Here are a few ideas in response:
– While TV no longer dominates entertainment in the way it once did, large social media platforms and streaming services have taken on many of the same influential roles when it comes to shaping our behaviors, opinions and worldviews.
– On platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Facebook, algorithms are designed to keep us endlessly engaged by recommending more and more personally targeted content. This bears similarities to how cable TV worked, continually playing whatever might hold our attention.
– There is a perception that user-generated content on newer platforms comes from “everymen” rather than corporations, but major media companies are still influential voices. We must think critically about any medium that seeks to capture and monetize our attention.
– Parasocial relationships form more easily online as influencers cultivate intimacy with large audiences. But they are still selling a brand or point of view, even if it’s cloaked in an authentic persona. We owe it to ourselves to maintain skepticism of any claims to be “one of us.”
– All media aim to influence and none are truly objective. Whether old or new, corporate or user-generated, the wise approach is to consider multiple perspectives, think critically about underlying motives and agendas, and make up our own minds rather than unquestioningly absorbing a single narrative.
The key is developing media literacy skills to thoughtfully navigate information from any source.