In the era of technological advancement and telecommunication, people make slight efforts at getting access to information. The emergence of television, Internet, and new media devices has had a potent impact on the channels and methods of delivering and interpreting news, events, and urgent issues.
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More importantly, most people are distracted by the media devices, which prevent from developing their critical thinking skills. At this point, new methods to communication have negatively influenced the information sharing among people, as well as have become the major cornerstone to development.
In the articles, by Quayle (2010), Kelley (2012), and Postman (1985), electronic media has introduced serious deterioration of attention of those people who are involved into multitasking. Therefore, television has become a major threat to development of human intelligence in terms of creative thinking, overwhelming influence of news, and spread of information transfer.
Prior to the television, the invention of telegraphy has become the trigger of information spread among people. However, once the information could be transferred much faster, the new historical period began to develop the Age of Show Business. The changes have made people develop new ways through which they perceive information.
According to Postman (1985), “Facts push other facts into and out of consciousness at speeds that neither permit nor require evaluation” (p. 70). So, the community has expanded the access to information, most of which could not be perceived on the spot. Further development of journalistic art has followed the invention of photography that created a kind of context for people to accept information and learn the facts.
However, this context failed to render the actual state of affairs. At this point, while describing this pseudo-context, Postman (2010) calls it “the last refuge of a culture overwhelmed by irrelevance” (p. 76). People got used to perceiving information in a well-established context that did not refer to the real representation of facts.
On the one hand, the invention of television sought to entertain people and to develop new show business perspectives for gaining profits. In the mid 80s this statement was valid and true and Postman’s position can also be justified as soon as he explains “Television serves us most usefully when presenting junk-entertainment; it serves use most ill when it co-opts serious modes of discourse – news politics, science, education, commerce, religion – and turn them into entertainment packages” (Postman, 1985, p 159).
On the other hand, Quayle (2010) focuses on the contemporary environment and discusses new functions and roles that television performs in social, political, and economic lives.
As an example, the researcher refers to the emergence of such business and new broadcasting channel as CNN, whose main function is to deliver new from the hot spots of the planet. Additionally, Quayle (2010) is confident that “Postman’s sample size was too small and taken too prematurely, to accurately measure the full potential of the medium” (p. 301).
New capabilities of delivering news through television and internet do not contribute to the welfare of society in the light of the difficult financial and economic situation. Most importantly, the analysis of new facts and events makes it impossible for people to evaluate, criticize, and make personal conclusions about the news.
Delivering news in motion is another challenge that people overcome to conceive and digest the facts received from multi media resources. In fact, most of students and people look through the Internet news while texting messages to their friends at the same time, which does not contribute to proper evaluation of the information received. As a result, people fail to objectively define the importance of the news they convey to other people.
Additionally, Kelley (2012) does not support the new mode of information transfer because it deteriorates attention and prevents human from understanding the new issues to a full extent. As the author explains, “When you can’t pay attention to any one thing…for more than a few minutes, you can’t learn as well, you can’t communication as well and you can’t think and write as well” (Kelley, 2012, n. p.).
As a result, students’ performance at school worsens whereas people lose job opportunities due to the failure to communicate their ideas and strong addition to electronic media. The emergence of digital devices does not allow people to concentrate their attention to what is going in around them.
The quality of the news transferred via cables suffers due to the insufficient time spent on explaining the matter. The emergence of commercials aggravates the situation and, as a result, people are charged with unnecessary, even junk information which distorts their perception.
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Some of the aspects of the news become too exaggerated, such as pictures of deaths and horrors. In reality, these scenes should not be taken that seriously. In response to this problem, Postman (1985) focuses on the television as a kind of drug that makes people passive and numb in relation to the tragic realities happening in the world.
Even Quayle (2010) who presents his criticism of Postman’s views, have not found arguments against the negative influence of television in terms of overemphasized facts directed at the viewers’ consciousness. In order to protect his position, Quayle (2010) recognizes that he cannot “…prove all TV can support the public discourse to make a difference” (p. 301). Only some of the aspects considered by Postman could be opposed. Nevertheless, these contradictions could also be explained by the time span between the two studies.
The electronic media platforms have shifted people’s attention from text-written format, which requires people be more concentrated and thoughtful for understanding the issue. According to Kelley (2012), “Cellphone users are walking in front of busses and into buildings and texting drivers are killing themselves and others” (n. p.).
Electronic distraction does not only pose threats to physical wellbeing, but also hampers direct perception of the upcoming events. Impossibility to process and digest information is premised on the direct impact of technological advancement.
In conclusion, the television has produced a tangible shift in spreading information in terms of speed, perception, and overemphasis on unnecessary facts. Influence of human consciousness is explained by the condensed version of the news that is transmitted via internet and TV.
Absence of written texts and passive acceptance of the reality does not allow people to adequately assess, criticize, and process received information. Greater availability of electronic data makes people less attentive to valid information; instead, the focus is on the fact that the telecommunication media intends to deliver.
Most of the news transferred via online resources prevents people from understanding and analyzing those facts, as well as reacting to these new pieces of information. People should start thinking over the value of current media to redefine its way of development in future. Alternatively, information will capture the minds and hamper human intellectual development.
Kelley, M. (2012). An Apology to the 4G Generation. An Opinion. Retrieved from https://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/13/opinion/an-apology-to-the-4g-generation/
Postman, N. (1985). Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. US: Penguin Group.
Quayle, M. (2010). The Method Of The Medium Is In Motion. Etc: A Review of General Semantics, 67(3), 300-310.