on April 18, the FBI released a photo one of the suspects and asked the public for help in identifying him. Hours later, the Facebook page of Sunil Tripathi, a student who bore a resemblance to the suspect and was reported missing, was posted to the social news site Reddit. Word spread that this was the bomber. Within hours the story was amplified by the Internet news site BuzzFeed and tweeted to its 100,000 followers. Only, Tripathi had nothing to do with the crime. His worried family had created a Facebook page to help find their missing son. Over the next few hours Tripathi’s family received hundreds of death threats and anti-Islamic messages until the Facebook page was shut down.

The audience was making media, and spontaneously turning rumors into what appeared to be facts but weren’t, and with such velocity that facts were knocked out of the news cycle for hours that day (Kang 2013).

Four days later, an editor of Reddit posted to the blog a fundamental self-examination about crowd-sourced investigations and a reflection of the power of new media:

This crisis has reminded all of us of the fragility of people’s lives and the importance of our communities, online as well as offline. These communities and lives are now interconnected in an unprecedented way. Especially when the stakes are high we must strive to show good judgement and solidarity. One of the greatest strengths of decentralized, self-organizing groups is the ability to quickly incorporate feedback and adapt. reddit was born in the Boston area (Medford, MA to be precise). After this week, which showed the best and worst of reddit’s potential, we hope that Boston will also be where reddit learns to be sensitive of its own power.

(erik [hueypriest] 2013)

We are now able to surround ourselves with news that conforms to our views. We collect friends whose tastes and opinions are our own tastes and opinions. The diversity of the Internet can ironically make us less diverse. Our new media are immersive, seductive, and addictive. We need only turn to today’s headlines to see how this plays out.

On October 8, 2013, a gunman entered a crowded San Francisco commuter train and drew a .45-caliber pistol. He raised his weapon, put it down to wipe his nose, and then took aim at the passengers.

None of the passengers noticed because they were attending to something far more interesting than present reality. They were subsumed by their smartphones and by the network beyond. These were among the most connected commuters in all of history. On the other side of their little screens, passengers had access to much of the world’s media and many of the planet’s people. They were not especially connected to the moment or to one another. They were somewhere else.

Only when the gunman opened fire did anyone look up. By then, 20-year-old Justin Valdez was mortally wounded. The only witness to this event, which took place on a public train, in front of dozens of people, was a security camera, which captured the scene of connected bliss interrupted. The  San Francisco Chronicle reported the district attorney’s stunned reaction:

“These weren’t concealed movements—the gun is very clear,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They’re just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They’re completely oblivious of their surroundings.”

Gascón said that what happened on the light-rail car speaks to a larger dilemma of the digital age. As glowing screens dominate the public sphere, people seem more and more inclined to become engrossed, whether they are in a car or a train or are strolling through an intersection.

In 1968, Marshall McLuhan observed how completely new media work us over. In  War and Peace in the Global Village  he wrote, “Every new technological innovation is a literal amputation of ourselves in order that it may be amplified and manipulated for social power and action.” (73)

We’ve arrived in full at an always-on, hyper-connected world. A network that connects us together yet can disconnect us from our present reality. An Internet that grants us the ability to create and remix and express ourselves as never before. One that has conferred on us responsibilities and implications we are only beginning to understand. The most powerful tools in media history are not the province of gods, or moguls, but available to practically all mankind.  The media  has become a two-way contact sport that all of us play. And because the media is  us , we share a vital interest and responsibility in the world we create with this, our extraordinary Internet.

Anderson, Chris. “The Long Tail.”  Wired , 12.10 (October 2004).  http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html

Bauder, David. “Study Shows Growth in Second Screen Users.” Associated Press, December 3, 2012.  http://bigstory.ap.org/article/study-shows-growth-second-screen-users

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How the news changes the way we think and behave

media nowadays essay

The latest research suggests that the news can shape us in surprising ways – from our perception of risk to the content of our dreams, to our chances of having a heart attack.

Alison Holman was working on a fairly ordinary study of mental health across the United States. Then tragedy struck.

On 15 April 2013, as hundreds of runners streaked past the finish line at the annual Boston Marathon, two bombs exploded, ten seconds apart. Three people were killed that day, including an eight-year-old boy. Hundreds were injured. Sixteen people lost limbs.

As the world mourned the tragedy, news organisations embarked upon months – years, if you count the trial – of graphic coverage. Footage of the moment of detonation, and the ensuing confusion and smoke, were broadcast repeatedly. Newspapers were strewn with haunting images: blood-spattered streets, grieving spectators and visibly shaken victims whose clothing had been torn from their bodies. 

And so it happened that Holman and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine, found themselves in the midst of a national crisis, sitting on data about the mental wellbeing of nearly 5,000 people just before it happened. They decided to find out if that had changed in the weeks afterwards.

It’s intuitively obvious that being physically present for – or personally affected by – a terrorist incident is likely to be bad for your mental health. By chance, there were some people in the study who had first-hand experience of the bombings, and it was indeed true that their mental health suffered. But there was also a twist.

Another group had been even more badly shaken: those who had not seen the explosion in person , but had consumed six or more hours of news coverage per day in the week afterwards. Bizarrely, knowing someone who had been injured or died, or having been in the vicinity as the bombs went off, were not as predictive of high acute stress.

“It was a big ‘aha’ moment for us,” says Holman. “I think people really strongly, deeply underestimate the impact the news can have.”

It turns out that news coverage is far more than a benign source of facts. From our attitudes to immigrants to the content of our dreams , it can sneak into our subconscious and meddle with our lives in surprising ways. It can lead us to miscalculate certain risks , shape our views of foreign countries , and possibly influence the health of entire economies .  It can increase our risk of developing post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. Now there’s emerging evidence that the emotional fallout of news coverage can even affect our physical health – increasing our chances of having a heart attack or developing health problems years later .

Crucially, just a few hours each day can have an impact far beyond what you might expect. Why?

Getty Images The impact of the news is a psychological mystery, because most of it doesn’t actually affect us directly (Credit: Getty Images)

Ever since the first hints of a mysterious new virus began to emerge from China last year, televised news has seen record viewing figures , as millions diligently tune in for daily government briefings and updates on the latest fatalities, lockdown rules and material for their own armchair analysis.  

But in 2020 these sources aren’t the only, or even the main, way that we keep up to date with current affairs . When you factor in podcasts, streaming services, radio, social media and websites – which often want to send us notifications throughout the day – as well as links shared by friends, it becomes clear that we are constantly simmering in a soup of news, from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we close our eyes each night.

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Surprisingly few studies have looked into how this all adds up, but in 2018 – well before we were confined to our homes with a major global crisis unravelling around us – the average American spent around eleven hours every day looking at screens , where information about global events is hard to escape. Many of us even take our primary news-delivery devices, our mobile phones, to bed .

Hardwired affects  

One potential reason the news affects us so much is the so-called “negativity bias”, a well-known psychological quirk which means we pay more attention to all the worst things happening around us.

It’s thought to have evolved to protect us from danger and helps to explain why a person’s flaws are often more noticeable than their assets , why losses weigh on us more heavily than gains , and why fear is more motivating than opportunity . Governments even build it into their policies – torn between providing a positive or negative incentive for the general public, the latter is much more likely to work .

The bias may also be responsible for the fact that the news is rarely a light-hearted affair. When one website – the City Reporter, based in Russia – decided to report exclusively good news for a day in 2014, they lost two-thirds of their readership . As the science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke put it, the newspapers of Utopia would be terribly dull .

Could this extra dose of negativity be shaping our beliefs?  

Scientists have known for decades that the general public tend to have a consistently bleak outlook, when it comes to their nation’s economic prospects. But in reality, this cannot be the case. The existence of “economic cycles” – fluctuations in the economy between growth and hardship – is one of the cornerstones of modern economics, backed up by decades of research and experience.

