Why I love and fear the media

By now, 2021, media has become a big part of our life. The people are more connected than ever in the history of humankind. We connect with other people and various services with few touches on the screen, being able to share feelings and stories across the whole world. Many love the media. I love the media. But, some fear the media at the same time.

Media helped people to overcome the restriction of space that exists in human interaction. It allowed people to connect to those who are outside of their town, but the whole globe.

It further connected us to many of the already existing services such as the news, weathers, maps, shops, in an elevated form through the internet, which provided the room for those services with much easier access and use for the people. Many of us love the media for such reasons- it connected us to one another, variety of services in just few touches, elevating the quality of life. Of course, with exception of people that were in charge of the old forms of such services -newspapers and paper maps.

But even the many started to fear the media when people began to know how exploitable the media was. Let’s look at one of the biggest media platform – Facebook. While having over 2 billion active users world wide, Facebook is often criticized. Why? Well, remember Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting with the U.S senators? While media provided such convenience in our life for “free”, it wasn’t really costless. Instead of charging money for those services, they charged us our information.

Most of the media services such as Google, Facebook, YouTube are driven by advertisers who pay those platforms to share their ads. Those firms with established community of people will allow the ads to be exposed to people. Enabling more spending from the people allows the market to grow bigger. During this process, those firms want to deliver the ads that are suited to us the most. They want to know whether I’m interested in video games rather than Nike shoes.

Media platforms seeked for more of our information, and accumulated them as their assets. This seemed pretty harmless other than hackers holding hostage of such information for blackmailing time to time. But the case of Cambridge Analytica showed how threatening it is with their use of our information. Long story short, they were able to politically sway a lot people into voting for their candidate during some U.S elections, by analyzing the “persuadable” online population and bombarding them with political ads.

Even after those event, I love the media. Many still love the media for the convenience, connections it provides. However, I also fear for what’s coming next. How will the media firms try to maintain and increase our connections in the future, and what will this lead us to?



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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