Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

We cannot escape media and technology

In this day and age, we can’t escape technology and media. Many people don’t like that. For example, take the people who complain about homeless people having smartphones, saying things like “how can you afford such a luxury?” Except a smartphone isn’t a luxury anymore – it’s a key to finding jobs, places to stay, places to eat, all sorts of information.
Media is key to how we perceive information. Media has always been our source of information, going further back than modern technology, though said technology does help information spread faster.
However, as media and how it is spread changes, society adapts with it. Mass media does not always give the whole picture, and it never has. Everyone has their biases and those who work in the media are no exception. It’s why you will see Fox News portray an incident one way, while CNN portrays it another. It’s part of why the Black Lives Matter movement is so passionate – the media doesn’t cover the whole story behind victims of police brutality.
Even sites such as YouTube, which started as a form for the public to express themselves freely, have begun using different ways to censor their users for the sake of monetization. Some countries even censor entire websites.
But that doesn’t mean all media is bad. We live in a time where we can be part of the media, add our own voices to the information going around. Even if people try to censor us, we can fight back. Before the technological age, you had to have connections to be heard or have your work read. But now we have sites like WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Anyone can join, and we can add the ongoing conversations about any subject.
Going back to the Black Lives Matter movement, you can find all sorts of first hand information on Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. People are constantly adding their own experiences to the information in the media. And that can be done for any cause.
From my own experience, I’ve been able to help change the perception of autism in, at the very least, my family and friends. Most media about autism in the past has been created by non-autistic people who do not have experience with the disorder. But the internet has given the autism community new ways to get our voices out there and be heard. We have the chance to say “We don’t want you speaking for us.” I follow many blogs on WordPress that are about autism, run by autistic people, and I myself even have one of those blogs. You can get accurate information about the disorder from those who have it and understand it from a personal point of view, not just those who study it from the outside.
I was always taught that when I’m researching, first hand accounts hold more weight than second hand. So maybe mass media can be twisted and censored to filter the information we are given. But media run by us, the people, can be our first hand accounts. The media can affect our perspectives, but we can also affect the media.

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We cannot escape media and technology