We create our media and our media creates us.
Understanding media, exploring the power of media, and improving our critical and creative exploration of our media is our most important overarching interest in the new world of digital media.
My Point of View
For all the talk of education, modern societies neglect to examine by far the most influential means by which our populations are educated. The news is the single most significant force setting the tone of public life and shaping our impressions of the community beyond our walls. It is the prime creator of political and social reality. Modern societies are still at the dawn of understanding what kind of news we need in order to flourish.
The unique problem we face today is that misinformation has proliferated; it is devilishly entwined on the Internet with real information, making the two difficult to separate. And misinformation is promiscuous; – it consorts with people of all social and educational classes, and turns up in places you don’t expect it to. It propagates as one person passes it on to another, and another, as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media grab hold of it and spread it around the world; the misinformation can take hold and become well-known, and suddenly a whole lot of people are believing things that aren’t so.
As we age and plasticity declines, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to change in response to the world, even if we want to. We find familiar types of stimulation pleasurable; we seek out like-minded individuals to associate with, and research shows we tend to ignore or forget, or attempt to discredit, information that does not match our beliefs, or perception of the world, because it is very distressing and difficult to think and perceive in unfamiliar ways. Increasingly, the aging individual acts to preserve the structures within, and when there is a mismatch between his internal neurocognitive structures and the world, he seeks to change the world. In small ways he begins to micromanage his environment, to control it and make it familiar. But this process, writ large, often leads whole cultural groups to try to impose their view of the world on other cultures, and they often become violent, especially in the modern world, where globalization has brought different cultures together, exacerbating the problem.
On a given day, at least three hundred, and as many as six thousand marketing messages are lobbed your way. Statistics suggest that people spend more time exposed to advertising than they spend eating, reading, cooking, praying, cleaning, and making love combined. Marketing has transformed childhood games into multi-billion dollar sports empires, manufacturing heroes and sculpting our history. Does great advertising win elections? No one can say, though few doubt that bad advertising can certainly lose them. The better you understand the ad messages you receive every day, the better you’ll comprehend exactly how advertising has come to drive art, culture, and communications.
We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth. If you think more expensive wine is better, then it is. If you think that your new boss is going to be more effective, then she will be. If you love the way a car handles then you are going to enjoy driving it.
That sounds so obvious, but if it is, why is it so ignored? Ignored by marketers, ignored by ordinarily rational consumers, and ignored by our leaders. Once we move beyond the simple satisfaction of needs, we move into the complex satisfaction of wants. And wants are hard to measure and difficult to understand.