Media Today Post – Why it is important to study media.

Media itself is an Umbrella term given to cover many areas of our day to day lives. Both old and new media fall under the Media category. Our lives are so saturated with media that in a study by Ofcom they found. 45% of our waking hours are spent watching TV, texting on our mobiles and using other communication devices.

Web 2.0 consists of new media technologies, such as mobiles, the internet, satellites and so on. This means that audiences can receive and more importantly send up-to-date information, to various media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube or Twitter from where ever in the world they may be. Examples of old media’s tools are newspapers, radios, journals. These restrict the audience’s involvement with regards to feedback and are often out of date in comparison.

New media has seen the creation of new and expanding markets with regards to social networking and advertising among others. The trademark symbols for the large networking sites have become as recognisable as the golden arches of McDonald’s; this shows the rapid growth of companies in the media world. Facebook went from having 1 million active users in December 2004 to having 750 million in July 2011.

Web 2.0 has resulted in the profile holder (audience) to also form the text (every post they create). Although the posts may be amateur, the inquisitiveness of the other users related facilitates the existence of networking sites.

Studying media lets you see different points of view. It enables you to question the source, think of it from a different angle. Humans are gullible; the Loch Ness monster is a fine example of this. In a photo taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson in (1934) it is easy to see the culprit monster; however in 1990 the photo was revealed to be a fake. This shows the effect mass media can have on audiences ‘Media studies allows you to gauge upon wider theories and additional thinkers’ (Anon).

Analysing these theories as well as the psychological effects is fascinating. In a study by Professor of Psychology Craig Anderson, he ‘proves conclusively that violent video game play makes more aggressive kids’. (2010) his study covered over 130,000 subjects worldwide and shows the severity of mass media perception.

The importance of understanding the wider context of the power that media corporations have, are seen when you look at which companies influence their presence. General Electric which was founded in 1892 starting out, in the light manufacturing business and has now evolved to become one of the largest Media Giants, it ‘Wholly owns and operates NBC’ with a ‘49%share in the NBCUniversal. Marxists would draw a comparison between the powers of GE related to the ‘capitalist owning class of the bourgeoisie‘ Williams.,(2003).

Understanding how this has affected the audience gives us an advantage as media students. ‘Our lives have become digital… our friends now virtual… and everything you could ever want to know is just a click away’ (2011). Limitless second hand information viewed at the confines of our home. Media knowledge will pay dividends, in a continually changing world.

References.

Burton, G.,(2004). Media and Society :Critical Perspectives. Open University Press.

O’Sullivian, T., et al.,(2003). Studying the media. 3rd Edition. Hodder Arnold.

McCandless, D.,(2009). Information is Beautiful. Harper Collins.

Williams, K.,(2003). Understanding Media Theory. Bloomsbury.

Rice, T.,(2011) The Art of Flight. Film Brain Farm Digital Cinema. Directed by Curt Morgan. RedBull Media House

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