The Media Giant

 

media owns us

The media is- as stated many times before –one of the biggest technological advances within our modern day society. It is a social giant for any and all audiences that are exposed to it- providing information and entertainment to everyone.

But where does all this information come from? And is any of it true? And … the biggest question of them all …

Does the media control us?

The answer is, abso-friggin-lutely.

Although we may not be aware of it- the media has the most powerful form of control over its audiences. The media not only gives information through television programmes, internet sites or newspaper articles- it has the dominant power to influence our thought process and how we speak, act or even how we interpret our surroundings. It is, in its own sense, influential on the public audience and its behaviour.

But the media is more ‘controlling’ than it is ‘influential’. As I mentioned, the media is highly dominant on our thoughts and opinions- we are easily persuaded into believing what we hear from the media because we have the assumption that it is ‘factual and true’ because it’s on the internet. This is not the case, some media and social media giants are very controlling over what is seen by the public and what is actually allowed to be shared to and from individual members. This proves a problem in the reliability of the information gathered, as one person has their perspective and manipulates the audience to follow through with what is said.

In this photo below is a portrait of Milly Dowler:

Milly Dowler.PNG

^Article of Milly Dowler from ‘The Guardian’

Unfortunately, in 2002, Milly was murdered and her case was difficult to track. Why was it difficult to track? Because a branch of media owned by head honcho Rupert Murdoch- News of the World -hacked onto the 13-year-olds phone- this resulted in the deleting and misplacing of essential messages that would’ve led to the criminal responsible for the murder of Milly. News of the World even admitted to hacking into Milly’s phone, leading to a public outcry and News International closing the Sunday tabloid in 2011- nearly ten years after Milly’s death! Potential evidence towards the case was ultimately lost due to these interferences of the media ‘wanting a story’.

The media is a super-giant of privacy invading stories- which cause numerous complications to the reliability of any and all information exposed to us!

So rule number one when reading your next newspaper or Buzzfeed article-

Make sure that it is reliable!

-ThatGirlLauren

 

For more information on the Milly Dowler case, check out these two sites:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/04/milly-dowler-voicemail-hacked-news-of-world

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-22278947

 

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Do You See What I See? -Signifiers and the Signified: What is Shown and What is Thought

 

Blog post 2

Above, you can see there are two images of the same scene; one is taken from the front, and the other is taken from behind. Consider the first half of the image- this represents the signifier; what is shown to you. Obviously you can see a young, innocent-looking girl and the older, angrier man- that is the signifier, it is nothing more than what is depicted within the image; what is visually shown to an audience. The other half, represents the signified; the hidden meaning of the image and the individual interpretations that the audience possess towards the signifier. In the signifier (first half), you see an innocent girl and an angry man; however, despite the overall ‘appearance’ of the signifier, the meaning behind it can be something else entirely. In this case, the signified (second half) is that the girl is armed and her innocent nature is ‘shattered’, while the man is harmless and seen as more of an approachable figure than what is depicted in the first half.

Both halves overall form a text– the combination of both the signifier (what is seen) and the signified (what is interpreted) within a visual piece (i.e. image, video, etc.).

So why am I telling you this? Why am I showing you an image and talking about signifiers, the signified and the meaning behind texts?

Because it is all important in how we interpret various mediums- for example, we can all look at a tree and still see a tree; but we all have a different opinion on that tree.

Get what I mean? It’s all about … wait for it … personal perspectives! Some signs- such as the stick figures on bathrooms for ‘male’ or ‘female’ –are interpreted similarly by individuals because we are raised with the idea of that sign and the message of it is ‘common’. However, other texts (such as advertisements, movies and photos) are interpreted based on the individual’s personal, ideological interpretation- though some opinions may be similar to another’s, not all ideologies will be alike due to the individual reactions based on each person’s life experiences. This is important in how the media can influence us in our perspectives, thoughts and reaction towards certain mediums based on our personal experiences.

Take a look at this image here:

controversial ad

What is the first thing you think when you see this image? Anger? Fear? Sadness? Mutated hand? Well, the first thing I think is that saying, ‘Sticks and stones’, and how completely wrong it is. The context behind this image is that it was used in a campaign that was for the protection, awareness and prevention of verbal abuse towards women. The signifier in this image, is that the man has a hand reaching out of his mouth to grab the woman’s hair in a rough and harmful manner. The man looks aggressive, while the woman is terrified.

My perception on this, is that more women need to be aware that words can hurt people, and I feel that I should be protective towards those who are suffering or have experienced this kind of abuse- because no matter how many times people say ‘It’s not even a form of abuse’, or ‘Well you know that saying, why should words hurt anybody?’, based on my individual experience and my exposure to events like this, I feel that it is all wrong and that it is a problem that we need to prevent.

What about you? Do you see what I see?

-ThatGirlLauren

Protecting the Innocence of Children and Youths

The ‘online generation’, the generation of Facebook, Twitter, Xbox, Tinder and many more media platforms- that’s my generation. I’d be lying if I said I never grew up with any media influences, we’ve all played ‘Crash Bandicoot’ at some stage in our lives. But what about the children today, would they be considered the same as me when I was a child? When I was seven I played Pokémon, and ten years later my cousin is now seven and has an iPhone.

We were born in a world where we are exposed to the media at such a young age, and each and every one of us has been growing up ‘online’. Over the past few years, the media has evolved to greater lengths and we have access to any and all content, which makes life easier doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, one of the most recent parental anxieties about the media is the loss of innocence and naivety of youths when exposed to the media. Violence, cyber-bullying, sexting, cyber-stalking … all of these factors and more are being exposed to youths, and some are having an influence on their behaviour. But who is really to blame?

Let’s look at Facebook- a highly popular form of social media where anybody can make a free account and maintain a presence online. But there lies the problem- it’s so easy to create an account! Although the ‘recommended age’ for Facebook is 13, many young individuals can easily create an account and pose as a 20-year-old. Same for media platforms like YouTube, you can claim you’re 18 and have unrestricted access to anything the media offers. Not only this, but there is no limit to how many accounts you can create, for example you could have one account where you’re Eliza, and another where you’re Natasha! This then provokes the notions of cyber-stalking, sexting and cyber-bullying, because ‘nobody can find out who I really am’.

On the flip-side of youths creating fake accounts, the biggest issue with social media and youths, is the naivety of youths and how trusting they are of social media.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jMhMVEjEQg <- click here to check out more!

In this YouTube social experiment, a man got the permission of three girls’ parents to add them on Facebook and claim he was 15. He then arranged to meet them in person, and all three girls agreed to do so. In these circumstances, where the child begins trusting the media platform, many parents are so quick to judge that it’s the media’s fault for not properly protecting their children from these attacks on their innocence. However, in the last scenario of this video, the mother clearly says “We watch the news about this together“.

Because the media is easy to access, so many individuals are quick to blame the media for the lack of protection for their children, because it’s easier to blame someone else for their/their child’s mistakes than to find the real cause.

What do you think? Is it the media’s fault? The parents’ fault? Or is it the fault of the child?

Thank you for reading!

-ThatGirlLauren