In the 21st century, the mass media has become an integral part of the day-to-day activities for human beings. Over the years, this sector has undergone considerable transformation to incorporate almost all aspects that people consider as important in their lives. The mass media has become a tool that defines how people eat, dress and socialize among other things.
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The trend of increasing expenditure on mass media and entertainment depicts the high levels of influence of this industry. For example, in America, the average citizen spends more on entertainment than on things like gasoline, household furnishings, and clothing. Most citizens spend nearly the same amount of money on entertainment as on dining out.
According to the research by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, spending on global entertainment and mass media exceeded 1.8 trillion dollars by 2010. The mass media and entertainment industry provide access to the simulated world and virtual realities. A significant portion of the human population model their character and behavior based on the mass media. Mass media and entertainment have become an essential part of society, which drives social behavior.
With the emergence of new media, societal and industrial models compare new standards with the failures of the old ones. The development of multimedia such as CD-Rom, PC games, and Virtual reality devices allowed people to experience all the pre-existing media types as they converged together in one collage of media elements. With the introduction of the World Wide Web, the world realized the logical extension of access to multimedia where entertainment is accessible via the internet.
The internet became the new platform upon which the media and entertainment industry expanded further. The media undergoes a cycle of invention, access limitation and information overflows. One of the factors that facilitate the considerable levels of influence of the mass media on societal behavior is the participatory culture.
This describes the way individuals interact with the media content, media producers, and another consumer as they explore the resources available to them across the media landscape. For example, access to a website like Illuminati, which talks about devil-worshiping, deepens emotional investment in the media and expands our awareness on the content.
On the other hand, such information can change someone’s culture and ways of living. The Internet provides easy access to all information. However, some internet sites are not appropriate for use by society. The disadvantage of the internet is the lack of restrictions, which introduce loopholes and allow everyone who knows how to use a computer to access any information irrespective of its nature and potential harm. An example is pornographic sites, which should not be viewed by teenagers under the age of eighteen. Most pornographic sites have resulted in moral and cultural degradation within society.
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The mass media promotes creations that attract audience participation in the form of random and interactive storytelling. An example is the reality TV show Survivor, which appeared in 2000 in the United States. The publicity of the show produced the survivor who sought to discover contest sites before release. It shows how devoted viewers could discover and predict the outcome of the show in online discussion groups.
This is an illustration of how the internet can ultimately influence the production of a TV show. The example illustrates a participatory culture, which exists when media consumers create a new mode of engagement with the media content. After noticing that their content has a great impact on society, a media company can use the content to generate revenue online. This is exploitation by influence.
For example, noticing the viewers’ enthusiasm, the Fox Network launched American Idol and embarked on campaigns to encourage audiences to participate in choosing the winner by texting their votes. This highlights the indirect approaches that stakeholders in the mass media industry employ to obtain profits for the sustenance of media programs. It demonstrates the convergence behavior of the society with a common interest (Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008).
Matrix multiplayer online games provide individuals with new ways to participate in their shared fantasy. Enthusiasts of the Matrix become entangled in the philosophies of the story. They create elaborate fictions and seek definitions that are beyond the scope of this world. The universe of media and entertainment is forcing consumers professing old cultures and norms to make snap decisions and create a culture of long-term strategies in their role within the virtual enrolment.
Even in television shows, the content is less appealing than the cognitive work the show elicits on one’s mind. Instead of becoming mindless viewers, the audiences are participating in decision-making activities that revolve around TV content episode by episode (Croteaus & Hoynes, 2003).
The mass media has a significant impact on various aspects of life within society. There are several TV shows and magazines with contents of lifestyles. An example is the Lose Angeles magazine. The magazine discusses a luxurious lifestyle, fashions, and personalities. It hurts ordinary citizens who cannot afford expensive commodities. People who survive on meager income develop the notion that individuals within the high class are superior. The nature of the lifestyle that an individual adopts starts from the individual’s mindset.
One’s mindset is subject to a variety of factors that influence an individual. One of these factors is the mass media. The media and entertainment industry has both positive and negative effects. One of the advantages of the media industry is that it introduces numerous economic benefits within society. For example, online marketing stores such as Lingerie women’s fashion enable women to order for their clothing and foot ware online without having to travel long distances.
Individuals save time and money when using the internet to access relevant information. Appropriate entertainment plays a key role in an individual’s well being within society. When one is under distress, he or she needs some form of distraction. The media industry provides a variety of entertainment that suit individual needs. However, the media contributes a lot to moral degradation within society.
An example is pornographic films and websites. These two contents have introduced misadvised notions on sexuality within the society and families. It portrays sex as a game. This contradicts the norms of most societies. Some of the information that individuals obtain from media presents contradictory concepts regarding a particular subject.
A perfect example is the media coverage on the secret society called Illuminati. It is hard to believe someone who attempts to explain an organization that functions based on satanic powers. It introduces the dilemma for the media audience. Viewers do not know whether to believe the media coverage or not. Generally, the media and entertainment industry have impacts that are more positive concerning the society’s development.
Croteau, D., & Hoynes, W. (2003). Media society: industries, images, and audiences (3rd ed.).Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press.
Shaughnessy, M., & Stadler, J. (2008). Media & society (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press