Approach Media Consciously


Rina Cakrani, Columnist

The media is an institution that continually has more and more impact on our lives, specifically in the way we think about the world and in the decisions we make. Media influences us on all levels, from which types of food to buy, to which candidate we should vote for in the presidential elections. Although the original purpose of the media was to present the public with information, it has been transformed into an instrument of manipulation.

The media, especially the Internet, has set new social norms among modern-day teenagers. Highly influential people with millions of followers on Instagram use the media to define and promote a certain lifestyle. Their presence is so strong and positively publicized everyday that as a consequence, young people believe that their way of life is the one to be emulated. Therefore, we see many new trends among this generation relating  to fashion, music and food, as well as norms to live by. Following these norms has been normalized and prioritized above other things. For example, you may have noticed in the past year on social media that “Supreme” or “Gucci” printed shirts was very popular and a lot of people were wearing them. What we perceive as cool to wear can easily change according to what we see online, even if we don’t fully realize it.

However, this is the most basic example of how we are influenced by the media. We gain influence in much more important matters, particularly those that are related to politics and society in general. The way we think of certain political candidates is based on what we read online or what we hear in various media outlets. We think we can be objective, but when we repeatedly hear a certain thing about someone by several sources, we might not escape its impact. That thing might not be true because nowadays the media is used by powerful people for their own purpose and it can manipulate or lie to us. Unfortunately, it can have the ultimate say when we consider a decision that will contribute to the future of society. We are bombarded with new information everyday and sometimes it is hard to recognize what is the truth and what is not. The media has become a business; many outlets find it harder to survive, therefore they prioritize the pursuit of money rather than that of the truth. They would rather promote a certain ideology or a certain individual in exchange for money needed for proceeding in this highly competitive world, rather than be objective or impartial and receive lesser attention. In such a situation, it is wise to be skeptical of the news we get and not to fall into the trap of the trends that are being set by the Instafamous.