Media are actually really cool

When we talk about media, we often focus on “the big picture” – the influence of media on global politics, how they can manipulate elections all around the world, and how the internet is full of fake news, but we often forget about the little day-to-day emotions and ideas that emerge from all kinds of media.

Those little personal, emotional, and powerful pieces are what make media so important to me.
Media are a melting pot of creativity and ideas that offers anything to anyone: all kinds of emotions, content, and people. Sad? Here, listen to this playlist. Just want to turn off your brain for a moment? YouTube has a funny meme compilation for you. You want to become an activist? Here’s this website with a lot of information. Oh, and by the way: your favourite artist just released a song about this exact topic, maybe there’s an active group chat where you can meet people with the same interests and concerns?

I discovered many of my hobbies and interests through media and met so many new people and communities from all around the world.

When I was still a little kid, my mum gave me a DVD from a concert by David Garrett (a famous German violinist) as a Christmas present, and the music and skill of David fascinated me up to a point where I told her: “Mum, I want violin lessons.”
Today, almost a decade later, I lost count on how many times I watched that DVD and my violin is one of the most important things to me. I’m not sure if I would have discovered that hobby without media and I’m certain that I would have never met some of my best friends.


As I grew older, I discovered YouTube and other social media platforms. I take a significant amount of my creative inspiration from those platforms, for example through (music) videos, movies, #drawthisinyourstyle on Instagram, fan edits and memes. Currently, I am working on an artwork that is inspired by one of my favourite songs. The possibility of talking about it on Discord with other creative people I met online is something I wouldn’t want to give up. Having access to those platforms enriches and influences my life in certain areas.

But online media also made me aware of how people handle social and political issues in a different way than traditional news broadcasts or newspapers:
I love social media because they make things like Loot für die Welt [loot for the world], Friendly Fire, or #Swap possible.
Those are all German fundraising gaming events on Twitch, mostly organized by content creators and streamers, that raised a significant amount of money for different issues/organizations:

  1. Loot für die Welt: raised around 360.000 euro in 2020
  2. Friendly Fire: the 2020 edition raised over 1,5 million euro
  3. #Swap: raised around 450.000 euro for the victims of the recent floods in Germany

Seeing that so many young, creative people are interested in those topics and want to help by educating their communities and combining their interests and realities into a big charity event is a great feeling. Young people do care – maybe even more than ever before.

It makes me happy that people use social media to voice their concerns about important topics like the climate change in creative ways that fit their communities and that, at least in Germany, a massive amount of young people got invested into politics in one way or another since rezo (a German Youtuber) uploaded a very well researched video on the current state of politics in 2019, that went viral in a few days (unfortunately, it’s only available in German):

This video is one of my all-time favourites on YouTube, because I think it is an important contribution to the (political) discussion among young people. It inspired so many people not to be apathetic anymore, to stand up and tell the world: “We are here, and we need to change some things!”

Of course, saying that media makes everything better and that this is the ultimate solution to every problem, political or not, would be naïve – but seeing those sparks of positivity media may give hope to people when everything else in there seems to be negative once again.

That is what I really like about media. Besides all the negative things we see in our feeds every day, there is so much more out there – you just have to look for it. All those little individual pieces of media attached to a positive emotion, event, memory, or good deed are the little stars that light up our incredibly diverse media landscape. And even if your funny cat video won’t change anything on a global scale, it probably changed my day at some point in my life.  

All in all, I love media because they are emotional, yet rational, funny and serious at the same time – in short: they are multi-faceted and diverse.  For the good and the bad.

M.

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Published by deuzemedialife

Mediastudies, University of Amsterdam

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