Examining New Media Use and Influence

What forms of new media do you use daily?

There is a new media epidemic in this twenty-first century and I am one of those that are not spared. I start my day by running through my calendar on my smartphone, then I listen to the local TV station for the weather. As I drive to the shuttle to take the bus, I listen to the radio (NPR) to hear some international news. During my ride on the bus to the office, I run through the pages of the newspaper, read my emails and send text messages from my smartphone .

In what ways does media reach you indirectly (through friends, co-workers, etc.)?

Media reach me directly through the television, text from friends, news headlines from my smartphone, co-workers and family.

Do you think that media influences your perspective of world events?

       There is no doubt that media influences my perspective of world events. The Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other African countries in 2014 put everyone around the world on the edge. The news of how deadly this disease is was constantly all over the radio, newspapers, internet, with some breaking news every now and then. People became apprehensive that the disease might get to the United States and when the first Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly was brought to the United States (Emory University Hospital), people became more apprehensive and afraid of travelling outside the country. Some public places like the hospitals started asking their patients if they had been to Africa or in contact with anyone who had been to Africa before registering them.


Do you believe that the media has the power to tell you what to think about, but not what to think?

       I believe that the media has the power to manipulate our thinking. The media has the power to tell us what to think and also what to think about. When the media started focusing on the dangers of smoking, most people started taking a more critical look at the health dangers of smoking.

Can media shape your beliefs? If not, explain. If yes, to what degree? Is the influence strong and direct—for example, if a newscaster told you to go jump off a bridge, would you do it? Or are your beliefs cultivated over time through continued exposure, resulting in small but measureable effects?

Media no doubt, shapes our beliefs to the degree that we allow it to shape our beliefs. Media’s influence can be both strong and direct or indirect. If a newscaster told me to jump off a bridge, I would not do it because I know that I would die (I am not ready to die now) if I do so, but for someone else, the idea of jumping from the bridge can come in handy if for any reason this person thinks of killing himself. He might then remember the newscaster’s idea of jumping off the bridge and might consider doing so.

Are these positive or negative influences?

These are both positive and negative influences. The example of the dangers of smoking is positive, as most people are forced to become consistently aware. They would see the advertisement about the dangers of smoking on their smartphone, local, cable or international news, newspapers, alerts on the internet.

How have information revolutions resulted in ways of knowledge changing or remaining the same? How has the power of media changed throughout history? What are some differences and similarities of our current time and place to the past?

       Information revolution has resulted in ways of knowledge changing from face-to-face to printing to telegraph and radio. It is not only radio now, but information has moved to television, cable and continuous news. News has become available at our finger tips, coming faster and easier on the television, internet or smartphone. The power of the media has changed throughout history. The media is able to reach many people at the same time and place, and on a constant basis. The twenty-first century is similar to the past in that messages are still being conveyed to another person(s) with the intention of creating a shared meaning. There is also differences involve the means of communication. The smartphone and internet are taking communication faster than we imagined.