Getty Images People tend to worry about how a crisis will make them feel in the future – and this can lead them to consume more news (Credit: Getty Images)

The view that the future is always worse is plainly wrong. It’s also potentially damaging. If people think they won’t have a job or any money in five years, they aren’t going to invest, and this is harmful for the economy. Taken to the extreme, our collective pessimism could become a self-fulfilling prophecy – and there’s some evidence that the news might be partly responsible.  

For example, a 2003 study found that economic news was more often negative than positive – and that this coverage was a significant predictor of people’s expectations . This fits with other research, including a study in the Netherlands which found that reporting about the economy was often out of step with actual economic events – painting a starker picture than the reality. This consistent negativity led the perceptions of the general public away from what the actual markers of the health of the economy would suggest. More recently, the authors of one paper even went so far as to argue that media coverage amplifies periods of prolonged economic growth or contraction .

The news is accidentally warping our perception of reality – and not necessarily for the better. Another example is our perception of risk.

Take global tourism. As you might expect, people don’t usually fancy going on holiday where there is political instability, war or a high risk of terrorism. In some cases, the news is a source of direct advice on these matters – conveying government instructions to, say, come home amid a global pandemic. But even when there is no official line to stay away – or rational need to – it might be influencing us through subconscious biases and flaws in our thinking.

Getty Images The news can shape our views about the safety of foreign countries (Credit: Getty Images)

One way this is thought to happen is through “framing effects”, in which the way something – such as a fact or choice – is presented affects the way you think about it. For example, a drug which is “95% effective” in treating a disease sounds more appealing than one which “fails 5% of the time”. The outcome is the same, but – as a pair of economists discovered in the 70s and 80s – we don’t always think rationally.

In one study, when scientists presented participants with news stories containing equivalent, but differently phrased, statements about political instability or terrorist incidents, they were able to manipulate their perception of how risky that country seemed . For example, saying a terrorist attack was caused by “al-Qaeda and associated radical Islamic groups” was considerably more concerning than saying “Domestic rebel separatist group” – though both have the same meaning.

Sometimes, these subtle influences might have life or death consequences.

A 2014 study found that the public generally view cancers which are overrepresented in the news – such as brain cancer – as far more common than they really are, while those which aren’t often discussed – such as male reproductive cancers – are seen as occurring much less frequently than they do. People who consume the most news generally have the most skewed perceptions.

The research, conducted by the health communication expert Jakob Jensen from the University of Utah, along with scientists from across the United States, raises some alarming possibilities. Are people underestimating their own risk of certain cancers, and therefore missing the early warning signs? Previous studies have shown that a person’s ideas about their own risk can influence their behaviour, so the team suggest that this is one possible side-effect. 

And that’s not all.

Intriguingly, the public perception of a cancer’s prevalence is closely mirrored by federal funding for research into its causes and treatment. Jensen and his colleagues suggest that news coverage might be shaping public perception, which, in turn, could be influencing the allocation of government resources. (Although it’s also possible that the public and the media are both reinforcing each other).

Getty Images The news can lead us to miscalculate risks, such as the probability of developing certain cancers (Credit: Getty Images)

Finally, there’s growing evidence that the news might even infiltrate our dreams.

Amid the current global lockdowns, a large number of people – anecdotally, at least – are reporting dreams which are unusually vivid and frightening . One explanation is that these “pandemic dreams” are the result of our imaginations going wild, as millions of people are largely shut off from the outside world. Another is that we’re remembering our dreams better than we usually would, because we’re anxiously waking up in the middle of REM sleep, the phase in which they occur.

But they could also be down to the way the outbreak is being portrayed by the news. Research has shown that the 9/11 attacks led to significantly more threatening dreams . There was a strong link between the dream changes and exposure to the events on television. “This was not the case for listening to them on the radio, or for talking to friends and relatives about them” says Ruth Propper, a psychologist at Montclair State University, New Jersey, who led the research. “I think what this really shows is that it’s caused by seeing images of death – they’re traumatic.”

News is bad for us

Indeed, it turns out that wallowing in the suffering of seven billion strangers – to paraphrase another science fiction author – isn’t particularly good for our mental health.

After months of nonstop headlines about Covid-19, there are hints of an impending crisis of coronavirus anxiety. Mental health charities across the world are reporting unprecedented levels of demand , while many people are taking “social media holidays”, as they strive to cut their exposure to the news.

Getty Images When the news makes us stressed, there’s emerging evidence that it can affect our health years later (Credit: Getty Images)

While some of this stress might be down to the new reality we’re all finding ourselves in, psychologists have known for years that the news itself can add an extra dose of toxicity. This is particularly apparent following a crisis. After the 2014 Ebola crisis , the 9/11 attacks , the 2001 anthrax attacks , and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake , for example, the more news coverage a person was exposed to, the more likely they were to develop symptoms such as stress, anxiety and PTSD.

The impact of news is something of a psychological mystery, because most of it doesn’t actually affect us directly, if at all. And when it does, several studies have found that – as with the Boston Marathon Bombings – the coverage can be worse for our mental health than the reality.

One possible explanation involves “affective forecasting”, which is the attempt to predict how we will feel about something in the future. According to Rebecca Thompson, a psychologist at the University of Irvine, most people feel fairly confident in their ability to do this. “Like if you were to imagine winning the lottery tomorrow, you would think you would feel great,” she says.

Oddly, when you ask people how they actually feel after these “life-changing” events, it turns out they often have far less of an impact on our emotions than we expect. A classic 1978 study compared the happiness of those who had recently had their lives transformed by winning the lottery or becoming paralysed. The lottery winners were no less happy than the controls and only slightly happier than the accident victims. In short, we really don’t know our future selves as well as we think we do.   

The same thing happens during a crisis. Thompson explains that right now many people are likely to be fixated on their future distress. In the meantime, this mistake is steering us towards unhealthy behaviours.

“If you have a really big threat in your life that you're really concerned about, it’s normal to gather as much information about it as possible so that you can understand what's going on,” says Thompson. This leads us into the trap of overloading on news.

Getty Images The news can sneak into our subconscious and affect the content of our dreams (Credit: Getty Images)

For example, those who thought they were more likely to develop post-traumatic stress after Hurricane Irma made its way across Florida in September 2017, also tended to consume the most news in the run up to it. Ironically, these people did have the worst psychological outcomes in the end – but Thompson thinks this is partly because of the amount of stressful information they were exposed to. She points out that much of the media coverage was heavily sensationalised, with clips of television reporters being buffeted by high winds and rain while emphasising worst-case scenarios. 

In fact, not only can news coverage of crises lead us to catastrophise about them specifically, but also everything else in our lives – from our finances to our romantic relationships. A 2012 study found that women – but mysteriously, not men – who had been primed by reading negative news stories tended to become more stressed by other challenges, leading to a spike in their levels of the stress hormone, cortisol .

“Men normally show quite high levels [of cortisol], so it might be that they just can’t go any higher,” says Marie-France Marin, a psychologist at the University of Quebec in Montreal, who authored the study. However, the women also had better memories for the negative news – suggesting that they really were more affected.

Negative news also has the power to raise a person’s heart rate – and there are worrying signs that it might have more serious implications for our long-term health.

When Holman and colleagues looked into the legacy of stress about the 9/11 attacks, they found that those who had reported high levels at the time were 53% more likely to have cardiovascular problems in the three years afterwards – even when factors such as their previous health were taken into account.

In a more recent study, the team investigated if the news itself might be responsible for this – and found that exposure to four or more hours of early 9/11 coverage was linked to a greater likelihood of health problems years later .

“What's especially remarkable about that study is that that the majority of people were only exposed to 9/11 through the media,” says Holman. “But they received these lasting effects. And that makes me suspect that there's something else going on and that we need to understand that.”

