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Media and Society Essay

It’s hard to imagine that only a mere 10 years ago, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, MySpace or basically any other social media platform you can think of even existed. Since the creation of these social networking devices, there has been a tremendous change in the world. News and information has become more available than ever, political landscapes have been re-shaped, privacy has become a thing of the past, and all these changes are happening at a rapid rate.

These changes can have both positive as well as negative outcomes, depending on how and when they are used. Information All throughout history, information has been a major factor in everyday living. It’s importance to the world and how it shapes society is enormous. Although, as the world proceeds into new technology, the idea of ‘Knowledge is power’, a quote by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597, has dramatically lost it’s meaning. Today, anyone can lookup information with a few simple clicks.

Wikipedia, an ever growing, collaboratively edited, online encyclopaedia, which anyone can access, supplies reliable information with little, to no effort required by the end user. Anyone, no matter what age, or prior knowledge they obtain, can find out complex information, that 10 years ago, would have been only available to academically ‘gifted’ students, that where granted access to a prestige university. The effect this has on society is a lot larger than people may think. With all this information being available so quickly, it creates a world that relies on getting everything as fast as possible.

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Patience is no longer a common practise amongst society. This is evident everywhere you look; fast food ‘restaurants’ are popping up all over the place, we can’t even take the time to walk into a restaurant and sit down and order, we have to be able sit in our cars, and drive by a window. We can’t deal with waiting in a bank line, so we have ATM’s and ‘mobile banking’ to satisfy this hunger for immediacy… and people are wondering why obesity is increasing on such a drastic level?

As there are a lot of negatives to instant information, there are positives as well… General knowledge is on a much higher level, children are able to learn more efficiently, and no longer is time wasted, rummaging through numerous books to find one line of information. All this instantaneity is not just about general information; we see it in the news as well. News: With the rise of social media, news has transformed from being thrown on to your front lawn each morning, to having instantaneous updates about world happenings right in your pocket.

No longer, is accuracy in the stories presented by journalists a prioritizing factor, only the speed at which it is offered really matters. This falsifies a large proportion of news stories, which then in turn requires these stories to be re-written several times, over a longer period of time, before the information can be deemed reliable, and even then, there is a lot of manipulation which is hard for the average reader to recognise.

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