LC480 Media Communication And Society Assignment Sample

Media Influence: Communication and Society Assignment

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Introduction: Digital media, social activism and democracy

The arrival of the digital era has led to the alteration of social media platforms into powerful tools for social activism; thereby revolutionize the way in which individuals engage with political and social concerns. The beginning of digital media has enabled extensive access to information and rapid distribution, foremost to a novel stage of democratic engagement and societal change (Lindner and Aichholzer, 2020). The present conversation delves into the profound authority of digital media on the populace, with particular emphasis on the interplay between communal engagement and democratic governance.

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Amplifying Voices

The arrival of digital media has provided a stage for formerly marginalized individuals and groups to state their opinions, thereby creating a more equitable playing field. In the past, well-known figures had the power to dictate the narratives that were disseminated by the mass media (Ancillai, et. al. 2019). The advent of social media has democratized the dissemination of information, enabling individuals to eloquent their viewpoints and contest prevailing discourses. The explosion of social movements, including #BlackLivesMatter #MeToo, and #ClimateStrike, can be attributed to the expansive reach of the internet, which facilitate wide discourse on a universal scale.

Mobilizing Mass Movements:

The advent of digital media has brought about an important transformation in the ability to organize and galvanize sizable cohorts of people. Through the use of online platforms, activist are able to expeditiously deal out information, organize protests, and garner backing (Jungherr, et. al. 2020). Social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been instrumental in facilitate the coordination of extensive demonstrations and support initiatives. The "Arab Spring" serves as evidence to the mobilizing power of digital media in various Middle Eastern countries, leading to significant transformation in both political and social spheres.

Creating Virtual Communities:

Digital media has facilitated the formation of virtual communities centered on various causes, thus enhancing the capability of activists to efficiently collaborate, communicate, and devise strategies. The establishment of online forums enables individuals with comparable interests and goals to engage in collaborative efforts, thereby fostering a communal atmosphere and a shared sense of direction (Freelon, et. al. 2020). Online groups function as facilitators for coordinating collective endeavours, furnishing reciprocal assistance, and exchanging knowledge to advance the objectives of augmenting communal engagement and advocating democratic principles.

Direct Engagement with Political Processes:

The utilization of digital media has facilitated the democratization of the political process by enabling citizens to directly communicate with their elected representatives. Social media provides a platform for individuals to express their opinions, receive prompt responses, and hold elected officials responsible concurrently (Ladeiras-Lopes, et. al. 2020). By utilizing hashtags such as #AskYourMP and #TweetYourRep, individuals are able to engage with their elected officials in a more accessible manner. In addition, the widespread availability of digital technologies and platforms has facilitated the ease with which individuals can impact public policy through means such as online petitions, electronic polling, and crowd sourcing endeavors.

Challenges and Limitations:

The advent of digital media has undeniably facilitated social activism; however, it has also brought about new complexities and constraints. Enduring issues encompass the dissemination of inaccurate information and the exploitation of societal perspectives via fabricated news and online provocateurs. Algorithms that priorities interaction, yet perpetuate insular communities, are deficient in the crucial diversity of opinion required for a robust democracy. Furthermore, the persistence of the digital divide presents a challenge for underrepresented communities to engage in the digital era to its fullest extent.

The emergence of social media on a global scale has facilitated the emergence of various movements and the exchange and deliberation of ideas across different regions (Greijdanus, et. al. 2020). The complete realization of the potential for positive social change that digital media offers necessity the resolution of its associated problems and limitations.

Commentary

‘Power’ in and around media

Power is an important idea in today's world of online activism, social media, and democratic government. Media practices, public opinion, and democratic procedures are all deeply entangled with power dynamics. Within this framework, let's investigate the many forms of authority that permeate the media industry.

Dissemination Power: In the modern day, media outlets wield tremendous influence in influencing public narratives and spreading knowledge. The proliferation of social media has posed a threat to established media monopolies by giving a platform to previously silenced individuals and groups (Boulianne, et. al. 2020). However, both established media organizations and social media platforms' use of algorithmic algorithms give them the ability to influence and alter the information their users see and hear.

Power to Amplify Marginalized Voices: Digital media has given underrepresented communities a platform from which to be heard and tell their stories. It has given underrepresented groups a platform from which to dispute mainstream narratives and draw attention to pressing social concerns that were previously ignored by the media. People's voices are being heard and demands for change are being heard loud and clear thanks to social action on digital platforms.

