In about a relatively brief period of a hundred years, we have gone from a people who relied solely on printed works for our portion of world knowledge to mass consumers of media nearing the status of ostensible demigods – each one with an infinite and instant access to a vast and almost unrestricted amount of information – most at the tip of everyone’s fingers.
From a society based on the structures of traditional media (by which we as consumers are only defined as receivers predominantly), we have evolved into a society of individuals with the power to give feedback and, in some cases, create content ourselves. The interactivity of new media allows a much greater number of people to take part in the mass communication process. Similarly, because of how ubiquitous new media is in everyday life, it makes it easier for new social and cultural trends to influence the thought and lifestyle of individual media consumers which in unison affect greater local cultures. The idea of a mediated culture basically.
According to Gregory Dean of Marketography, mediated culture is, simply put, the phenomenon in which mass media creates and reflects our culture. Take Philippine television as an example. One of ABS-CBN’s prime time series, Ang Probinsyano, shows the story of a police officer and his struggle against crime in the Philippines. While this may seem like an ordinary television show, it does well to reflect the many societal problems faced by the Philippines at large such as illegal drugs and insurgency. It also does well to encourage a rather radical outlook on crime – an outlook in which the individual takes law onto his own hands and exacts judgment for himself (as regularly done by the protagonist of the show). This seems very timely considering the current state of local law enforcement. There is a standing issue of extra judicial killings and general summary executions perpetrated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) onto mostly dirt poor families. Despite these issues, President Duterte still managed to get a very high 82% approval rating last July. Why so? A topic for another day, yes, but shows like Ang Probinsyano may in fact play a role in the outlook of the general public if you consider that it works in tandem with the now-more widespread social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
If both television and Facebook posts show that the Philippines can be a safer place when we bypass the rule of law and due process, who are we to refute. This is the primary culture espoused by mediated culture. In front of their computer and phone screens, millions of individuals encounter news, articles, books, and what have you at an astounding rate and when you consider that there are no constant reminders that what is in the net may possibly be fake, it somewhat encourages a semblance of carelessness. If popular news outlets, individuals, and politicians post in their social media accounts, there is a large chance that a good part of their audience will take their words as truth even if they are not. Take CNN America as another example. They have greatly expressed their opinions on the incumbent Trump administration. They are obviously against it which can be potentially damaging when you consider that the purpose of the news is to present an unbiased truth – bringing me to the other side of the topic. While mediated culture may encourage a culture of spoon-fed carelessness, it can also act as an active call to pay attention to what can be damaging in new media outlets. A call to be aware. With the knowledge that not everything in the internet is true, we, as consumers, can be actively on the guard. It allows us to be more critical of what we consume, even if they’re just cat videos. I like cat videos.
A Mediated Culture