Getty Images Just a few hours of news coverage each day can have an impact far beyond what you might expect (Credit: Getty Images)

Why do events that are happening to strangers, sometimes thousands of miles away, affect us so much?

Holman has a few ideas, one of which is that the vivid depictions found in televised media are to blame. She explains that sometimes the news is on in the background while she’s in the gym, and she’ll notice that for the whole time the reporter is telling a story, they’ll have the same images repeating over and over. “You've got this loop of images being brought into your brain, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. What we're looking at is not a horror movie that's fake. We're looking at real life things – and I suspect that somehow the repetitiveness is why they have such an impact.”

Holman points out that the news is not – and has never been – just about faithfully reporting one event after another. It’s a form of entertainment, that the media uses to compete for our precious time. Many of these organisations are dependent on advertising revenue, so they add a sense of drama to hook in viewers and keep them watching. As a result, the prizes for being the most watched are great. In America, news anchors are major celebrities, sometimes earning tens of millions of dollars a year.

Even when they’re reporting on already-traumatic incidents, news channels often can’t resist adding an extra frisson of tension. After the Boston Marathon bombings, coverage often appeared alongside urgent, sensationalising text such as “new details” and “brand new images of marathon bombs”.

Holman is already looking into how the news coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting us, though her results haven’t been published yet. “I really wish that I could say ‘I think it will be OK, we’ve got it covered’, but I do think there are going to be some lasting effects for some people,” she says.

Part of the problem, Holman suggests, is that global dramas have never been so accessible to us – today it’s possible to partake in a collective trauma from anywhere in the world, as though it were happening next door. And this is a challenge for our mental health.

So the next time you find yourself checking the headlines for the hundredth time that day, or anxiously scrolling through your social media feed, just remember: the news might be influencing you more than you bargained for.

As an award-winning science site, BBC Future is committed to bringing you evidence-based analysis and myth-busting stories around the new coronavirus. You can read more of our  Covid-19 coverage here .

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Digital divide ... the repercussions of increased digital media use are both positive and negative Image:  . REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

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Stay up to date:, media, entertainment and sport.

Ever feel helpless and anxious without your mobile? You're in good company: millions of consumers of digital media, entertainment and information have found their lives revolutionized by the power at their fingertips.

Half of us believe that increased use of digital media has improved our lives, according to recent World Economic Forum research. From social networking to how we work, digital media is now integrated in much of what we do, improving our productivity and facilitating how we interact and communicate.

But at what cost? "The age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention spans, even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer,” writes Leon Watson of The Telegraph . In 2010, another research team at the University of Michigan found a 40% decline among students in every definition of empathy among college students, as compared to their counterparts 20 years previous, with most of this decline coming after the year 2000.

The list of positive and negative repercussions of increased digital media use is long. Are we doing enough, and more importantly, can we do more to foster the great things that come from digital media use while addressing the potential risks?

You can view seven short videos about the societal implications of digital media and the impacts on various aspects of our lives:

How we consume and share How our decisions are influenced Our digital presence and privacy Our personal development, learning, and health How we interact with one another Our professional lives How we engage civically

Find out more in the Forum's report, Digital Media & Society: Implications in a Hyperconnected Era .

Author: Claudio Cocorocchia, Content Lead, Media, Entertainment and Information Industries, and a Global Leadership Fellow

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The System of Global Media Nowadays Essay (Critical Writing)

Introduction.

The system of global media is radical and more often than not does not respect anything that comes in its path to profitability. Notably, global media companies are politically reserved mainly because they benefit from the present social system in today’s world. Having fewer but giant media corporations may contribute to news coverage that is not aggressive. It is also argued that these global media companies are likely to reduce and control expression and information (Patrick, Evan H, 2001).

The global media is highly dominated by a few super-powerful, U.S based companies. This system has been working mainly in advancing in the market globally as well as promoting commercial worth. These companies however demean journalism and any culture that does not promote the interests of the media corporation. The top five global media companies are as follows; (Third World Traveler, 2007).

Time Warner

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Formally, the company was known as Warner Communications Inclusive and Time Inclusive. The company is based in New York City. This is the largest corporation in the media industry worldwide. The company was formed back in the year 1989 as a result of a merger between Warner communications and Time inclusive. Time Warner has been advancing to becoming a full global corporation. It has a total of 200 subsidiaries in the world. The company in the year 1996 was earning over two-thirds of its income from the US. This global media company expects that globalization will foster even more growth in revenue.

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Why social media has changed the world — and how to fix it

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Sinan Aral and his new book The Hype Machine

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Are you on social media a lot? When is the last time you checked Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram? Last night? Before breakfast? Five minutes ago?

If so, you are not alone — which is the point, of course. Humans are highly social creatures. Our brains have become wired to process social information, and we usually feel better when we are connected. Social media taps into this tendency.

“Human brains have essentially evolved because of sociality more than any other thing,” says Sinan Aral, an MIT professor and expert in information technology and marketing. “When you develop a population-scale technology that delivers social signals to the tune of trillions per day in real-time, the rise of social media isn’t unexpected. It’s like tossing a lit match into a pool of gasoline.”

The numbers make this clear. In 2005, about 7 percent of American adults used social media. But by 2017, 80 percent of American adults used Facebook alone. About 3.5 billion people on the planet, out of 7.7 billion, are active social media participants. Globally, during a typical day, people post 500 million tweets, share over 10 billion pieces of Facebook content, and watch over a billion hours of YouTube video.

As social media platforms have grown, though, the once-prevalent, gauzy utopian vision of online community has disappeared. Along with the benefits of easy connectivity and increased information, social media has also become a vehicle for disinformation and political attacks from beyond sovereign borders.

“Social media disrupts our elections, our economy, and our health,” says Aral, who is the David Austin Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Now Aral has written a book about it. In “The Hype Machine,” published this month by Currency, a Random House imprint, Aral details why social media platforms have become so successful yet so problematic, and suggests ways to improve them.

As Aral notes, the book covers some of the same territory as “The Social Dilemma,” a documentary that is one of the most popular films on Netflix at the moment. But Aral’s book, as he puts it, "starts where ‘The Social Dilemma’ leaves off and goes one step further to ask: What can we do about it?”

“This machine exists in every facet of our lives,” Aral says. “And the question in the book is, what do we do? How do we achieve the promise of this machine and avoid the peril? We’re at a crossroads. What we do next is essential, so I want to equip people, policymakers, and platforms to help us achieve the good outcomes and avoid the bad outcomes.”

When “engagement” equals anger

“The Hype Machine” draws on Aral’s own research about social networks, as well as other findings, from the cognitive sciences, computer science, business, politics, and more. Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, for instance, have found that people obtain bigger hits of dopamine — the chemical in our brains highly bound up with motivation and reward — when their social media posts receive more likes.

At the same time, consider a 2018 MIT study by Soroush Vosoughi, an MIT PhD student and now an assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth College; Deb Roy, MIT professor of media arts and sciences and executive director of the MIT Media Lab; and Aral, who has been studying social networking for 20 years. The three researchers found that on Twitter, from 2006 to 2017, false news stories were 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true ones. Why? Most likely because false news has greater novelty value compared to the truth, and provokes stronger reactions — especially disgust and surprise.

In this light, the essential tension surrounding social media companies is that their platforms gain audiences and revenue when posts provoke strong emotional responses, often based on dubious content.

“This is a well-designed, well-thought-out machine that has objectives it maximizes,” Aral says. “The business models that run the social-media industrial complex have a lot to do with the outcomes we’re seeing — it’s an attention economy, and businesses want you engaged. How do they get engagement? Well, they give you little dopamine hits, and … get you riled up. That’s why I call it the hype machine. We know strong emotions get us engaged, so [that favors] anger and salacious content.”

