Sunday, August 22, 2010

Media?!

Wrote this essay for my GRE sample test. I think the topic was something about the media reflecting the world or paving a path for it. When I was searching for something else today, I found it tucked away somewhere deep in. Reading it, I thought I'd post it. So, here is goes.

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The Media. What exactly constitutes the media. The media, in the present context, can be vaguely defined as a platform through which individuals state their opinions, views and probably discuss facts in the view of the public eye. In the last decade or so, what the media exactly constitutes has become a very debatable issue.

For the entire length of the previous century, the media basically was books, films, music and television. That is how the world worked. A few people in the media industry, who were competent enough told the rest of the world what was happening elsewhere and they had the liberty to voice their opinions because people had no way to cross check the authenticity of the news. Apart from news of course, there were other media such as films or music, which were entertaining vast audiences. Very few people had access to the high glitz world of movies and television and those who sought for it and succeeded, were rewarded with the ability to influence the world at large. They could tell the world what they wanted to and with films catering to such large audiences, they could trigger cultural uprisings overnight. Books have always been a mark of the classic elite and though pulp fiction has had its share of devoted followers, books are still more about the ability to think different rather than dress or be different.

Now, with the advent of the internet, all this has changed. Everybody has access to stardom and large audience. The mantra is, 'If you have it in you, you can be it.' The biggest advantage with a society like this is that since it has become such a mass media, everyone has access to altering the way the world lives. You don't like something posted in a website, you can always comment on it. You can blog about what you think would be the effects of the latest Government order regarding Health Insurance. You can discuss topics with like minded people over forums. And you can upload your very own movie in a video sharing website and know what people think about it. All of it is also media.

The media has changed from creating values to reflecting values.

And the reason to that is simple. As already mentioned above, to state simply, the size and breadth of the media has changed. Back then, there were few people who made a point, and a lot of people listened. Now, everyone can talk and listen. That is a lot of freedom. History tells us how this happened. Back in the 60s, when America was in the upheaval of a huge social, cultural revolution, the tools of mass media were books, films and music. That the birth of The Beat Generation where people proclaimed hippiedom, freedom, love and traveling. On the Road played a huge part in that cultural revolution, when Kerouac wrote about Sex, Drugs and Travel. Bob Dylan came along and took over from Woody Guthrie and started singing songs about Peace and Brotherhood. That was the birth of Rock n' Roll. Some of the classics were made in that era, like American Graffiti, which created values for a whole generation of people. Twenty years on and it was time for a bigger revolution. This time the Television and PC took over and thus created values for an entire generation of people. The world was becoming smaller. And now, it is the Internet which is the forefront of the other revolution that has taken place.

But unlike preceding revolutions, which basically created a lot of social values, responsibilities and outlook toward life, what the new age media is doing is that it is giving everyone an equal chance to proclaim their ideas. Of course, it could be argued that this is creating another form of values but unlike the influence of old media where there was this one big wave everyone had to get over or risk drowning, the new age media is a collection of a lot of smaller waves and if you are good enough, one of them could well be yours.

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