How media shapes my life

I was born in media. I grew up within media. Everything around my life is about media. It used to be all about like, reactions, comments, who had the most compare to others. They became “hot Facebook” and gave themselves the invisible power, which everyone needed to follow them. It became a norm in my surrounding community, and I’m not too fond of it.

I started using media since I was seven. At that time, in Vietnam, we had another social media called “Zing Me”. That social media platform was similar to Facebook, but it had already developed a number of games and applicants inside it. Living in that community, I felt like somehow we could show off our true personalities because we appeared anonymously. No one actually knew about our survival. We went there, chitchat with a person, a group we didn’t know their face for a long time, but our stories were shared like we were soulmates. I really enjoyed these golden days.

With an excuse to connect with the global, the Vietnamese immigrated to Facebook when I was twelve-year-old. We were asked to use our real name, but not our insides anymore. People started to show off everything they had, bullied the one they did not like, and gave them the right to rule the community without knowledge. All of these actions actually ruined the online community.

Growing up in a traditional family, attending a traditional specialized class, everyone applied their standard, norms, and values to my life. I was told not to express myself, I was told not to become different than others, I was said to be domestic science, and I was forced to give up my dream. If I did not do that, my parents and classmates would kick me out of the whole family. For the readers, it could be seen as a threat, but it was true. At that time, I was into cosplay – “an activity and performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character”; but it was seen as a depraved culture for others. Everyone around me rejected that. The more I opposed them, the more they rejected me. To isolate me from my passion and interests, my parents confiscated my phone and laptop. For them, the internet, newspaper, and online media were not necessary for both personal and professional development. It means that media had negative influences on my life. To isolate me from the class, a group of students trolled me on Facebook with negative language and comparison. Everything accumulated at the same time, which made me want to suicide. I hate it. With bad memories with media, I used to hate it so much. I do not understand why people acted like that; why didn’t they open to something new. 

However, the media did save my life. For the first time, there was a friend came to me and asked whether I wanted to become a designer. Of course, I love to draw, and I was desperate about my surrounding, so I accepted. It was the very first time, I recognized that media did help the world; people are actually working with it to solve the problems which I experienced. For the first time after a while, I enjoy using Facebook to raise awareness about self-love, self-protection, and so on. And through my role, I could deliver several stories and perspectives that contributed toward that community. Furthermore, I also realised that media can be shaped by the users, positive or negative content does not depend on the providers nor the surrounding community. That is the reason why I love media, and I want to continue with it. 

I understand that we live in media, and media just exaggerates harmful activities. There are several cases even worse than mine. Therefore I want to do something, learn something which I can have a deeper understanding about media. And from that, I can minimize the drawback of media and improve the user behaviors.

From 13535137 – Irene Bui


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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