Power of Mobilization and Collective Action: The capacity for mass mobilization and collective action has been greatly enhanced by the rise of digital media. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been helpful in bringing people together, coordinating protests, and spreading awareness about important social concerns (Rayimov, 2021). The internet gives activists a global platform from which to rally support for their causes and organize groups of people to take action. Social movement dynamics have been altered, and democratic procedures have been impacted, by the potency of mobilization and collective action.

Accountability Potential: Thanks to digital media, ordinary people now have a way to put government officials on the spot. By connecting citizens with their elected representatives and government agencies, social media is helping to create a more representative democracy. It has made it easier for people to raise their voices, demand accountability, and question the decisions of those in power. Increased transparency and responsiveness from people in power thanks to the capacity of accountability through digital media has contributed to the upholding of democratic norms.

Power Imbalances and Challenges: While the rise of digital media has undoubtedly opened up previously inaccessible channels of influence, it has also brought with it new difficulties and exacerbated existing power differences (Persily and Tucker, 2020). Public discourse can be distorted and democratic processes can be undermined when power is concentrated in the hands of a few tech companies, algorithmic biases, and the dissemination of misinformation are allowed to flourish. When underprivileged groups have restricted access to digital tools, it exacerbates existing inequalities.

To use digital media for positive social change and to make democracy more open and accessible to all, it is crucial to understand and negotiate these power relations.

Contemporary social issues with digital and social media

Changes in our society have been spurred on by digital media and social action, but these developments have also given rise to a number of new societal problems. The influence of the internet and social media on political participation, grassroots organising, and society at large has given rise to these problems.

One of the most important problems is the wide dispersion of false information through online and social media channels. The rapid spread of misinformation can distort the truth and erode public trust. This threatens democracies because it prevents people from making well-informed decisions and can sway public opinion. Platforms, users, and society at large must work together to address this problem by encouraging media literacy, fact-checking, and responsible sharing of information. Echo chambers and filter bubbles, in which people only see or hear things that confirm their own preexisting beliefs and worldviews, are common outcomes of digital media platforms (Pangrazio and Sefton-Green, 2021). This furthers preexisting prejudices and deepens socioeconomic divisions. Digital communications have the potential to unintentionally widen social divides, rather than bridge them. To solve this problem, people need to actively seek out alternative points of view, have productive conversations, and advocate for platforms that feature diverse material.

Because of the anonymity and separation afforded by the internet, some people may feel more emboldened to engage in cyber bullying and online harassment. Hate speech, threats, and the singling out of vulnerable groups are all too common on social media. This problem hinders the democratic and open character of online communities, in addition to affecting the well-being of individuals. Stronger anti-harassment regulations, improved reporting mechanisms, and an environment where users are encouraged to treat each other with kindness and compassion are all things that platforms should work to achieve.

Concerns over privacy and data security are warranted in light of digital media companies' prodigious data gathering and usage of user information. Users' data can be used for manipulating their behavior, conducting surveillance, or displaying tailored advertisements. Individuals' right to privacy and independence are at stake when there is a lack of insight into and management of data practices. In order to uphold users' rights and preserve confidence, digital media platforms must take precautions to protect their users' privacy and implement strong data security procedures. Inequitable Access and the Digital Divide The digital divide, the gap between those who have and do not have access to digital technology, exacerbates preexisting social inequities (Sinpeng, 2021). Marginalized communities are hindered in their engagement in social activism and democratic processes by a lack of access to digital and social media platforms. Efforts are needed to increase internet availability, provide digital literacy training, and ensure equitable distribution of resources in order to bridge the digital gap. Digital media companies' use of algorithms to filter content can lead to the perpetuation of prejudices and the manipulation of users' experiences. Existing disparities, discriminatory practices, and societal divisions can be exacerbated by algorithmic prejudice. Further, algorithmic manipulation for nefarious ends might weaken democratic procedures. These problems can be alleviated by increasing openness and accountability in algorithmic systems and by encouraging greater variety in technological innovation.

Reflection on media use based on media diary

Reflection on My Media Use: Exploring the Interplay of Digital Media, Social Activism, and Democracy

I have kept a media diary throughout the semester to reflect on my experiences with digital media and the topics we have covered in class. Reviewing my journal, I've come to appreciate the intricate web of connections between my digital media consumption, social activism, and democratic ideals. As a first observation, I've seen how powerfully internet platforms can amplify social movements. Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram have helped me stay abreast of current events and find groups of people who share my values. Seeing how new forms of communication give a platform to underrepresented groups and aid in the development of global movements has been a fascinating experience (Hesmondhalgh, 2019). I've gained a sense of empowerment and the satisfaction of making a difference in the world by signing petitions, contributing to online discussions, and spreading awareness about important issues.

