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Media Machines Make Us What We Are Essay (Article)

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Updated: Jan 30th, 2022

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. In this post, I would like to respond to the arguments presented by the affirmative team. Close attention should be paid to the concepts of global village and media life since they are used to show media makes us what we are. Furthermore, it is critical to examine the role of these technologies as the agent that transforms the experiences of people. These are the issues that should be examined more closely.

The previous speaker dismissed the idea that the development of media had been the response to the economic interest of the society. The major premise is that businesses simply adapted to a new environment or made use of new opportunities that became available to them. This argument implies that the transformation of people’s experiences can be described as the adjustment to the growing role of media.

However, I would like to say that the evolution of technology and media was driven by needs of the society and the problems that it had to resolve. For instance, one can mention the necessity to access and disseminate information as quickly as possible. This problem became urgent in the second half of the twentieth century. Moreover, it is possible to speak about the intensification of economic activities between and within countries (Kogut 2004, p. 2). Therefore, it was critical to use technologies and media that could serve the purposes of companies or individual entrepreneurs.

Similarly, technologies and media played an important goal in raising educational level in different countries (Chapman 2005, p. 55). Overall, one should remember that media reflected people’s goals, values, or urgent problems that had to be addressed. In part, their important role can be explained by the opportunities that they provide. Yet, media are useless, if a person does not have skills or expertise to make use of new opportunities. Therefore, it is people, who shape media, but not vice versa.

Additionally, the previous speaker emphasized the concept of a global village. Certainly, one cannot deny the fact that the world has become more interconnected due to the use of such a medium as Internet. Moreover, social networks have become an inseparable part of our lives. Admittedly, Internet and other media enabled individuals to share ideas with one another. However, it is necessary to remember that people, who communicate with one another on the Internet, have common interests, language, understanding of culture, values, professional goals, and so forth (Abraham 2012, p. 180).

Provided that these similarities had been absent, the development of media would not have led to the creation of the global village. Thus, one can say that media serves the purposes of groups and individuals, but it is not the agent that changes the personality of users who have free will. Overall, the notion of free will is vital for explaining the behavior of a person because it suggests that a person does not merely respond to the changes in external environment (Mele 2006, p. 17). More likely, he/she is an agent whose intention and actions can change the external environment. This is one of the main issues that should not be overlooked. This is why the role of media should not be overestimated.

Apart from that, it is necessary to focus on the argument that the use of media has become so habitual to people that they do not perceive their importance. This idea has been expressed by Marshall McLuhan (2003). This argument can also be partly acceptable. Certainly, mass media have improved the quality of people’s lives. Still, there are many other things that have also become habitual to people, for example, transportation or clothes.

Yet, it is not argued that these things shape the values or attitudes of individuals who are the users of media. It should be kept in mind that in the past, there were significant innovations that contributed to the development of the society. For instance, one can speak about the rapid of automotive industry at the beginning of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, it is not possible to argue that these improvements changed people’s worldviews, moral principles, or attitudes. This is the main objection that should be considered.

Those people, who advocate the importance of media, say that it is not possible to imagine modern life without these tools. For instance, it is possible to mention such a scholar as Mark Deuze who supports the idea of media life (Deuze 2011, p. 137). On the one hand, this premise can be accepted because new technologies have indeed increased the accessibility of information. However, they only reflect the activities of people, their interactions with one another, or the goals that they attempt to achieve.

On the whole, this discussion is important for understanding the transformation of contemporary societies. The examples in this post suggest that media have indeed brought significant changes into the lives of individuals and groups. Nevertheless, it is critical to remember that people are the primary agents who change technologies and media in order to resolve some problems or achieve progress. They can be described as free agents who can change the world around them. They do not merely respond to some external factors. This is one of the main points that can be made.

References

Abraham, A 2012, Computational Social Networks: Security and Privacy, Springer, New York.

Chapman, J 2005, Comparative Media History: An Introduction: 1789 to the Present, Polity, New York.

Deuze, M 2011, ‘Media Life’ Media, Culture & Society, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 137-148.

Kogut, B 2004, The Global Internet Economy, MIT Press, Boston.

Mcluhan, M 2003, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Routledge, New York.

Mele, A 2006, Free Will and Luck, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Media Machines Make Us What We Are." January 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/media-machines-make-us-what-we-are/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Media Machines Make Us What We Are'. 30 January.

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