Media Mental Breakdown

I feel like I’m going insane! In this day and age it is almost impossible to go without any kind of media for two whole days! While the majority of my exposure to media is completely voluntary, I realized that there is a good portion of media that I’m exposed to that is involuntary. It’s hard to avoid glancing at posters that line the halls of the dorms as I’m passing by. It’s also hard to stay away from media when you’re a Mass Communications major and a good portion of your grade depends on staying connected.

In the modern school setting, many teachers use e-mail, Blackboard, or other websites to stay connected with students, remind them of upcoming assignments, and to make announcements. In every single one of my classes I would fall behind if I went much longer than two days without access to various accounts. I would forget that we were meeting in the library for a class period or miss an announcement that we need to bring our books to class.

For fear of missing an important e-mail or announcement like the ones mentioned above, I was not very successful with avoiding media. Not only that, but my days were so boring! We live in a society that is very depend on media for entertainment. When charting my media usage for my Media Use blog, I realized that I used media for about 90% of my waking hours. I use it to keep up on news, my favorite TV shows and to listen to music.

Going without music is what was REALLY driving me insane. It is almost impossible for me to go to the gym and not listen to music. Exercising is something that I enjoy doing, but it’s only enjoyable for me if I can focus on a TV or a song from my iPod rather than my escalating heart rate. This made me realize how dependent on media I am in order to even do simple tasks and other activities I enjoy.

I know that it’s not just me that is dependent on media, many others are dependent on it too. Some more so than others. Many have tried to avoid media and failed. In present day it is so hard to avoid media without feeling bored, like you’re missing something, or like you’re out of the loop.

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Sleeping with the Enemy

Media never sleeps and it’s everywhere! From the moment we wake up till we lay back down at night, we are exposed to all kinds of media. Some of us are even sleeping with our cellphones and other media devices in our hands! Whether the radio wakes you up or your cellphone alarm does, media and electronic device are what begins your day.

I wake up in the morning to the alarm on my phone, check my e-mail, check various

social networking sites, and pass multiple posters in the hallway of my dorm before I’ve even brushed my teeth! Until I was asked to be aware of the media around me I had no idea that I was even being exposed to media in certain aspects of my life. I realized that I could still recognize what products were being advertised on a billboard that I hadn’t even paid attention to. Whether we’re using certain products or not, most people can still identify logos and slogans of certain brands.

This identification is great for companies and advertisers! Pretend you have never had to buy any kind of cleaning product and never paid much attention to any advertisements for them because it was irrelevant. Now, pretend that you’ve bought your first home and its beginning to get dirty, all of a sudden you remember a cute little Swiffer ad featuring a piece of “dirt” wondering if love will ever come their way. Brands use mass media to get their names out there whether we pay attention to it or not. They use slogans and catchy advertisements to get you to buy their products or at least remember their product in the hopes that one day you’ll need it. Brands are all hoping that they’ll have the catchiest and most recognized name in their products field.

Being the most recognized really helps to put them ahead of the competition. Other ways that brands put themselves ahead of the competition is by being aggressive. Instead of waiting for a consumer to turn on the TV or radio to receive their ad, they’re sending ads directly to the consumer’s phone. One of the newest ways companies are reaching consumers is advertising through mobile devices. I never thought that this applied to me because I don’t have a smart phone or even a phone that access the internet, but it does. I am an American Eagle rewards member and one day I got a text message from a strange number, as it turns out it was them notifying me of a sale that was going on that weekend. Pretty soon, we will all be getting ads sent directly to our phones just like we get spam sent to our e-mails. Even magazines and TV are becoming more about ads and less about actual content.

This bombardment of ads exposes consumers to products. More often than not we choose brands we recognize over ones that we don’t recognize. This influences what we wear, what we eat, and what products we use. Proving that our media habits heavily influences the choices that we make in day to day life.

Hooked like A Fish!

Social media companies want us! By saying that social media companies want us, I’m really trying to say that what they really want is our business. The movie Media History: The story of film, TV, and media explained that the popularity of social media was due to commercial drive. It was all about businesses using mass media in order to make a profit.

Let’s face it, businesses do a great job of capturing our attention by using media. I know that one of the main reasons that Americans watch the Super Bowl is to check out the hilarious and clever commercials. Businesses know that if you’re sitting on

your couch watching TV and you see a hot, delicious sandwich on the screen, you’re going to get hungry and probably have a craving for their product. It’s a smart strategy that seems to work every time.

Strategies like this don’t only apply to TV commercials, they apply to every type of media and have since the beginning of mass media. Long before the radio was even invented, businesses used newspapers to advertise their products. Tradesmen used print ads to let the buyers know what kind of services and goods they had to offer and at what price. Even neighboring towns had ads to let the surrounding community know of upcoming events. Communication and what information we were exposed to changed drastically.

This change in exposure has never stopped evolving. In the movie, made in 1998, one of the commentators mentioned that it is not impossible to think that one day we could have the internet, TV, and advertisements in the palm of our hand. Flash forward to present day, we have smart phones that have just about every type of function that you

could possibly think about. This has created an ideal situation for advertisers. They’re with us 24/7 not only are they everywhere we look, they’re in the palm of our hands. Businesses can advertise their products to us anytime of day, anywhere, and using all kinds of mediums. This exposure has us hooked on their products and they know it!

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