My media blog has also shown the potential pitfalls and limitations of digital media in the service of democracy. Persistent problems with disinformation and fake news necessitate constant monitoring and analytical thinking. I now understand how important it is to double-check my facts, check my sources, and share appropriately. It is critical to raise awareness about the need of media literacy and to hold social media sites accountable for their part in the fight against fake news. I've also struggled with the problems of polarization and echo chambers. Although the internet provides me with access to a wide variety of viewpoints, I often find myself trapped in a "echo chamber," only exposed to material that confirms my own opinions (Appel, et. al. 2020). Because of this, I make it a point to seek out people who disagree with me and have civil discussions with them. This is an effort to confront my own biases and promote a more welcoming and accepting online community.

My media journal has also prompted some introspection on the nature of media power. Concerns regarding privacy, data security, and algorithmic bias arise as a result of the concentration of power in the hands of a few digital firms. Transparency, user control over personal data, and ethical technology development are all things of which I am now more aware. It is crucial that everyone be able to take part in social activity and political processes, but the digital divide and unequal access to digital media have made it clear how crucial it is to close this gap.

The power of the internet to magnify individual voices, galvanise mass action, and encourage citizens to take part in our democracy has been on full display (Torous, et. al. 2021). At the same time, it has illuminated the obstacles and constraints that must be overcome to create a digital environment where everyone feels safe and welcome.

References

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  • Appel, G., Grewal, L., Hadi, R. and Stephen, A.T., 2020. The future of social media in marketing.Journal of the Academy of Marketing science,48(1), pp.79-95.
  • Boulianne, S., Koc-Michalska, K. and Bimber, B., 2020. Right-wing populism, social media and echo chambers in Western democracies.New media & society,22(4), pp.683-699.
  • Dwyer, M. and Molony, T. eds., 2019.Social media and politics in Africa: Democracy, censorship and security. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Freelon, D., Marwick, A. and Kreiss, D., 2020. False equivalencies: Online activism from left to right.Science,369(6508), pp.1197-1201.
  • Greijdanus, H., de Matos Fernandes, C.A., Turner-Zwinkels, F., Honari, A., Roos, C.A., Rosenbusch, H. and Postmes, T., 2020. The psychology of online activism and social movements: Relations between online and offline collective action.Current opinion in psychology,35, pp.49-54.
  • Hesmondhalgh, D., 2019. Have digital communication technologies democratized the media industries?.Media and society, pp.101-120.
  • Jungherr, A., Rivero, G. and Gayo-Avello, D., 2020.Retooling politics: How digital media are shaping democracy. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ladeiras-Lopes, R., Baciu, L., Grapsa, J., Sohaib, A., Vidal-Perez, R., Bohm, A., Silvola, H., Gimenez, M.R., Muscoli, S., Wallner, M. and Rakisheva, A., 2020. Social media in cardiovascular medicine: a contemporary review.European Heart Journal-Digital Health,1(1), pp.10-19.
  • Lindner, R. and Aichholzer, G., 2020. E-democracy: Conceptual foundations and recent trends.European e-democracy in practice, pp.11-45.
  • Pangrazio, L. and Sefton-Green, J., 2021. Digital rights, digital citizenship and digital literacy: What’s the difference?.NAER: Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research,10(1), pp.15-27.
  • Persily, N. and Tucker, J.A. eds., 2020. Social media and democracy: The state of the field, prospects for reform.
  • Rayimov, A.A., 2021. Social Aspects Of The Formation Of Social Activity In Youth.Oriental Journal of Social Sciences,1(1), pp.29-32.
  • Sinpeng, A., 2021. Hashtag activism: social media and the# FreeYouth protests in Thailand.Critical Asian Studies,53(2), pp.192-205.
  • Torous, J., Bucci, S., Bell, I.H., Kessing, L.V., Faurholt?Jepsen, M., Whelan, P., Carvalho, A.F., Keshavan, M., Linardon, J. and Firth, J., 2021. The growing field of digital psychiatry: current evidence and the future of apps, social media, chatbots, and virtual reality.World Psychiatry,20(3), pp.318-335.
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