I don’t watch a lot of television. This is partly because I live in university accommodation where I have to share a television with hundreds of other students, and partly because I can’t stand a large portion of the shows currently holding airtime. And of all the genres available, it’s reality TV that really grinds my gears.
In this television sort, selections of over-embellished citizens paint crude representations of the public sphere. In their ‘reality’ the viewers see them churn through their daily traumas resulting from irresponsible affairs, gratuitous shopping sprees and flamboyant social events – brain-deadening entertainment that offers amusement to viewers who are desensitised to greater global issues.
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. Shows such as Big Brother and Keeping Up With The Kardashians appeal to me about as much as swimming through a sea of stinging jellyfish does, but somehow I seem to be in the minority. I am immensely glad that when I want some insight on public opinion (on a topic of my choice – NOT about the latest Kardashian affair) I only have to look to the online forum.
If there’s one huge benefit of our contemporary media conditions, it’s the universal accessibility of information. The negative aspects of online communication facilities such as Facebook and twitter will forever be scrutinised, but it can’t be ignored that these sites have opened up opportunities for group discussions, sharing of information and instantaneous news updates that were previously unheard of. While it remains necessary to discerningly filter through online material to find reliable sources, it is refreshing that we can now have access to unedited public commentary on any subject. The fact that people can voice their opinions (and be educated of the general public opinion) through comments made on blogs, online news articles, YouTube videos etc. is liberating when compared to the otherwise censored distribution of commercial news forums, or – dare I mention – the cringe worthy discussions generated in reality television series.
At the commencement of my BMC110 studies, perhaps this was the most refreshing (and naïve) thing to hit me. I had never before sought out opinion pieces such as blogs as a source of public commentary – I didn’t have twitter, and didn’t even fully understand the value of Facebook in distributing and selling information.
I can thank my parents for having brought me up in full awareness of negative media effects. However, I still found it very interesting to look further into the theories surrounding the development of the media effects model – in particular, the use of research such as the Bobo Doll experiment, which was defectively designed to achieve a certain end result.
I’ve always enjoyed the analysis of controversial media content so I found Week 3’s content particularly interesting and loved searching for material for my blog. The following week was the most informative week for me however, focussing on media control in Australia. I had never realised the shocking extent to which our news sources are limited! I definitely endeavour to have a much more judicious attitude towards my reception of any ‘news’ since that class!
Overall, the start of BCM110 has delivered all the goods; I’ve gained a greater understanding of the functioning of the Australian media system and I look forward to delving deeper into the subject next term.