From Russia to marketing

“The Hype Machine” explores both the political implications and business dimensions of social media in depth. Certainly social media is fertile terrain for misinformation campaigns. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Russia spread  false information to at least 126 million people on Facebook and another 20 million people on Insta­gram (which Facebook owns), and was responsible for 10 million tweets. About 44 percent of adult Americans visited a false news source in the final weeks of the campaign.

“I think we need to be a lot more vigilant than we are,” says Aral.

We do not know if Russia’s efforts altered the outcome of the 2016 election, Aral says, though they may have been fairly effective. Curiously, it is not clear if the same is true of most U.S. corporate engagement efforts.

As Aral examines, digital advertising on most big U.S. online platforms is often wildly ineffective, with academic studies showing that the “lift” generated by ad campaigns — the extent to which they affect consumer action — has been overstated by a factor of hundreds, in some cases. Simply counting clicks on ads is not enough. Instead, online engagement tends to be more effective among new consumers, and when it is targeted well; in that sense, there is a parallel between good marketing and guerilla social media campaigns.

“The two questions I get asked the most these days,” Aral says, “are, one, did Russia succeed in intervening in our democracy? And two, how do I measure the ROI [return on investment] from marketing investments? As I was writing this book, I realized the answer to those two questions is the same.”

Ideas for improvement

“The Hype Machine” has received praise from many commentators. Foster Provost, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, says it is a “masterful integration of science, business, law, and policy.” Duncan Watts, a university professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says the book is “essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how we got here and how we can get somewhere better.”

In that vein, “The Hype Machine” has several detailed suggestions for improving social media. Aral favors automated and user-generated labeling of false news, and limiting revenue-collection that is based on false content. He also calls for firms to help scholars better research the issue of election interference.

Aral believes federal privacy measures could be useful, if we learn from the benefits and missteps of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and a new California law that lets consumers stop some data-sharing and allows people to find out what information companies have stored about them. He does not endorse breaking up Facebook, and suggests instead that the social media economy needs structural reform. He calls for data portability and interoperability, so “consumers would own their identities and could freely switch from one network to another.” Aral believes that without such fundamental changes, new platforms will simply replace the old ones, propelled by the network effects that drive the social-media economy.

“I do not advocate any one silver bullet,” says Aral, who emphasizes that changes in four areas together — money, code, norms, and laws — can alter the trajectory of the social media industry.

But if things continue without change, Aral adds, Facebook and the other social media giants risk substantial civic backlash and user burnout.

“If you get me angry and riled up, I might click more in the short term, but I might also grow really tired and annoyed by how this is making my life miserable, and I might turn you off entirely,” Aral observes. “I mean, that’s why we have a Delete Facebook movement, that’s why we have a Stop Hate for Profit movement. People are pushing back against the short-term vision, and I think we need to embrace this longer-term vision of a healthier communications ecosystem.”

Changing the social media giants can seem like a tall order. Still, Aral says, these firms are not necessarily destined for domination.

“I don’t think this technology or any other technology has some deterministic endpoint,” Aral says. “I want to bring us back to a more practical reality, which is that technology is what we make it, and we are abdicating our responsibility to steer technology toward good and away from bad. That is the path I try to illuminate in this book.”

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Press mentions.

Prof. Sinan Aral’s new book, “The Hype Machine,” has been selected as one of the best books of the year about AI by Wired . Gilad Edelman notes that Aral’s book is “an engagingly written shortcut to expertise on what the likes of Facebook and Twitter are doing to our brains and our society.”

Prof. Sinan Aral speaks with Danny Crichton of TechCrunch about his new book, “The Hype Machine,” which explores the future of social media. Aral notes that he believes a starting point “for solving the social media crisis is creating competition in the social media economy.” 

New York Times

Prof. Sinan Aral speaks with New York Times editorial board member Greg Bensinger about how social media platforms can reduce the spread of misinformation. “Human-in-the-loop moderation is the right solution,” says Aral. “It’s not a simple silver bullet, but it would give accountability where these companies have in the past blamed software.”

Prof. Sinan Aral speaks with Kara Miller of GBH’s Innovation Hub about his research examining the impact of social media on everything from business re-openings during the Covid-19 pandemic to politics.

Prof. Sinan Aral speaks with NPR’s Michael Martin about his new book, “The Hype Machine,” which explores the benefits and downfalls posed by social media. “I've been researching social media for 20 years. I've seen its evolution and also the techno utopianism and dystopianism,” says Aral. “I thought it was appropriate to have a book that asks, 'what can we do to really fix the social media morass we find ourselves in?'”

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A new study co-authored by MIT Professor David Rand shows that labeling some news stories as false makes all other news stories seem more legitimate online.

The catch to putting warning labels on fake news

“When people are consuming news on social media, their inclination to share that news with others interferes with their ability to assess its accuracy, according to a new study co-authored by MIT researchers.”

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MIT Professor Regina Barzilay (left) and CSAIL PhD student Tal Schuster are studying detectors of machine-generated text.

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Pictured (left to right): Seated, Soroush Vosoughi, a postdoc at the Media Lab's Laboratory for Social Machines; Sinan Aral, the David Austin Professor of Management at MIT Sloan; and Deb Roy, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, who also served as Twitter's Chief Media Scientist from 2013 to 2017.

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6 Example Essays on Social Media | Advantages, Effects, and Outlines

Got an essay assignment about the effects of social media we got you covered check out our examples and outlines below.

Social media has become one of our society's most prominent ways of communication and information sharing in a very short time. It has changed how we communicate and has given us a platform to express our views and opinions and connect with others. It keeps us informed about the world around us. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have brought individuals from all over the world together, breaking down geographical borders and fostering a genuinely global community.

However, social media comes with its difficulties. With the rise of misinformation, cyberbullying, and privacy problems, it's critical to utilize these platforms properly and be aware of the risks. Students in the academic world are frequently assigned essays about the impact of social media on numerous elements of our lives, such as relationships, politics, and culture. These essays necessitate a thorough comprehension of the subject matter, critical thinking, and the ability to synthesize and convey information clearly and succinctly.

But where do you begin? It can be challenging to know where to start with so much information available. Jenni.ai comes in handy here. Jenni.ai is an AI application built exclusively for students to help them write essays more quickly and easily. Jenni.ai provides students with inspiration and assistance on how to approach their essays with its enormous database of sample essays on a variety of themes, including social media. Jenni.ai is the solution you've been looking for if you're experiencing writer's block or need assistance getting started.

So, whether you're a student looking to better your essay writing skills or want to remain up to date on the latest social media advancements, Jenni.ai is here to help. Jenni.ai is the ideal tool for helping you write your finest essay ever, thanks to its simple design, an extensive database of example essays, and cutting-edge AI technology. So, why delay? Sign up for a free trial of Jenni.ai today and begin exploring the worlds of social networking and essay writing!

Want to learn how to write an argumentative essay? Check out these inspiring examples!

We will provide various examples of social media essays so you may get a feel for the genre.

6 Examples of Social Media Essays

Here are 6 examples of Social Media Essays:

The Impact of Social Media on Relationships and Communication

Introduction:.

The way we share information and build relationships has evolved as a direct result of the prevalence of social media in our daily lives. The influence of social media on interpersonal connections and conversation is a hot topic. Although social media has many positive effects, such as bringing people together regardless of physical proximity and making communication quicker and more accessible, it also has a dark side that can affect interpersonal connections and dialogue.

Positive Effects:

Connecting People Across Distances

One of social media's most significant benefits is its ability to connect individuals across long distances. People can use social media platforms to interact and stay in touch with friends and family far away. People can now maintain intimate relationships with those they care about, even when physically separated.

