Another World of Mass Media We Need to be Exposed to

Deepika Joshi

“Hmm,” you think to yourself. It is a day off from school and work a drops of rain patter against the roof of your house. You are curled up in your blanket with your pet snuggled against you, a cup of hot chai beside your bed, and you are decidingto use some of your newfound leisure time to scroll through the latest Buzzfeed videos on YouTube, “‘Surprising Facts About Your Period’ or ‘Loving Your Body and Your Anxiety’ or ‘9 Simple Homemade Gift Ideas’”?

The thought of opening a Buzzfeed video is mostly for the purpose of walking into the world of entertainment. Nonetheless, the “about” section of Buzzfeed itself mentions, “We strive to connect deeply with our audience, and give them news and entertainment worth sharing with their friends, family, and the people who matter in their lives.” Buzzfeed effectively entertains its audience by allowing them to relate to the content and to be blindly exposed to other cultures in the moment rather than being informative. They solely view the video as a source of entertainment. Moreover, there is another perspective of what mass media actually promotes that many of us fail to see.

While Buzzfeed does receive a lot of criticism concerning their lack of authenticity, it is undeniable that it is a prime example of how a culture of acceptance has begun to grow in our community. Videos such as “When your partner speaks broken English” and “Weird things Koreans do” give the viewers a laugh, but also an opportunity to learn new things about a culture they may have never been exposed to before. Watching these videos definitely gives us laughs and smiles but we also learn something new from these video about a culture we may have never been exposed to. We tend to dive into the entertainment aspect of mass media videos and forget to see the deeper message. Videos such as “What Dark-Skinned People Will Never Tell You”, allows one to listen from perspectives of people that are affected by colorism or discrimination, hear their experiences, and see how they cope with these situations. This is not only promoting a message against racism in today’s generation but also allows the audience to experience their feelings through their words. It allows individuals to see how much of an impact their thought about a particular ethnicity can have on a person. These videos persuade the audience to consider promoting racial harmony, understanding, and respect.

In addition to Buzzfeed, there are organizations like Tumblr, which relies on a community of bloggers that can post free of judgement. Their statement mission is to “Express yourself. Be yourself. Connect with your people” to contribute to this era through acceptance of all hate-free content. While one mentions Instagram and Facebook, in today’s world we tend to look at these mass media as a form of social media that promotes cyber bullying, distractions, comparisons and so forth. According to a New York Times article, teens say that social media “has a positive effect on their lives, helping them feel more confident, less lonely and less depressed.” However, we fail to notice the immense impact it has and continues to make throughout the nations. As stated in the article, “social media improved creativity and social awareness for our society by interacting with other people and sharing new ideas and opinions.” Although, some of us fail to recognize the amount of knowledge we take in depending on if whether or not it is a form of social interaction, news feed, or even an entertainment. Not only that, but we can be oblivious towards the role these mass media organizations have played in shaping our beliefs.

Scrolling through the news feed in Facebook, a shared event pops up and we are able to see who is interested and who will be going. This is definitely a way to simply know what a friend or a family member will be doing that day and so on. However, the platform mass media creates revolves beyond our daily lives. For instance, on January 21–22, 2017, “ The Women’s March” was held in D.C. It was not long ago that because of Facebook this event gained the attention of more than 600 people in 26 countries. However, the Women’s March was not limited to women or minorities, but invited anyone that supports equal rights. It effectively promoted how far women have come, and also showed the world many of the mistakes President Donald Trump  has made and the unfair ideologies he stands for. In addition, people were also there to stand against Trump’s harassment of women and discourtesy towards minorities. People’s posts and their captions under the discussion tab of this event in Facebook promoted all these beliefs.

Being able to see various strangers’ beliefs not just from the U.S but from many corners of the world, allows us to gain their perspective, shows us how their own culture might have shaped their beliefs on these rights, and also allows us to see the similarities among all these people regardless of their ethnicity.Who would have ever thought of gaining various knowledge from something simple as a entertainment based organization? The knowledge embodies various cultures, perspectives, current events and even something as big as humanitarian rights that needs so much more attention from all of us. Let us all think twice about the positive aspects of what these mass media are inadvertently promoting. Let us also think about how it is making teenagers and adults more accepting towards all kinds of cultures and more empathetic through something simple as a Buzzfeed video, Facebook event invitation page, an Instagram post and so on. The fact that these mass media are influencing a single individual to do something better subsequently creates endless ripples through a single drop. Have we really considered how mass media might an influential mark as it promotes ideas such as racial harmony rather then just being a form of an entertainment?