Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? Replace the mirror with a smartphone, and bam! Sounds just like Instagram!
It’s all a competition. Who can get the most followers, who can get the most likes, who has the best ratio? We collect these things like a bargain-hungry grandma collects coupons. All you need are a few coupons, and bam! Instant happiness, redeem now for 2 hours for the price of 1. Right? What’s ironic, is that tools such as social media and search engines, that we now refer to as ‘modern media,’ were actually designed to make our life easier. But now, they’ve turned into a medium that enables us to be collectively manipulated into whatever can make more money, or be most beneficial to those with power. We are no longer people, instead we’re reduced to ‘targets,’ ‘demographics.’ Numbers that can be advertised to.
Did you know that the societal pressure on women and girls to shave their body hair stems from a particularly aggressive marketing campaign by Gilette in 1917, when they realised that they did not have to limit their advertising, and thus, revenue, to only males?
Isn’t that terrifying? To think, that we are, simply put, powerless and completely at the mercy of the media? And just think. The media managed to manipulate literally the entire world before social media, or even most forms of mainstream media were popular? Just think of what they could do now, what they are doing now with an almost endless resource pool to draw from.
And what about Facebook? Your feed, a treasure trove of carefully curated memes and articles. Regular updates, of what you and your friends do on the app. Regular updates, just like those offered to voters in the last presidential elections, where these ‘updates’ potentially sponsored by the Republican Party were specifically targeted towards voters in order to skew their vote in a particular direction. Dubbed a tool of psychological warfare, Cambridge Analytica harvested over 50 million people’s interests, likes, location, political affiliation, relations, photos and more, in order to tailor ads and articles for POLITICAL gain. The impact of this was profound enough to influence an election where the candidates were neck and neck.
The media has an immeasurable power over us. Humans have a natural propensity to be trusting, and the unfortunate truth is that our gullibility has been exploited by modern media. Modern media is to blame for an array of issues, specifically, issues regarding the mental health of the individual, societal customs and practices.