Improved Communication Speed and Efficiency

Additionally, the proliferation of social media sites has accelerated and simplified communication. Thanks to instant messaging, users can have short, timely conversations rather than lengthy ones via email. Furthermore, social media facilitates group communication, such as with classmates or employees, by providing a unified forum for such activities.

Negative Effects:

Decreased Face-to-Face Communication

The decline in in-person interaction is one of social media's most pernicious consequences on interpersonal connections and dialogue. People's reliance on digital communication over in-person contact has increased along with the popularity of social media. Face-to-face interaction has suffered as a result, which has adverse effects on interpersonal relationships and the development of social skills.

Decreased Emotional Intimacy

Another adverse effect of social media on relationships and communication is decreased emotional intimacy. Digital communication lacks the nonverbal cues and facial expressions critical in building emotional connections with others. This can make it more difficult for people to develop close and meaningful relationships, leading to increased loneliness and isolation.

Increased Conflict and Miscommunication

Finally, social media can also lead to increased conflict and miscommunication. The anonymity and distance provided by digital communication can lead to misunderstandings and hurtful comments that might not have been made face-to-face. Additionally, social media can provide a platform for cyberbullying, which can have severe consequences for the victim's mental health and well-being.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the impact of social media on relationships and communication is a complex issue with both positive and negative effects. While social media platforms offer many benefits, such as connecting people across distances and enabling faster and more accessible communication, they also have a dark side that can negatively affect relationships and communication. It is up to individuals to use social media responsibly and to prioritize in-person communication in their relationships and interactions with others.

The Role of Social Media in the Spread of Misinformation and Fake News

Social media has revolutionized the way information is shared and disseminated. However, the ease and speed at which data can be spread on social media also make it a powerful tool for spreading misinformation and fake news. Misinformation and fake news can seriously affect public opinion, influence political decisions, and even cause harm to individuals and communities.

The Pervasiveness of Misinformation and Fake News on Social Media

Misinformation and fake news are prevalent on social media platforms, where they can spread quickly and reach a large audience. This is partly due to the way social media algorithms work, which prioritizes content likely to generate engagement, such as sensational or controversial stories. As a result, false information can spread rapidly and be widely shared before it is fact-checked or debunked.

The Influence of Social Media on Public Opinion

Social media can significantly impact public opinion, as people are likelier to believe the information they see shared by their friends and followers. This can lead to a self-reinforcing cycle, where misinformation and fake news are spread and reinforced, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

The Challenge of Correcting Misinformation and Fake News

Correcting misinformation and fake news on social media can be a challenging task. This is partly due to the speed at which false information can spread and the difficulty of reaching the same audience exposed to the wrong information in the first place. Additionally, some individuals may be resistant to accepting correction, primarily if the incorrect information supports their beliefs or biases.

In conclusion, the function of social media in disseminating misinformation and fake news is complex and urgent. While social media has revolutionized the sharing of information, it has also made it simpler for false information to propagate and be widely believed. Individuals must be accountable for the information they share and consume, and social media firms must take measures to prevent the spread of disinformation and fake news on their platforms.

The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health and Well-Being

Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of people around the world using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay connected with others and access information. However, while social media has many benefits, it can also negatively affect mental health and well-being.

Comparison and Low Self-Esteem

One of the key ways that social media can affect mental health is by promoting feelings of comparison and low self-esteem. People often present a curated version of their lives on social media, highlighting their successes and hiding their struggles. This can lead others to compare themselves unfavorably, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Cyberbullying and Online Harassment

Another way that social media can negatively impact mental health is through cyberbullying and online harassment. Social media provides a platform for anonymous individuals to harass and abuse others, leading to feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.

Social Isolation

Despite its name, social media can also contribute to feelings of isolation. At the same time, people may have many online friends but need more meaningful in-person connections and support. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.

Addiction and Overuse

Finally, social media can be addictive, leading to overuse and negatively impacting mental health and well-being. People may spend hours each day scrolling through their feeds, neglecting other important areas of their lives, such as work, family, and self-care.

In sum, social media has positive and negative consequences on one's psychological and emotional well-being. Realizing this, and taking measures like reducing one's social media use, reaching out to loved ones for help, and prioritizing one's well-being, are crucial. In addition, it's vital that social media giants take ownership of their platforms and actively encourage excellent mental health and well-being.

The Use of Social Media in Political Activism and Social Movements

Social media has recently become increasingly crucial in political action and social movements. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have given people new ways to express themselves, organize protests, and raise awareness about social and political issues.

Raising Awareness and Mobilizing Action

One of the most important uses of social media in political activity and social movements has been to raise awareness about important issues and mobilize action. Hashtags such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, for example, have brought attention to sexual harassment and racial injustice, respectively. Similarly, social media has been used to organize protests and other political actions, allowing people to band together and express themselves on a bigger scale.

Connecting with like-minded individuals

A second method in that social media has been utilized in political activity and social movements is to unite like-minded individuals. Through social media, individuals can join online groups, share knowledge and resources, and work with others to accomplish shared objectives. This has been especially significant for geographically scattered individuals or those without access to traditional means of political organizing.

Challenges and Limitations

As a vehicle for political action and social movements, social media has faced many obstacles and restrictions despite its many advantages. For instance, the propagation of misinformation and fake news on social media can impede attempts to disseminate accurate and reliable information. In addition, social media corporations have been condemned for censorship and insufficient protection of user rights.

In conclusion, social media has emerged as a potent instrument for political activism and social movements, giving voice to previously unheard communities and galvanizing support for change. Social media presents many opportunities for communication and collaboration. Still, users and institutions must be conscious of the risks and limitations of these tools to promote their responsible and productive usage.

The Potential Privacy Concerns Raised by Social Media Use and Data Collection Practices

With billions of users each day on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, social media has ingrained itself into every aspect of our lives. While these platforms offer a straightforward method to communicate with others and exchange information, they also raise significant concerns over data collecting and privacy. This article will examine the possible privacy issues posed by social media use and data-gathering techniques.

Data Collection and Sharing

The gathering and sharing of personal data are significant privacy issues brought up by social media use. Social networking sites gather user data, including details about their relationships, hobbies, and routines. This information is made available to third-party businesses for various uses, such as marketing and advertising. This can lead to serious concerns about who has access to and uses our personal information.

Lack of Control Over Personal Information

The absence of user control over personal information is a significant privacy issue brought up by social media usage. Social media makes it challenging to limit who has access to and how data is utilized once it has been posted. Sensitive information may end up being extensively disseminated and may be used maliciously as a result.

Personalized Marketing

Social media companies utilize the information they gather about users to target them with adverts relevant to their interests and usage patterns. Although this could be useful, it might also cause consumers to worry about their privacy since they might feel that their personal information is being used without their permission. Furthermore, there are issues with the integrity of the data being used to target users and the possibility of prejudice based on individual traits.

Government Surveillance

Using social media might spark worries about government surveillance. There are significant concerns regarding privacy and free expression when governments in some nations utilize social media platforms to follow and monitor residents.

In conclusion, social media use raises significant concerns regarding data collecting and privacy. While these platforms make it easy to interact with people and exchange information, they also gather a lot of personal information, which raises questions about who may access it and how it will be used. Users should be aware of these privacy issues and take precautions to safeguard their personal information, such as exercising caution when choosing what details to disclose on social media and keeping their information sharing with other firms to a minimum.

The Ethical and Privacy Concerns Surrounding Social Media Use And Data Collection

Our use of social media to communicate with loved ones, acquire information, and even conduct business has become a crucial part of our everyday lives. The extensive use of social media does, however, raise some ethical and privacy issues that must be resolved. The influence of social media use and data collecting on user rights, the accountability of social media businesses, and the need for improved regulation are all topics that will be covered in this article.

