As everyone else here, I grew up with a huge influx of media basically raising me.
I ♡ my media. I really do.
I may have my romantic, nostalgic memories of playing Minecraft with no worries on my mind when I was younger.
I still enjoy playing this game and building contraptions until I forget the very concept of time and realize, full of regret, that it’s 3am already and I must attend my lecture in just a couple of hours.
I am a fan of a variety of different series that I binge-watch once a new season comes out, talking to everybody I know and annoying the hell out of them while I ramble for what seems like an eternity.
I use Reddit on the bus just observing what the world has been up to or just mindlessly scrolling through memes while listening to Megalovania for the third time this ride.
I remember getting into trouble with my dad because I bought a ringtone from the teletext for 10€ because of my technical illiteracy. Good times.
Although this blog posts name is “Why I ♡ my media”, this isn’t only about love. Your heart may carry a lot of different complex emotions, love not being the only one. This is about concerns.
I deleted Instagram for my own betterment. Constantly checking what everyone does, seeing how perfect their lives may seem in front of the camera, always comparing them to yourself, that really messes with you. Setting unrealistic standards that are impossible to achieve, concluding that you are not good enough.
After a change of heart, I redownloaded Instagram once I knew that I would move to Amsterdam for sure. Before I arrived, I wanted to make sure to be connected to as many people as possible. Awkwardly opening DMs by answering to their stories. Asking where that specific restaurant was where they have gotten their superb looking Bitterballen from, just to strike up a conversation. Knowing no one in this city before arriving, this was the only option.
Your very personal data; stored everywhere. Nowadays, you register a profile just feeding the website of your choice so much information about yourself without even thinking about what you are doing anymore. You probably don’t even remember all the sites you have given your confidential information to.
Just one example: You sign up on Spotify, use it for a month and this data bubble knows you better than your therapist, your family or even yourself. If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I should be impressed or intimidated by the sheer amount of power a cluster of information like this can provide.
But that can’t be. They don’t really know me. Right? And if they do, am I not just a number? Am I a small cog in a clockwork full of data? Is it even that bad that they have all my info? It’s not like Google is telling my mom what I was searching for.
We post every aspect of our lives, distributing information for the world to see, generating a huge amount of revenue for those platforms. Voluntary, unpaid work. The only payment you’ll ever see as an amateur is the short burst of dopamine you get when you see that your arguably funny post on Reddit got 14 upvotes.
Our greed is fuelling a never-ending consumption culture and even more so the exploitation of underpaid workers who suffer every day to bring us the new iPhone. Unethical working conditions, suicide among those workers, already rare minerals getting scarcer and scarcer, fucking up our already screwed planet even more, the list goes on. We often forget what happens in the background so some of us can have their shiny new phone each year with barely improved features and hardware. But hey, at least the new camera zoom goes to 6x instead of 4x.
Even if this train of thoughts got dark suddenly, we must appreciate the technological advancements that have been achieved in the last decades. We can connect with peers across the globe just by moving a mouse cursor. Talking to them face to face, meeting new people that may live more than 1000 kilometres away from you and playing your favourite games with them in real time (although sometimes with a frustrating delay), even if an entire ocean may be separating you from them. Since the pandemic started, there has been a huge revolution in the digital landscape. Education experienced a huge overhaul and became an online experience all of a sudden, people started working from home, a concept which would have been considered a luxury before. The sudden boom of software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, people making progress over an online shared spreadsheet: All of this because of urgency to not endanger the weak and old.
We’ve seen a lot of positive and negative aspects of the medial landscape, which may lead to the ultimate question of “Is Media good or bad for us?”. It neither is good nor bad. The impact media has in our society is astonishingly complex and not a simple black and white imagery. If we live in a utopia (regarding the technological advancements that have happened during the past couple of decades with an even more promising landscape for future innovation) or in a dystopia (workers in Africa suffering from exploitation, others experiencing body dysmorphia because of unrealistic beauty standards), that is up for you to decide.
All I can say, is that I really, really ♡ my media.
Miguel Witek, 13743643