Media: Imprisonment or Liberation?

Media are my gateway, my distraction and pause button from reality when everything around me seems so overwhelming and I feel so small… that’s what I thought up until now. For the longest time I have viewed my media as an escapism from unpleasant “irl” situations, but that has changed. What if their purpose is not to help me flee from reality but to help me enhance and take my reality to the next level? What if they don’t aim to dissociate me from my surroundings and numb me but instead raise my spirits? What if they do not keep me imprisoned in my own thoughts but help me transform as a person?

Funnily, the sudden shift from perceiving my media as a form of escapism to seeing it as a tool to enrich my offline experience has occured to me while riding my bike along Amsterdam’s canals at dusk. Yeah sure, riding a bike and letting your mind wander off while enjoying the views of the gloomy city is beautiful and therapeutic in itself, but have you ever tried doing it while playing the soundtrack to your life on Spotify? I’ve never felt more alive (apart from when I’m at concerts with friends I have made online, which is a whole other story, but another reason why I love my media) than when the wind brushed through my hair and the drums kicked in at the right moment. But that’s not all that’s to it… depending on what song I played I could shape the way I viewed the different parts of the city I was driving through in any way I liked. Honestly, I just felt like the main character in a music video. No… actually, in that moment I felt like I could be anyone I wanted to be. The endless possibilities of who I can be in media and the sparsely knitted social network I have created through them are another example of how media make me feel more alive and enrich my perception of reality. There are no boundaries as to who I can be, what I can like or dislike, what I can do or can’t do; it feels like I am liberated from everyone’s expectations and social norms they try to make me conform to.

Obviously, this is a more positive approach to my media life. I think consuming media isn’t all roses but for the sake of bringing more positivity into this debate I decided to stick to a more positive outlook on it.

Student number: 13569163


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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