The online mass media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat control how strangers view others through the ‘lens of prejudice.’ By viewing through this lens of prejudice, we are only judged by what others see online—the number of followers, views, and likes on different social media platforms.
In the article, “A Social Cognitive Approach to Traditional Media Content and Social Media Use: Selfie-related Behaviour as Competitive Strategy,” Stefanone et al. explore the term ‘selfie,’ which is defined as a term of image-centric self-presentation behaviour. Often, we feel pressured into uploading contents not only to fulfill our desires, but to keep the media updated on what we have been up to. Stefanone et al. support this claim by stating that individuals post contents to achieve social rewards and for the benefits–such as social validation, self-expression, and relational development. Watching TED Talk shared by ColeVonn, Tristan Harris argues that everyone cares about self-presentation for the sake of receiving attention. I agree with Harris’s opinion that keeping up with the media only makes us mentally tired. All for the attention, medias promote unique eye-catching advertisements and influencers post contents that consumers would be interested in. Receiving attention is a sine qua non in producers’ lives, because they make a living by taking away consumers’ time. Often, famous individuals post extreme contents to receive attention, but negative consequences follow in harming their health and mentality.
We relate this topic of media influencing our psychological perception to a famous Netflix film: “Black Mirror: Nosedive.” This film is about competing to achieve a high rating in order to be treated ‘humanly.’ With low ratings, they are treated less than a dust in the air—unable to talk to anyone, ignored and criticized everywhere they go. Unfortunately, our reality is not as distinct from the message that this film tries to portray. Stefanone et al. argue that before uploading any form of content on a media platform, only the best digital images qualify for distribution. Personally, I do agree with this statement; everyone only wants to show the ‘good side’ of themselves, rather than the negatives. This is especially common for many celebrities and influencers; every little mistakes and runaways are unacceptable. The power of commenting anonymously allows celebrities and influencers to be heavily criticized for their wrongdoing. Mass media is prevalent in how it can both positively and negatively take over an individual’s life.
The negative perceptions of mass media platform are supported by Garcia et al.’s article. Garcia et al. argue that our tendencies to self-evaluate by comparing ourselves to others occur frequently, thus leading to competitive attitudes. Many bring themselves down due to dissatisfaction in appearances and personalities. I agree with ksteu‘s opinion, because I also believe that media lives are planned situations to make our real lives seem better, as our lives become dominated by attention. Only portraying the positives even on our worst days, we no longer make our lives a reality, but a life that we admire. As the mass media continues to take control over us, we strive to fit into the frame that we’ve built.