Effect on Individual Privacy:

Social networking sites gather tons of personal data from their users, including delicate information like search history, location data, and even health data. Each user's detailed profile may be created with this data and sold to advertising or used for other reasons. Concerns regarding the privacy of personal information might arise because social media businesses can use this data to target users with customized adverts.

Additionally, individuals might need to know how much their personal information is being gathered and exploited. Data breaches or the unauthorized sharing of personal information with other parties may result in instances where sensitive information is exposed. Users should be aware of the privacy rules of social media firms and take precautions to secure their data.

Responsibility of Social Media Companies:

Social media firms should ensure that they responsibly and ethically gather and use user information. This entails establishing strong security measures to safeguard sensitive information and ensuring users are informed of what information is being collected and how it is used.

Many social media businesses, nevertheless, have come under fire for not upholding these obligations. For instance, the Cambridge Analytica incident highlighted how Facebook users' personal information was exploited for political objectives without their knowledge. This demonstrates the necessity of social media corporations being held responsible for their deeds and ensuring that they are safeguarding the security and privacy of their users.

Better Regulation Is Needed

There is a need for tighter regulation in this field, given the effect, social media has on individual privacy as well as the obligations of social media firms. The creation of laws and regulations that ensure social media companies are gathering and using user information ethically and responsibly, as well as making sure users are aware of their rights and have the ability to control the information that is being collected about them, are all part of this.

Additionally, legislation should ensure that social media businesses are held responsible for their behavior, for example, by levying fines for data breaches or the unauthorized use of personal data. This will provide social media businesses with a significant incentive to prioritize their users' privacy and security and ensure they are upholding their obligations.

In conclusion, social media has fundamentally changed how we engage and communicate with one another, but this increased convenience also raises several ethical and privacy issues. Essential concerns that need to be addressed include the effect of social media on individual privacy, the accountability of social media businesses, and the requirement for greater regulation to safeguard user rights. We can make everyone's online experience safer and more secure by looking more closely at these issues.

In conclusion, social media is a complex and multifaceted topic that has recently captured the world's attention. With its ever-growing influence on our lives, it's no surprise that it has become a popular subject for students to explore in their writing. Whether you are writing an argumentative essay on the impact of social media on privacy, a persuasive essay on the role of social media in politics, or a descriptive essay on the changes social media has brought to the way we communicate, there are countless angles to approach this subject.

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Essay on the Importance of Social Media Today

Social media is an essential aspect of our life Today. Unlike in the past years, life has become more interesting with the invention of Technology, which led to social media. With the provision of the Internet, social media is tremendously growing in broader perspectives. Many people across the world consume social media, but a significant percentage are young people. Examples of social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Emails (Jeesmitha, 2019). Although it has its and pros and cons, the benefits supersede the disadvantages. Therefore, this essay seeks to highlight the Importance of social media in our lives Today, for example, it has enhanced business, improved social interaction, and digitized communication.

Marketing is an integral part of a successful business. As a business person, I can advertise and sell my services on my Facebook and Instagram pages. The targeted followers become potential customers. Customers communicate to me directly via messenger, and I can get to them instantly. Through social media, one can recognize which companies to partner with and which brands are suitable to work with for the growth of the business. Networking in business is essential. Entrepreneurs support each other in advertising and exchanging business ideas (Pourkhani et al., 2019). Selling products a buying from other online stores such as Ali Baba and Amazon is easy. Shop and Ship is also an application website that delivers products anywhere in the world. Conferences and meetings can be held virtually through webinars and zoom. Social media has created employment, such as social media managers and social media influencers.

In my social life, social media is a tool for interaction. By posting pictures, sharing personal information, and posting trendy issues, there is an interaction of people from different walks of life (Jeesemitha, 2019). On the Agenda setting, campaigns, and activism, Twitter gives a platform for many people to participate through slogans and hashtags, which starts as a simple statement that can go a long way to having international attention. TED Talks are now a norm. Watching and listening to Ted talk events online has positively influenced my way of thinking on different topical issues. Netflix offers a platform to access top-rated movies, shows, and documentaries produced worldwide; one needs to have Internet and a subscription.

Communication has been enhanced through social media. Personally, social media has helped me in beautiful ways. For instance, in streaming live videos and news worldwide at the comfort of where I am. News agencies and organizations update crucial information on their websites, thus getting information as soon as it happens. Blogging is necessary for me as I love to put down my thoughts and express ideas, thus reaching millions of people. It is a platform that sometimes works as a marketing tool for my products or any other business Affiliate. In addition, Stories, Books, and Memoirs from authors can be accessed on social media platforms, and For the Booklovers, once an author releases new work, one can know when to be launched, the charges and can read as a soft copy. Recently podcasts have been growing at a fast rate. It is a means of communication, and many people are venturing into it. In the case of inspirational talks, a podcast is the best medium for me as online radio. I listen to it in my own free time.

To sum up, social media plays a vital role in modern life Today. Information Technology has created a niche for social media advancement. Electronics such as computers, tablets, and smartphones with the accessibility of the Internet has made social media easier for its users. It has now revolutionized our life as Human beings, and it is a necessity in almost every aspect of life, for instance, in business, education, communication, and entertainment.

Jeesmitha, P. S., & CA, M. C. (2019). The Impact of social media.  International Journal of .

Pourkhani, A., Abdipour, K., Baher, B., & Moslehpour, M. (2019). The Impact of social media in business growth and performance: A scientometrics analysis.  International Journal of Data and Network Science ,  3 (3), 223-244.

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Some people argue that internet-based lectures is better type of lectures. The other tend to believe that university-based lecture is still needed. Explain both side of the view and give your opinion.

Women and men are commonly seen as having different strengths and weaknesses. is it right to exclude males or females from certain professions because of their gender, some people think that the best way to reduce crime is to give longer prison sentences. others, however, believe there are better alternative ways of reducing crimes” discuss both views and give your opinion., many today feel that attention spans are becoming shorter due to the prevalence of social media. to what extent do you agree or disagree, some people think that offenders should be put in prison. others, however, believe that providing offenders with education and training is more effective than putting them in prison. discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

  • Social Media

Social Media Essay

500 + words essay on social media.

Social media is a prevalent medium in today’s scenario because of its ability to transfer information and communicate with people worldwide using an internet connection. We have seen how social media platforms make it easier for people spread across the globe to connect.

However, it is still a matter of debate if social media is a bone or a bane for us, despite its user-friendly features. In this social media essay, we can look at the impacts of social media, its advantages and disadvantages and more.

Introduction to Social Media Essay

It is seen that over the past few years, social media has developed tremendously and has captured millions of users worldwide. Referring to this social media essay in English is the best way for students to learn about the pros and cons of social media. If they are preparing for the board exam, they will also find the ‘Impact of Social Media Essay ’ a beneficial topic. They can prepare themselves for the board exams by reading this short social media essay.

Impact of Social Media

Currently, social media is a lot more than just blogging or posting pictures. As the reach of social media is far and high, it goes beyond impressing people to impacting or influencing them with the help of these vital tools. However, a wide range of people believe that social media has negatively impacted human relationships.

Human interaction has also deteriorated because of it. Nevertheless, social media also has a positive effect. It enables us to connect with our family and friends globally while even sending out security warnings. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of social media to know more about the pros and cons.

Pros of Social Media

Reading through the advantages of social media is the best way to learn about its positive aspects. We can learn a lot with its help, thus enabling society’s social development. We can also quickly gain information and news via social media. It is a great tool that is used to create awareness about social evils or reform. It is also a good platform that reduces the distance between loved ones and brings them closer. Another advantage is that it is a good platform for young aspirants to showcase their knowledge and skills. At the same time, companies use social media to promote their brand and services/products.

