Life has changed dramatically over the past century, and a major reason for this is the progression of media technology. Traditional media encompasses all the means of communication that existed before the Internet and new media technology, including printed materials (books, magazines, and newspapers), broadcast communications (TV and radio), film, and music. New media, on the other hand, includes electronic video games and entertainment, and the Internet and social media. Media has become a part of everyone’s life. It plays a major role in today’s society & culture. It has now turned into food to strengthen or weaken society.
Society is influenced by the media in so many ways. It is the media for the masses that helps them to get information about a lot of things and also form opinions and make a judgment regarding various issues. It is the media, which keeps people updated and informed about what is happening around them and the world that everyone draws something from. Media is considered the “mirror” of modern society, in fact, it is the media which shapes our lives.
More than one hundred years ago, John Dewey wrote in Democracy and Education that society is not only supported by various forms of communication but also enveloped in communication. A society is a very large group of people organized into institutions held together over time through formalized relationships. By comparison, culture — the knowledge, beliefs, and practices of groups large and small — is not necessarily formalized. Culture is necessary for enjoying and making sense of the human experience, but there are few formalized rules governing culture.
Media influences both society and culture. Different societies have different media systems, and the way they are set up by law influences how the society works. Different forms of communication, including messages in the mass media, give shape and structure to society. Additionally, media outlets can spread cultural knowledge and artistic works around the globe. People exercise cultural preferences when it comes to consuming media, but mass media corporations often decide which stories to tell and which to promote, particularly when it comes to forms of mass media that are costly to produce such as major motion pictures, major video game releases and global news products. More than any other, the field of media transmits culture. At the same time, it helps institutional society try to understand itself and whether its structures are working.
Individuals and groups in society influence what media organizations produce through their creativity on the input side and their consumption habits on the output side. It is not accurate to say that society exists within the media or under mass media “control.” Social structures are too powerful for the media to completely govern how they operate. But neither is it accurate to say that the mass media are contained within societies. Many mass media products transcend social structures to influence multiple societies, and even in societies that heavily censor their mass media the news of scandals and corruption can get out. The media and society are bound together and shape each other.
Almost everything we read, see and hear is framed within a media context; however, mere familiarity is no guarantee of success. Products in the mass media that fail to resonate with audiences do not last long, even if they seem in tune with current tastes and trends.
The dynamic between society and mass media that is so prevalent today developed throughout the 20th century. We can define culture as a collection of our knowledge, beliefs and practices. In practice, culture is how we express ourselves and enjoy life’s experiences. In media, there are three main types of cultural works, those associated with “high” culture, popular culture and folk culture. (Some scholars discuss “low” culture, but it is argued here that “low culture” is just another way of describing the low end of pop culture.)
The changing and evolving media in modern society often drive our perceptions. It is important to recognize that different cultures have different moral values and to acknowledge that some practices should be universally abhorred and stopped, even if they are partially or wholly accepted in other cultures. The relationship between culture and the new media is complex; it is difficult.
Throughout human history new technologies of communication have had a significant impact on culture. Plato’s reservation about the influence of new media on culture continues to influence the current deliberation on the influence of the Internet and of social media. Apprehensions about the impact of social media on children’s brains readily intermesh with alarmist accounts of predatory hackers, internet trolls, identity theft etc. The Internet serves as a metaphor through which wider social and cultural anxieties are communicated.
Time and again the public is informed that the Internet is transforming human life towards a more enlightened and creative existence. The public is constantly told that Big Data and the Internet of Things are about to revolutionize human existence. Claims that digital technology will fundamentally transform education, the way we work, play and interact with one another suggest that these new media will have an even greater impact on our culture than the invention of writing and reading.
There is little doubt that digital technology and social media has already had a significant impact on culture. Towards the end of the 19th century artists sought to capture their subjects through portraits of individuals who were absorbed in the act of reading a book. Today, it is the pictures of people standing in the middle of a crowd, captivated by what they are reading on their smartphone that best symbolizes the 21st century subject.
The influence of the Internet has been most significant in the way it has transformed the lives of young people. Their digital bedroom symbolizes a childhood that is significantly mediated through social media, mobile phones and the Internet. Friendship interaction and relations are increasingly conducted online or through text messaging. Such interactions have had major cultural consequences. Texting and online communications have influenced the evolution of language. They have thrown up new rituals and symbols and have had an important impact on people’s identity—the young in particular. Mediated exchanges often shape and reinforce people’s status and identity. Consequently what happens to people through their online interactions really matters to the way that people perceive themselves offline.
The Cultivation Theory, which was first developed in 1976 by George Gerbner and Larry Gross, studies the long-term effects that media have on our world view. The fundamental idea is that our perceptions of the world are shaped by the amount of time we spend exposed to media – the more time spent watching television, the more it encompasses our reality. While the concept of Cultivation Theory began as a study of the long-term effects of television viewing, newer modes of Cultivation Theory have begun to include long-term consumption of other forms of media.
One of the conclusions of the Cultivation Theory is the phenomenon known as Mean World Syndrome. Gerbner showed that the amount of time one spends on media is directly proportional to how unforgiving and intimidating one thinks the world is. As we see more violence on television, we come to overestimate the violence in reality. However, this doesn’t only apply to viewing televised violence. The news media peddle such violent and tragic stories essentially because stories that generate emotions draw viewers in. News about the end of the world sells more effectively than news showing improvements in life and conditions. Viewership numbers matter because the more people tune in to a station or medium, the more effectively companies can advertise in the space allocated to them on that channel. This may not be something solely under the umbrella of management and marketing, but also concerns psychology and biology.
The influence of the media has impacted our view on almost everything ,which can include voting a certain way, individual views and beliefs, or skewing a person’s knowledge of a specific topic due to being provided false information. The overall influence of media has increased drastically over the years, and will continue to do so as the media itself improves. It is in the business of affecting how and what people think. To believe that people are able to disregard everything they perceive in the entertainment media because the scenarios presented aren’t literally “true,” or because they are loosely staged simulations of reality (as in “reality” shows), we would also have to believe that people disregard all messages in advertising, since ads commonly present actors and models in simulated situations. But that is simply not how the human mind works. In order for an entertainment show or commercial to be effective, the audience must identify in some way with the characters and what they are doing, even if some aspects of the situation are “unrealistic.”
The idea that fictional media can influence public views and conduct is not controversial in the field of public health. As with news items, the public health community understands the influence of entertainment programming in health matters very well. What has become increasingly clear in recent years is that fictional television can also play a significant role in shaping public images about the state of our health care system and policy options for improving the delivery of care. Because of the great influence of entertainment media on people’s thoughts and actions, around the world, public health organizations are increasingly turning to entertainment media—from soap operas to sitcoms to reality shows—as a way to reach the public with health messages. This growing effort is often called “entertainment education.” Entertainment education is a way of informing the public about a social issue or concern” by “incorporating an educational message into popular entertainment content in order to raise awareness, increase knowledge, create favorable attitudes, and ultimately motivate people to take socially responsible action in their own lives.
The media’s reactions to statements that it has a ground level effect vary not only by whether it is receiving praise or criticism, but also by how much respect the media has for the group drawing attention to its performance. Over the last half of the twentieth century, television has become the predominant medium through which the public accesses information about the world. Through the news, situation comedies, police dramas, and commercials, we learn about the world around us, and our role within it. These genres, narratives, and cultural forms are not simply entertainment, but powerful socializing agents that show the world as we might never see it in real life. How media shapes our worldview brings together a diverse set of scholars, methodologies, and theoretical frameworks to interrogate the ways through which media molds our vision of the outside world.