When we look at the recent five to ten years, we see that the media has transformed drastically. The dimensions and patterns have been turned upside down. Earlier, TV was the only source of news, information and entertainment for people. We are talking about the most initial stages of electronic media here. Later on, technology made astonishing progress in the meantime, and now it is everywhere. We are incomplete without technology, and modern media is also the product of technology. Students now do not write their essays on them. They reach out to companies providing academic help and order to ‘pay someone to write my essay’.
As we are living in the age of technology, we see no one without a smartphone. These devices have become our identity. We watch the news over them, share stuff with friends, get entertained, and make payments and what not? We now keep the world in our pockets. The most pivotal role of media is to spread information, and with one click, the news can spread all over social media like a wildfire. This blog will shed light on how the media is controlling our minds, what are the cons of media and how much a single click can cost us.
Let’s discuss the role of media as a controller first. It usually shows the one-side of the picture. All the news outlets airing on satellite TV or online website usually display what profits them. Ethical journalism is very rare in today’s world. You can never have a 360 view of whatever you see on your social media or TV screen. This is limited information. The way they portray a particular story in a drama, film or news story put blindfolds on the intellects of masses. They believe what they see without verifying the authenticity with facts. Regular media outlets are now using the tricks and patterns that were used in advertising to target the audience.
Social media is the big shot of the time we are living in. Every next person is using social and has their specific profiles over there. Whether it’s the president or prime minister of the country or a janitor cleaning toilets, both of them have equal rights to post and have their says at the platform of social media. It has also become one of the strongest sources of news and information for people. In the early days of television, the newspaper started losing its value as most of the people preferred screens over papers. The same story is repeating again, and now social media is replacing the televisions. People now have no time to sit in front of the television screens; they prioritize to multitask on their smartphones instead.
With a vast audience, social media also have to face the not-so-good moments. Rumours circulated on social media from time to time and spread speedily. The news which is not even a piece of information leaks from one corner of the world to another and people start believing it. We can take the example from the current situations happening due to coronavirus. A lot of fake medicines and fake doctors were produced on the platform of different social media websites. People started looting each other online in the name of coronavirus. A person who was not even a doctor, claimed to be a specialist and started his YouTube channel and ended up fooling people for dollars. Misinformation is the biggest flaw in social media. Although Facebook and Twitter recently shut down fake accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, backed by Russia. Twitter said in October that it suspended nearly 1,600 accounts, including some in Iran that “amplified conversations on politically sensitive topics” like race and social justice. But still, that was not enough to stop the spread of misinformation. Different campaigns were also run by international organizations to control the flow of misinformation. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible, or else we will have to face the consequences at massive scales.
The butterfly effect is the reason behind misinformation spreading like wildfire among masses. Let us clear you what this effect is. In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. You do not know how far a single click can reach and how much difference it can make. Social media activity can have unintended consequences at a large scale as whatever you write, bump or like is shared on the wall of your friends as well. You might not intend to offend someone, but you will. You might not want to share something with someone, but you will be doing that without acknowledgement. This is how it works! You never know what your single reaction or click will make the other think, or feel. So, beware and use social media responsibly.
We are all living in the information age, where everyone is informed. We know what to do and what not to do. We should act maturely, and if someone still feels baffled regarding what to do and what not to do, he must learn it as soon as possible or else there will be negative consequences. Learning is a piece of cake in today’s world, but there should be a ‘will’ to do so. Be attentive and intellectual while seeing something on media and make sure if it is authentic or just hearsay, and most importantly take care of what you post and share on social media.