Throughout this weeks readings I couldn’t help but notice the mostly positive tone in which the articles were framed. People are often quick to jump on the idea that the Media ecology that has opened up throughout the 20th and 21st century have many positive attributes in terms of us the audience becoming the new ‘big brother’ in terms of news, government and corporations.
“The concepts of transparency, participation and collaboration are all producing profound culture change – information that was once protected by insiders and vested interests is now potentially available to all. Big Brother is us.” (Deitz, Milissa (2010) ‘The New Media Ecology’)
While this could ring true for some I fear that some audiences might be under a false sense of enlightenment when it comes to global issues. Is it true that as an audience we are more aware and educated on global and political issues?
Jakob Von Uexkull opens his study by painting a picture of the idea of stepping into a beautiful garden where we can breath in our surrounding environment. He then talks about zooming in and focusing on one tiny little soap bubble that represents a small creature’s understanding of their surroundings.
I would pose the question about how much the average media user knows and understands about the media ecology at large. From this weeks readings I couldn’t help but think about media users being stuck in their own media bubble, their own little Umwelt. I feel this poses a problem if we only receive information from within our own bubble and not by and large the whole media environment. Thus giving a false sense of being up to date with current affairs. Yes I agree that a PROACTIVE media user can become a ‘big brother’ like being. Of course this could be done by cross checking sources and searching far and wide for lots of differing information and opinions on global / political issues. But I would suggest that not allot of media users are always active. Some might take on a largely passive role. That being that they only receive information from their own little media bubble. One’s media bubble or surrounding is made up of opinions and ideas they already hold as their own.Therefor trapped in their perceptual and effector world.
For example with the elections happening in American right now are Americans as a whole more politically educated because the rise of media and the internet? Or have they surrounded themselves with media platforms that already hold the same view as them thus reaffirming their already held opinions. For example republicans would be likely to have friends and family who hold same political views as them therefore there Facebook newsfeed would contain a high majority of pro republican based opinions, news articles, pictures, memes, videos, click bait as well as potential advertising. Adding on to that the sorts of people they would be likely to follow on Twitter and Instagram would be again reaffirming their ideas. Hence one is only exposed to the sorts of information that one allows to enter into their own media bubble. Giving a false sense of being informed and educated.
Bateson, Gregory (2000) ‘A Theory of Play and Fantasy’, Steps to an Ecology of Mind Chicago: Chicago University Press: 177-183
Deitz, Milissa (2010) ‘The New Media Ecology’, On Line Opinion: Australia’s e-journal of social and political
Media Ecology Association ‘What is Media Ecology’ <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/>
Milberry, Kate (n.d.) ‘Media Ecology’, Oxford Bibliographies, <http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756841/obo-9780199756841-0054.xml#>
von Uexküll, Jakob (1992 ) ‘A stroll through the worlds of animals and men: A picture book of invisible worlds’,Semiotica, 89(4): 319-391