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T.E.A.M. Tuesday Articles 

Media Evolution Sparks Social Revolution

By Justin Simmons - Aug 15, 2023

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With so much information available today, which outlets should we choose and whose messaging can we trust? The decisions we make are typically predicated on the information we obtain and with so many conflicting sources of media, it can be difficult to know where to turn. 

Looking back at how news broadcasting has evolved, there are clear correlations between slanted network views and general societal beliefs. In addition to the loud, ‘in your face' views, we also encounter softer, less pronounced messages being shared. They blend in through mellow undertones just waiting to be adopted but when issued in abundance, produce a similar impact.  This article itself may conflict with your views and you should be willing to question my credibility as the writer. The first question you must ask yourself in this decision process is: What do you believe in?

Given the hyper-competitive world of media, innovative technology will continue to expand the reach of its influence. The explosion of information is making it more challenging to decipher between right and wrong and therefore we must become more in tune with ourselves and our own thinking. Discovering what matters to us and having our own beliefs is critical to our development as individuals. Once we better understand what is important to us, then we can venture to decide whose views align similarly. If not, we will simply find ourselves accepting the views pushed upon us by the loudest voices and most frequent messages, perhaps never forming a true identity for ourselves.

The mental stimulation we gain through media programs and social platforms can influence us in ways that mold our way of thinking. This isn’t a bad thing, we have more access to data and resources than ever before. Many helpful outlets and avenues exist today for our benefit given this digital capability. We do, however, need to stay vigilant about what we become exposed to due to the increased potential for exploitation. Self-regulation of these outlets will be most important to acknowledge. Fact-checking against slanted views or cross-referencing data and sources are good measures to take when forming a basis for opinions. Our opinions of the truth will sway the decisions we make, so we must choose wisely. By selecting the wrong sources, we may encounter misinformation and risk steering ourselves down the wrong path.

Human instincts are designed to provide us with a sense of caution when new information is presented. Take a pause, evaluate, and consider the outcome before blindly accepting what is being presented. Media bombardment breaks down this cautious nature and counteracts our ability to question the data. A strong argument or serious tone in delivery can be quite compelling and hard to refute when disseminated throughout the masses. Add picture imaging to the equation and we are easily convinced. Suddenly the only rule to this algorithm is based on multiplication. The numbers game is all around us and the strategy is simple: whoever presents the most brand messaging with the most views and likes will win.

Today we have nothing short of an information overload. It's estimated that the average American encounters 3000 marketing messages every 24 hours, not including non-marketing materials (printed articles, internet posts, news outlets). Compare this to the 1970s when there were only 3 main television networks vying for our attention (ABC, CBS, NBC) and a single local newspaper to disseminate printed picture messaging.

Now we have hundreds of TV stations and streaming platforms, millions of podcasts/internet blogs, and billions of social media users all poised for entertaining and persuading views. Despite this wide range of resources, it’s important to understand how this diversification actually continues to divide society deeper.

Age is one factor which plays a large contributing factor in these views, and rightfully so. For example, people today in their 70’s grew up in a time different than those currently in their 20s. The adoption of technology is a heavy influencer of this gap. However, even upon utilizing said tech, there will still be a bias toward which media is most frequented based on age demographic. We can still point to a handful of the big-name networks that control most media, along with their subsidiary and ‘independent’ enterprises. This means that the familiar branding we have grown to know and accept is further influencing what may appear to be external sources. Fact-checking becomes increasingly more difficult if the multiple points of reference all answer to the same governing entity. Suddenly anything can be deemed ‘fact’ given corroborating data.  

Adversely, our younger generations might not be capable of discerning between what appears to be a legitimate news outlet vs. something simply learned on the internet or the latest App download. When constantly blasted with data from every direction, this can be confusing and desensitizing. Marketers know this and depend on it. Going back to the numbers game, the message heard most will increase believability. At times it might almost feel impossible to decipher fact from fiction, this is where we must have faith in ourselves. 

Society as we know it is a fragile ecosystem, woven over time by the goals and ideas of the people. This means we as individuals will dictate how society evolves. We all have goals and ideas which culminate from the environments we're exposed to. Surrounding ourselves with positive-minded individuals and solid information is imperative to our own sustained growth. It is, however, ‘our own’ growth we must first acknowledge to recognize what we want to accomplish.

The plans or messages others want us to partake in could very well distract us from accomplishing what we want in this lifetime. Forming your own opinions and establishing personal goals starts from within. The ability to think for ourselves is our most powerful resource and we have an unlimited supply if we are willing to exert the energy. Media bias and social pressures will constantly challenge our thinking process but we are capable of working through the noise. Our mind can sort through data and prejudice quite effectively. Pairing our gut instincts with analytical thinking allows us to get a fairly accurate read on right from wrong. We can benefit by listening to these feelings and doing the work to learn more about ourselves and surrounding influences. Only we can decide who or what we’re willing to trust.

When deciding whom to trust, consider yourself. Not only for a sense of self-reliance but consider who trusts you. We owe it to those who depend on us, to pay close attention to the factors that weigh in our decision-making process. The accountability felt to best serve society requires us to equally question if society is considering our best intentions in kind. Thinking for ourselves allows us to seek truth and thus spread knowledge. The information we gain and share will continue to shape our beliefs. When forming opinions, make a conscious effort to learn more about the subject matter in question and substantiate the evidence. This practice will provide a more effective communication style that conveys intellect and confidence. The messaging generated from doing so will lead to greater response and stronger more trusting relationships. All that stands between us and a more informed future is our willingness to think for ourselves. Are you ready to discover the power of your mindset? 

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