Cons of Social Media

Psychiatrists believe that social media impacts a person negatively. Social media is also considered to be one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety in society. Students may get distracted from their studies due to addiction to social media. Spending too much time on social media may result in poor academic performance. Lack of privacy is another evil effect of social media. Social media users are also very vulnerable to hacking, identity theft, phishing crimes and other cyber crimes.

Thus, in conclusion, we can say that we have to be diligent while using social media . We should use our discretion while using social media, thus balancing our social life with our studies, work, family, and social media use.

Also Read: Woman Empowerment | Republic Day Essay | Essay On Constitution of India

Frequently Asked Questions on Social Media Essay

How can we balance the pros and cons of social media.

1. Spend a limited amount of time on social media.

2. Avoid getting addicted to entertainment channels.

3. Use social media for better communication and to spread social messages.

What is one of the unseen cons of social media?

One of the unseen cons of social media is that the content that we post/send online is getting stored somewhere at the backend even after its deletion. This fact must be kept in mind before using any social media app.

How can students get benefitted from Social media?

There are numerous apps and web pages where essential information is available not only regarding academics but also about extracurricular activities. Students can highly benefit from social media if they use it in a proper way with adult guidance.

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Essay on Social Media for School Students and Children

500+ words essay on social media.

Social media is a tool that is becoming quite popular these days because of its user-friendly features. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more are giving people a chance to connect with each other across distances. In other words, the whole world is at our fingertips all thanks to social media. The youth is especially one of the most dominant users of social media. All this makes you wonder that something so powerful and with such a massive reach cannot be all good. Like how there are always two sides to a coin, the same goes for social media. Subsequently, different people have different opinions on this debatable topic. So, in this essay on Social Media, we will see the advantages and disadvantages of social media.

Essay on Social Media

Advantages of Social Media

When we look at the positive aspect of social media, we find numerous advantages. The most important being a great device for education . All the information one requires is just a click away. Students can educate themselves on various topics using social media.

Moreover, live lectures are now possible because of social media. You can attend a lecture happening in America while sitting in India.

Furthermore, as more and more people are distancing themselves from newspapers, they are depending on social media for news. You are always updated on the latest happenings of the world through it. A person becomes more socially aware of the issues of the world.

In addition, it strengthens bonds with your loved ones. Distance is not a barrier anymore because of social media. For instance, you can easily communicate with your friends and relatives overseas.

Most importantly, it also provides a great platform for young budding artists to showcase their talent for free. You can get great opportunities for employment through social media too.

Another advantage definitely benefits companies who wish to promote their brands. Social media has become a hub for advertising and offers you great opportunities for connecting with the customer.

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Disadvantages of Social Media

Despite having such unique advantages, social media is considered to be one of the most harmful elements of society. If the use of social media is not monitored, it can lead to grave consequences.

media nowadays essay

Thus, the sharing on social media especially by children must be monitored at all times. Next up is the addition of social media which is quite common amongst the youth.

This addiction hampers with the academic performance of a student as they waste their time on social media instead of studying. Social media also creates communal rifts. Fake news is spread with the use of it, which poisons the mind of peace-loving citizens.

In short, surely social media has both advantages and disadvantages. But, it all depends on the user at the end. The youth must particularly create a balance between their academic performances, physical activities, and social media. Excess use of anything is harmful and the same thing applies to social media. Therefore, we must strive to live a satisfying life with the right balance.

media nowadays essay

FAQs on Social Media

Q.1 Is social media beneficial? If yes, then how?

A.1 Social media is quite beneficial. Social Media offers information, news, educational material, a platform for talented youth and brands.

Q.2 What is a disadvantage of Social Media?

A.2 Social media invades your privacy. It makes you addicted and causes health problems. It also results in cyberbullying and scams as well as communal hatred.

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Role Of Social Media Before And Today

media nowadays essay

Show More Social Media Before and Nowadays There are many different forms of social media in this generation. Back in the days when there was no technology, our lives were very simple and basic. Now, It is very rare to see anyone under the age of 30 that hasn 't had used or been a part of any form of social media account. Although networks on a personal level have changed our society and have changed the way we go about our daily lives. Social Media can be a true distraction and a time waster. For example, before when there was no technology, everyone used to communicate with each other. This shows that there was more time to connect with more people face to face. This also shows that there was a greater sense of relationships between families …show more content… Firstly, back to the 90s when there was no Facebook or any type of social media, our lives were based on letters. This exemplifies that people used to send pictures to their relatives to show them their kids. To clarify this point it shows that people wouldn’t share their lives with anyone only for their families or friends. Secondly, “mistakes become public knowledge that no longer may be forgotten” (Zay). This evidence confirms that a little mistake you make won’t disappear because once it’s on the public; it’s never going to be forgotten. Also, when people see you around they would just talk about it and gossip. However, “These mistakes can min a person 's reputation and affect acceptance into college, all the way to trying to find a job” (Zay). This reveals that if you have everything on Facebook public it would be hard for you to find a job because your future boss might go to your Facebook account before interviewing you and look over your page. This also relevant because you should have your account always private or otherwise everyone would see what you have shared. To sum up, people should have their social media private and share few things with …show more content… Back in the days there wasn’t an alternative forum to post pictures or cyber bully. This shows that people were nicer to each other and respected each other. Also, they didn’t have a way to bully or harass others. Initially, “I see other 20-somethings feeling pressured to constantly keep up a public image, especially a cyber-public image” (MH&H). This explains why social media is bad because people post pictures of themselves and others make fun of them. This is important because people nowadays have nothing to do just be on social media and put negative comments on people. Another fact about bullying is that “The cyber-styling has seeped into online dating, too, leading to what Marina Adshade, an economist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, calls beauty inflation.” This is important because it shows how people don’t have any confident to show their real beauty. This is also important because when people date online they see the fake pictures of people they are talking to, and when they meet in real life they get tricked because they are not the same ones in the picture due to using the apps to change them. Overall, there should be no cyber bullying because it affects people emotionally and mentally. In conclusion, social media could be a bad influence because you give all your attention to it. Back in the days, people used to have a better life easy and simple. Now, Students may fail their schools because of social media

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In a time when society is more egocentric than ever, people must resist or conform to a form of life that revolves strongly around knowing what everybody is doing all the time through social media platforms. Ms. Ham and Mr. Standage focus on how trends draw people out of their normal social interactions and into a world that seemingly revolves around themselves (We Shall Overshare, Mary Ham 280). Their focus upon the false sense of attention that people get from sharing about themselves shows how the audience in each article should be able to relate to this kind of situation. The world that people live in today is full of self-centered beings that seek only to grab attention for themselves and distancing themselves from their friends and family…

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Role Of Media in Nowadays Society

Role Of Media in Nowadays Society

Media today as a whol

e involves more than one aspect to be dealt with. Media forms an integral part of the lives of all. The world of media is irrespective of age and outlook as well as regardless of nationality and creed. In the media industry, limitations are limited! The media sector is estimated to be one of the most expansive and booming industries. It is by now absolutely clear that, media persons play the noteworthy job of letting the masses know what is happening round the world and that too within minutes of the outbreak.

The Internet or the web media is one of the newest a

nd largest forms of mass communication given that it has no precincts; it is available uniformly throughout the world. It is unquestionable that one of the most sought after career options today is that of becoming media persons. There is a beeline to join the media as it is one of those rare sectors where the youth can find respite from the conventional fields of medicine and engineering and at the same time avoid being classified as wayward.

The media indeed is an imminent and promising feature of the present day. It is a limitless world of opportunities both for the populace looking for jobs in it, and the ones looking to make the most of it to raise voices against wrong doings.

Media also encompasses cinema and entertainment, although the larger part of it involves news and journalism. Since times immemorial, a forum or platform to raise support and awareness against what is unacceptable was being hunted. Mass media in the form of newspapers and television proved to be the right medium. The role of media in the society is not unknown and is absolutely undeniable.

