Does the Media Shape Our Life?
Ladies and gentlemen, I will prove to you that although media has pervaded many aspects of modern society, it has done little to shape and change life for the better. I will first begin with an examination of what my opponent said about media and show you how misguided his team was in supporting this motion.
At first, my opponent claimed that institutions and companies use media to protect their power. However, I would like to inform you that their use of media does not translate into a transforming mechanism for corporations. The public is a highly informed group today. One cannot consolidate power through an open forum, such as a newspaper and television, without generating a lot of criticism from those same people whom the corporation intends to dominate. The public expects corporations to engage in proper conduct or else it will take its business elsewhere. This explains why corporate social responsibility is now a business strategy (Bernstein 2000). Consumers are still quite powerful today, so media has not assisted large corporations in controlling and dominating the public.
The previous speaker also spoke about the usefulness of media in advertising. He believed that it assisted companies by reducing costs and increasing market reach. The affirming team gave focus to social media networking as an example. It may seem like media and corporations have ganged up to influence the public’s purchasing decisions. However, this avenue is its own worst enemy. Most traditional forms of advertisement do not generate intended outcomes. This is especially true for newer forms of technology such as social networking sites, which the previous speaker refers to. One of the biggest American corporations, General Motors withdrew its Facebook advertisements in May 2012 (Gaskell 2012). The company representative stated that the results were disappointingly low. Several polls indicate that Facebook advertisements are highly ineffective. Only 5 in every 10,000 adverts will generate a click-through, yet this may not even translate into a sale. Consequently, one may say that this form of media plays a minimal role in shaping consumer’s decisions, given the kind of responses generated. The public has become apathetic to advertisement messages because they are so many and come from all directions. Mass media had a lot of promise for advertisers at the beginning of its launch. However, the pervasiveness of various forms of media led to failures in marketing. Its influence on people’s lives is highly debatable.
The previous speaker also talked about the benefits of media in education. He believed that technology enhances education to increase access, boost collaboration between tutors and students, and saves money by eliminating the need to buy lengthy books. However, just like the other points, another side exists in this argument. The use of technology in education leads to more problems than it solves. Bogard et al. (n.d.) explain that instructional technologies detract students away from learning objectives because they cause teachers to dwell on teaching students about the technology rather than the education content that will support it. Additionally, technological media, such as the internet, distracts children at home and in class from their school work. The use of technological media in the classroom causes students to become unintelligent because they do not need to engage in critical thinking (Ferguson 2005). Students do not see a need to learn about calculations if computers will perform these tasks for them. These numerous challenges in education indicate that the ability of media to shape people’s life has reduced tremendously owing to the shortcomings it creates in the field.
Why the media takes away as much as it gives?
Media minimizes people’s quality of life. It has increased the level of solitude amongst the global population because people do not see a need to interact with one another personally. While most modern media platforms, like internet forums and social networking sites, hold a lot of promise, nothing can substitute the level of connection that face to face interactions provide. Additionally, the pervasiveness of various media outlets often detracts individuals from more important issues like work. This means that workers are less productive as they keep focusing their attention on media-based information (Ryder 2006).
Media has also reduced people’s defenses and made them highly susceptible to danger. Nowadays, people depend on hand-held or portable devices to access information. Sometimes this may necessitate multitasking in traffic or when walking on a busy street. Not only does this constant exposure to the devices transmit certain harmful radiations to the body, but it may also affect people’s ability to concentrate on the things that matter, like navigating a busy street. This may cause accidents or even increase mortality rates in public places.
Modern media platforms are designed in such a way that they encourage users to participate in conversations and give their opinions about what has just made the news. While this may seem like a promising idea, most people do not realize that it minimizes their ability to listen to one another. They become so preoccupied with their own opinions that they may never bother to learn about the depths and complexities of a certain situation. Computer-based media platforms have encouraged most users to strive for more information. However, this information is not knowledge and more importantly, it is not wisdom (Lin 2004).
Whenever a new media platform is introduced, it will often replace an older one. For instance, when radio was introduced, it minimized overdependence on newspapers as a platform. Now that the internet has been introduced, it has eliminated the need to depend on daily newspapers for information. The demand for traditional media platforms dramatically reduces when a newer instrument enters the market. Therefore, this fluctuating demand for media causes one to doubt the importance of the same in shaping people’s lives. Media are mere tools that society uses to achieve its objectives. Therefore, people are not slaves to media; they simply depend on it to achieve certain ends.
Currently, society is inundated by information from various media outlets; the internet, billboards, videos, and newspapers are just a few of the various sources of information that bombard the public’s mind. The media has led to an increase in information supply and thus lowered people’s defenses against it. As a result, many people do not know how to minimize information from media or even to use some of it.
In conclusion, the media has created just as many problems as it has solved. Most of these problems stem from the saturation of the public’s mind with too much information. In the end, it has reduced people’s quality of life, productivity, sense of engagement, and the ability to acquire wisdom.
Bogard, Y, Crouch, J, Mestas, J, & Schiff, J (n.d.), The ineffectiveness of instructional technology, Web.
Bernstein, A 2000, Too much corporate power, Web.
Ferguson, S 2005, ‘How computers make our kids stupid’, Maclean’s, vol. 118 no.23, pp.24-30.
Gaskell, A 2012, GM scraps facebook ads stating ineffective returns, Web.
Lin, E 2004, No rest for the wary, Web.
Ryder, M 2006, Luddism NeoLuddites and dystopian views of technology, Web.