Media, the name alone to everyone seems all too familiar, however the meaning and purpose of the word is understood differently amongst people. For ages media has been a key source for knowing what is happening throughout the world. As time evolved the speed in which media information becomes available has increased dramatically, but the quality of media is one to question. Today our media behavior changes all the time because the gratifications we seek from the media are in constant state of flux. Our life situation may change and with it the criteria we use to select media. We may seek media that entertains or media that is informative to us. The changes in media, as well as providing in terms the role media play’s and the role media needs to play in order to function properly. Today media can influence society negative and positively.
The different media vary with respect to the gratifications they provide use. For example, television is associated with entertainment, whereas the internet is more related to information seeking . Various media satisfy different needs, individual differences theory recognizes that media influences society one person at a time and that media’s influence differs by people. How media influences society is determined by people’s personalities and cognitive structures. Personality differs for each person. Some people are talkative while others are reserved. Such personality traits influence the media that people use. Possible effects on receivers such as male and females for example, female teens have been found to listen with greater frequency to radio than males. Likewise, Wells and Hakanen found that female teens rated radio as their highest used medium, followed by television, whereas males rated television use first , allowed by recorded music and then by radio.
Media influence in society can have a positive influence or negative influence also. News media influences us positively by showing us how we can come together to help other people who have been in catastrophes. Good examples of this are how the media covered the damage that occurred in Japan during the tsunami or the devastation from hurricane Katrina. We knew as a society we needed to help these people. We sent money to help for the cause of Hurricane Katrina. It helps give us more information for the world around us. Let's the word out and give a leading hand for others that is in need of it.
In the 80’s there were some sitcoms on that influenced America and its family life immensely. “The Cosby Show” had a big impact on middle class families. We all got to see every week how Cliff and his wife went through the same struggles that all families go through. Through these struggle with teenagers, older parents, etc. we learned how to handle them, and that everything would come out okay. Another show that had a great influence on us is “The Walton’s”. The Walton’s showed us that you can always count on family, and that family is the most important thing in life. In both of these shows morals were taught. A teenager could see that lying was not good, that parents always found out. We also got to see how family’s relied on each other and needed each other. In the 80’s when more families had to have two working parents this was important to see.
Negative influences are all around us. Beer commercials tell young boys that if you drink a certain kind of beer you will get all the good looking girls and maybe not be such a nerd. Hamburger restaurants have girls dressing up in near to nothing to sell a hamburger. McDonald’s the ultimate offender, uses a clown and his friends to encourage young children to buy happy meals and play at McDonalds.
In conclusion the media affects us in many ways. Everything we do is a result of the media such as watching TV, reading the newspaper, surfing the internet just to mention a few. The media feeds us information and fundamentally tells us what is precise. It is the only one aspect which affects what we do in society, although it is an impressive aspect. Another example of a negative influences are kids being exposed to a media message, the audience becomes immediately 'immune' to them. So, for example, long-term exposure to a violent message will result in a desensitization to that degree of violence.