The youth undoubtedly forms a fundamental part of

a civilization which is evinced by the fact that more often than not it is the youth that leads a protest against an objectionable act. The importance of media and the youth’s association with it is an integral one. The youngsters make proper use of the.

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media nowadays essay

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Essay on Media

Media nowadays have become very important to the world, it is an important factor when a message needs to be delivered all over the country and is considered to be an important pillar of society. Just like everything it also has some great positive impacts on the society as well as some negative impacts.

People that works in this field sacrifice their lives in a manner as they risk their life by going to some incident places where there is a danger towards their life but they still go and deliver the people with all the information be it earth quakes, floods and protests.

We can see the example of that if we look at the recent incident of Palestine, media was there to cover all the information by putting their life at risk, as we all know no one would want to go there just by looking at all the massacre but media went their and shared with us all the information that we got.

Media gives people especially women some leverage that they can learn how to cook through various channels that the media provides us with. Women get important health tips from some of the channels and even when it comes to education we can learn it through media.

Media has grown so much and holds so much power that it can even criticize the government and what they do right or wrong. They cover all the political topics on some news channels and shows us about all that the government does.

Media has been playing an important role in strengthening the society by even exposing some famous corrupt people on the media and never cares about the consequences that they may face later. Media spreads awareness, happiness and promotes the traditions and cultures of a country.

The power, role, advantages, disadvantages and importance of media can never be denied because we live in a society where all the information is needed for the people to take right decisions. Media is the most powerful these days and it has the power to change people’s perspective about some issues.

Today everyone’s life revolves around media. Every individual has a television in their homes, every morning people watch news channels to get the information about what is happening in the world while having breakfast and some people read newspapers.

Media provide us with many types of information such as health industry, politics, science, weather, geography, entertainment and fashion. Politics and entertainment are shown mostly on the televisions so they have the most focus of media.

Media consists of two types, first is print media and the other is electronic media. Newspapers, books and magazines comes under the print media whereas television and radio come under electronic media.

Media keeps us up to date about everything that has been happening in the world, without it we may have been left far behind in this race we call life but media should also think about people before exaggerating some issues just to gain more audience.

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Guest Essay

I’m a Neuroscientist. We’re Thinking About Biden’s Memory and Age in the Wrong Way.

President Biden seated in a chair holding a stack of what looks like index cards.

By Charan Ranganath

Dr. Ranganath is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California, Davis, and the author of the forthcoming book “Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold On to What Matters.”

The special counsel Robert K. Hur’s report, in which he declined to prosecute President Biden for his handling of classified documents, also included a much-debated assessment of Mr. Biden’s cognitive abilities.

“Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

As an expert on memory, I can assure you that everyone forgets. In fact, most of the details of our lives — the people we meet, the things we do and the places we go — will inevitably be reduced to memories that capture only a small fraction of those experiences.

It is normal to be more forgetful as you get older. Generally, memory functions begin to decline in our 30s and continue to fade into old age. However, age in and of itself doesn’t indicate the presence of memory deficits that would affect an individual’s ability to perform in a demanding leadership role. And an apparent memory lapse may or may not be consequential, depending on the reasons it occurred.

There is forgetting, and there is Forgetting. If you’re over the age of 40, you’ve most likely experienced the frustration of trying to grasp that slippery word on the tip of your tongue. Colloquially, this might be described as forgetting, but most memory scientists would call this retrieval failure, meaning that the memory is there but we just can’t pull it up when we need it. On the other hand, Forgetting (with a capital F) is when a memory is seemingly lost or gone altogether. Inattentively conflating the names of the leaders of two countries would fall in the first category, whereas being unable to remember that you had ever met the president of Egypt would fall into the second.

Over the course of typical aging, we see changes in the functioning of the prefrontal cortex, a brain area that plays a starring role in many of our day-to-day memory successes and failures. These changes mean that as we get older, we tend to be more distractible and often struggle to pull up words or names we’re looking for. Remembering events takes longer, and it requires more effort, and we can’t catch errors as quickly as we used to. This translates to a lot more forgetting and a little more Forgetting.

Many of the special counsel’s observations about Mr. Biden’s memory seem to fall in the category of forgetting, meaning that they are more indicative of a problem with finding the right information from memory than Forgetting. Calling up the date that an event occurred, like the last year of Mr. Biden’s vice presidency or the year of his son’s death, is a complex measure of memory. Remembering that an event took place is different from being able to put a date on when it happened, which is more challenging with increased age. The president very likely has many memories, even though he could not immediately pull up dates in the stressful (and more immediately pressing) context of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Other “memory” issues highlighted in the media are not so much cases of forgetting as they are of difficulties in the articulation of facts and knowledge. For instance, in July 2023, Mr. Biden mistakenly stated in a speech that “we have over 100 people dead,” when he should have said, “over one million.” He has struggled with a stutter since childhood, and research suggests that managing a stutter demands prefrontal resources that would normally enable people to find the right word or at least quickly correct errors after the fact.

Americans are understandably concerned about the advanced age of the two top contenders in the coming presidential election (Mr. Biden is 81, and Donald Trump is 77), although some of these concerns are rooted in cultural stereotypes and fears around aging. The fact is that there is a huge degree of variability in cognitive aging. Age is, on average, associated with decreased memory, but studies that follow up the same person over several years have shown that although some older adults show precipitous declines over time, other super-agers remain as sharp as ever.

Mr. Biden is the same age as Harrison Ford, Paul McCartney and Martin Scorsese. He’s also a bit younger than Jane Fonda (86) and a lot younger than the Berkshire Hathaway C.E.O., Warren Buffett (93). All these individuals are considered to be at the top of their professions, and yet I would not be surprised if they are more forgetful and absent-minded than when they were younger. In other words, an individual’s age does not say anything definitive about the person’s cognitive status or where it will head in the near future.

I can’t speak to the cognitive status of any of the presidential candidates, but I can say that, rather than focus on candidates’ ages per se, we should consider whether they have the capabilities to do the job. Public perception of a person’s cognitive state is often determined by superficial factors, such as physical presence, confidence and verbal fluency, but these aren’t necessarily relevant to one’s capacity to make consequential decisions about the fate of this country. Memory is surely relevant, but other characteristics, such as knowledge of the relevant facts and emotion regulation — both of which are relatively preserved and might even improve with age — are likely to be of equal or greater importance.

Ultimately, we are due for a national conversation about what we should expect in terms of the cognitive and emotional health of our leaders.

And that should be informed by science, not politics.

Charan Ranganath is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California, Davis, and the author of “ Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold On to What Matters .”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .

media nowadays essay

Presidents Day 2024 is coming up—here's how to enjoy the long weekend

Plus, everything to know about the holiday.

Low angle of Mount Rushmore

Updated February 16, 2024

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When is presidents day 2024.

Presidents Day is observed annually on the third Monday of February. This year, it falls on Monday, February 19 . Since the latest date a third Monday of February can fall on is the 21st, ironically, Presidents Day is never observed on the day it commemorates, which is George Washington's birthday on February 22.

What is Presidents Day?

In moving the date away from George Washington’s birthday, many have begun using the day to honor other presidents as well, including Abraham Lincoln, in particular, whose February 12th birthday can actually fall on Presidents Day. This push to use the day to observe both presidents' birthdays is where the colloquial name "Presidents Day" comes from.

Ways to celebrate Presidents Day 2024

Learn about presidents of the past.

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Cozy up under a weighted blanket.

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Beat the chill with some soothing tea.

Cozy up on the couch with countless shows and movies at your fingertips. Amazon Prime Video has a vast catalog for you to explore, whether you’re watching solo or looking for something the whole family can enjoy. Several movies available are even related to Presidents Day— Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter , anyone?

Enjoy the weather

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Shop Presidents Day 2024 sales

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