Media Consumption Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Media

In a one day diary of media consumption, it becomes evident that many of my interactions with the world are via media. I receive most of my information through media forms as well. Even when relaxing, media is something that drives the process. There is also a lot of passive consumption of media in my daily life. My media consumption will be analyzed through the lens of different media theories.

Turow

Turow argues that media and advertisers have become exceptionally adept since the 1970s at understanding audiences, their consumption patterns, and how to exploit these. For our part as audience, we have much less understanding of our own consumption patterns. This exercise was the first time that I had really given thought to my daily media exposure, only to realize that my use of media is constant, throughout the day, and sometimes very passive. I used media forms as intermediary between myself and my friends, but also between myself and the world.

The journal was particularly insightful with respect to the passive media consumption. For example when I listened to the public radio, I had no idea what I was going to be exposed to, so I learned a few bits of information that I had not intended to learn. The same occurred when I went to watch the game. There were multiple screens, so I was exposed to programming that was in the background, like the Baseball shows by Ken Burns. I had not sought out that programming, but was exposed to it through my environment.

Turow notes that media starts to dictate
...One's choice in media reflects and determines lifestyle; the two are difficult to separate. In my 24-hour period, I consumed media from left wing and right wing sources, and it is easy to see how consumption of media exclusively from one source or another would have a profound influence on one's worldview, because many media forms are trying to sell you something. If not a product, then they are selling you an idea or a lifestyle, as Turow notes. When you become a consumer of a given lifestyle, today there is typically enough of that culture to consume that you can easily become segregated into that lifestyle. I listened to a Rush Limbaugh rant, and I watched a basketball game. If I wanted, I could listen to right wing rants all day and all night; if I wanted I could consume sports 24 hours a day as well. Thus, it is easy to have an entire lifestyle built around specific media products. This represents a significant change from Turow's description of how media used to be consumed, and it represents an attempt to polarize America by splitting people into easily-defined consumption groups.

Social Networking

Fenton (n.d.) describes how we are becoming networked through media, and I found this as well. I was able to utilize fairly direct channels -- phone calls, texts and emails -- to communicate directly with my friends. But even these channels are typically tied into advertisers. For example, Yahoo email is used. Yahoo gathers information about me, and to them I am a captive audience that they can sell things to. But my interactions with the rest of the world were governed even more strongly by networks. When a lifestyle is created, that opens the door to network with other people in that community. But that of itself is a form of self-selection that results in a limited scope of people with whom I would interact. I can relate to people on…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Turow, J. (1997). Breaking up America University of Chicago Press: Chicago.

Fenton, N. (no date). The internet and social networking. In possession of the author.

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