The Effect of Media on Our Society – the Truman Show

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A 1998 satirical film that talks about a boy named Truman that grew up in a whole “utopian” world called Seahaven, which is all controlled by the director and “Father” of Truman, Christoff. Truman’s life has been filmed and broadcasted to the world as “The Truman Show” since he was born and runs 24/7.It’s a popular reality TV show before the time reality TV shows were even introduced into our society. In a way, Truman is absolutely being used as a product of a show and has little say about it, this is also similar in the reality TV shows we have on air today. The film is also a centre of marketing, strategically placing product placement throughout the show which is a media influence to make you want to purchase more items.

If you were born in a fabricated world and grew up there, you wouldn’t question its existence or reality until much later, that is the same with Truman. The media is his life and world, it influences every part of his life, from the people he interacts with and the job he has. A scene where this is depicted well is when Truman starts wanting to get out of Seahaven, but a series of man-made obstacles and foreshadowing is put to keep Truman inside. Stuff like posters of lightning striking airplanes (so Truman doesn’t want to fly out), the planned incident of Truman’s dad drowning (so Truman grows a fear of the water and boating), and especially near the end where the source of the media, Christoff desperately tries to stop Truman by sending a barrage of rain and wind at him. Though Truman doesn’t initially notice how the media influence him, but by the end of the story, he obviously knew that the world created for him was all scripted and controlled.

In our media-influenced society, we often get used to all the commercials and advertisements strewn across newspapers, television, and the Internet that we are even subconsciously affected by them. The best example for this is Kony 2012. Simply put, using slick production and the worldwide connection of social media, the idea spread throughout the world in a matter of hours. Millions of people (mostly eager teenagers) jumped on the “Stop Kony Bandwagon”, one of them was me. Me being still as young and uninformed as I was, I had never heard of Kony. As with how Invisible Children (organization that produced the film) portrayed Kony as the “the big bad villain”, I knew that he had to be stopped as soon as possible. I cannot say emphasize this enough, millions of people joined this movement without any prior knowledge to this man. Immediately, the next day I showed my social studies teacher (Ms.Monaghan) about the video and my other friend and I who had watched the video last night proposed we do something about it in within school. She, my teacher was turned off by how the film was portrayed using the clever trap of using an innocent kid and asking him what they should do about Kony. He replied with an obvious: “Stop him.” Nonetheless, my friend and I planned to do something like show the school the video.

24 hours later, this first time wide scale media phenomenon exploded in the world. Hundreds of Youtube video responses were made, many more messages were passed through telling one another in person, or through Facebook messages. Twitter was filled with the tweet: #StopKony2012, etcetera. Truly, our society now has evolved into a media-centric world, where one message can be sent instantaneously to someone living on the other side of the world, when 20 years ago, that would have not been conceivable.

Later on I found out that the Invisible Children film producer ran around naked across the city and got arrested. Also that the organization only sends 31% of their funds towards direct help. I felt stupid afterwards for jumping on the bandwagon so quickly without researching about the group (Another way how media affects us).

Anyway, the topic of how media influences us could take up over a hundred pages, with many differing opinions. But let’s...
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