Coach Paul Suggests We Take a Pause and Assess Our Use of Mass MediaShawn Slevin
Mass Media – Increasing Your Awareness
Mass media platforms are a major source of information & they can be extremely beneficial. It is important to maintain an awareness of possible pitfalls e.g. Social Media can be addictive due to our quest for news, information, gossip, gaming etc, different sources on topics can have differing facts or views creating mixed messaging, inconsistency & issues around accuracy. However, the overarching key aspect to be aware of is the likelihood of bias within mass media platforms & that they function by disseminating information packaged how they want to present it to you.
If you are seeking quality news & information you will need to observe & research the various platforms & media formats to locate ones that produce consistent & quality information. The mass media machine has many moving parts e.g. when or how they choose to present information, political, gender or ideological slant & bias or sabotaging an opponent’s story. Games like these have been in use for a lengthy period. Advertising plays a major role within media as that is where the money is. The media use marketing techniques & styles to draw in an audience e.g. using emotional hooks, shock, fear, using children, playing on vanity or ego, class structure, offering discount offers, bandwagon (others are so you should too) & testimonial, using someone well known that aligns with their product or campaign. etc. Mass media have PHD’s in manipulation. Study findings reveal big brands e.g. USA Today, BuzzFeed, Fox News etc purposely use im
pact headlining to create a story perception they want you to have prior to you commencing reading the article!
Media conglomerates have made fortunes from knowing we have an insatiable appetite for information & worked out how to feed our appetite. As technology has advanced it has become easy for people of all ages to get swept along by the 24/7 news cycle & the addictive nature of modern platforms & all they can provide. While mass media can provide timely & important information simultaneously it can & does have a negative impact on us. If you look at the news it is generally negative & it is specifically formatted to gain maximal audience. Your best interests are not in their equation. Most news has little meaning to our lives, is unlikely to impact us & is information we will never need or use.
Mass media is continually looking to grow its market to grow financial returns. A key focus in recent times is hooking our youth. Current studies reflect 60% of Millennial’s source their news via internet only. With no alternative platform they cannot gain balance. The result is mass media increase the number of articles formatted in a storytelling style called “narrative structure” which is more appealing & superior for the youth market than traditional models. Digital formatting is also heavily used to target the youth market as it loads & displays up to 10 times faster than the web.
With a simple media audit, you can check on the health of your relationship with mass media. You need to be 100% honest with yourself, have zero emotion & be nonjudgmental. From this space I then looked at my mass media interactions, how I was functioning & relating to them day to day. Essentially you gain clarity of your media use, patterns of use, what platforms you use, time invested & any benefits. With this information you can reset if needed.
The following are just a few interesting findings from studies I have read on this topic. News does not have to be severe or shocking to affect a person emotionally. An article can affect people in many ways. Headlines can affect the way we think as they can subtly mislead us. Headlines that are question based (the headline asking a question) lead to more negative attitudes about the headline. Also, question-based headlines create more negative expectations for the associated news story compared to traditional format headlines.
COVID 19 has made a major impact on the world since WHO declared a World Health Emergency on 31 January 2020. Our lives have been dramatically changed & levels of uncertainty have likely increased due to more recent instability. While the current unknowns can be a scary experience, there is an opportunity to take some time out to raise your awareness in many areas including mass media & clarify your priorities to incorporate into your daily life.
Our Guest Blogger is Paul Barry who is based in Brisbane Australia where he works as Coach & Consultant in High Performance Sport. firstname.lastname@example.org