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Nowadays, the media accompany people in every-day life. Everybody is dependent on the media representation, both electronic and printed. The media are a great source of information, pleasure, security, experience, and comfort. People all over the world spend much time in front of TV, listen to the radio, read newspapers, and surf the internet. The media culture is present in every-day environment: in politics, culture, and economy. This paper aims to examine the importance of the media in daily life. It suggests that the media make sense of human existence in the modern world.
The Media’s Role in Contemporary Culture
The media, especially television, the press, the Internet, cinema and radio impact on human values and tastes. The media culture is term that identifies a system that determines the public opinion in society. In the United States, the mass media has become a powerful force in creating the culture. It both creates and reflects the culture. Individuals and communities experience influence of TV, advertisements, and other media products. The media do not only promote products but also develop people’s views, values, attitudes, behaviors, and moods. Nowadays, TV and the internet are dominated in the media culture. However, radio, cinema and press also have great impacts on people’s culture.
Many studies suggest that the media is a great business supported by elite (Silverstone 4). People who are the owners of the media companies comprise the elite. Thus, a few people can manipulate the information that most people can see or hear. The owners of the media companies control the news and manipulate people’s opinions and values. In fact, the media culture effects all people who are involved in social life. However, people have various options what to watch and read. The research asserts that when people press the button selecting a cable station or the network, they interpret the material in accordance with their experience and knowledge (Rayner, Wall, and Kruger 45).
Diverse cultural groups perceive the same information differently. It depends on socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, age, race, and religion. Therefore, in spite of control of a few elite, personal perspectives are more powerful in the development of the audience opinions. The media culture is growing through the global growth of the internet that involves a huge number of people all over the world. The internet encourages people to develop a common culture, views, opinions, and attitudes. It is the most powerful tool of the media today.
Media as a Social Dimension
Every society uses the media as a means of production and exchange of information among individuals. Technical features of the modern media allow people to communicate and interact in the social life. Thompson remarked that the media always contains social contexts and it is an integral part of social life (120). The media is a powerful tool for individuals with the dominant position in society. In the modern world, the media is associated with political power used between individuals who occupy different positions in society. The media reflects different positions within interactions. In fact, the media regulates and coordinates human behavior and interactions. Communication media develops competencies, skills, and knowledge. Technical media that is a kind of storing information that allows individuals to exercise in different activities. For example, stored information can be used to experience power.
The economic development depends greatly on various means of information provided by the media (Turner 17). The media is a good source of recording and protecting information about exchanging goods and services. The internet and mobile phones has an impact on the way individuals interact with each other in social life. Technical media requires technical skills and abilities that one should learn and experience. Sinclair assumes that when individuals produce these abilities and skills, they demonstrate their knowledge that is a powerful cultural and social resource (4).
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Media as a Political Dimension
All political actors use the media as a source to provide their political ideas. The political power is introduced to the public by means of the media. Those who have access to the media tools can propagate their ideas and attract more followers. Politicians who have power are more likely to use the media. The media is the place for competition among governments and their opponents. The digital age, however, does not give an easy access to public opinion. The media gives an opportunity to the ruling power to keep control over news. Although, the political elite have the power over their opponents, they use the media to provide their political views on TV, radio, press, and the internet. McKee argues that media help shape the public opinions and views. In other words, media shape the political environment (128).
The research asserts that political power leads to the power over the news media (Bowermaster 54). As a rule, politics is based on a tough competition between different powers. The media reflects this competition on TV, radio, press, etc. Although, actors of the leading power can easily control the news, it does not mean that weaker actors do not get into the news. The media reflects the conflicts between different parties, governments, and other oppositions. The media is a perfect place for different shows and scandals. This makes the media more appealing to the public. However, the news media are mostly focused on those who have political power.
Media as an Economic Dimension
The role of the media as an economic dimension can be characterized as two-faced. On the one hand, the media is a powerful tool for economic development. The media demonstrates exploitation and consumerism as the best options in life. Bazalgette reports that the media makes the audience commodities themselves (21). The media tries to keep the message that the existing economic system is the best one. In other words, it formulates people’s opinions. The media makes society more open and connected.
On the other hand, the media makes all individuals consumers or advertising clients. Advertisements influence audience and make it an instrument for economic profits. The goal of the media is to enforce individuals to believe that everything they hear or watch on TV is their first necessity. The media shapes people’s tastes that are not always the best. Oftentimes, individuals become addicted to certain products and services. However, professionals consider that the media makes people more successful and productive. The media helps to connect professionals all over the world. Thus, the media as an economic dimension has more advantages than disadvantages.
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The use of the media creates conditions for individuals where they can communicate with each other exchanging information. It encourages individuals to interact and act in space and time at a distance. The media serves cultural, societal, political and economic interests. The ruling power has the greatest access to the media, and shapes the public opinion, behaviors, tastes, and ideology. The media is a powerful means of connecting people all over the globe. It is necessary to study the media and the way it impacts on human lives.
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