Live streaming and social media services, powerful examples of the immense world of possibility within the internet, are changing the ways in which we interact with news and current events. News outlets produce live video streams that pop up in our Facebook feeds, whether we want them or not. We have immense amounts of access to data from the past as well as the present: what is posted to the web stays and continues to expand the immense amount of information available to us at this time. Users are entirely capable of revisiting old posts, old videos, and old content at their own discretion.

Combined with our ability to represent current events in real time, our world of media oversaturation has kick started a downward spiral of paranoia, where past, present and the potentiality of future threats combine in order to force us to question our perceptions of danger.

The advent of cable television at the end of the 20th century ushered in an era of media distribution that rejected time constraints. 24 hour cable news channels such as CNN (and later on, Fox News and MSNBC) expanded the reach of the news anchor’s grasp: No longer confined to nightly news blocks and scant breaking news broadcasts, networks gained the ability to form representations of events at any (and every hour.) It was at this time when live broadcasting gained ubiquity. The expansion of real time coverage of events (such as the OJ Simpson verdict and the 9/11 attacks) throughout the 1990s and early 2000s meant that we were no longer divided temporally due to physical limitations like distance. Our ways of seeing the world could be instantaneously standardized and managed.

How are we able to make sense of our futures? It seems that we are embedded in a climate that focuses upon future events that are not guaranteed –or even necessarily likely– to occur: instead of the smoke proceeding a newly started fire, he describes, the smoke precedes it. Our media system consistently operates upon this never ending cycle. When the threat is always present, precautionary measures must always be taken. The danger in this type of logic is that it perpetuates the very type of insecurity that it also continually relies upon. By constantly producing news and content, you create a society that feels that is always something to fear, that no presence and acceptance of what will or should or does come, comes regardless of your own psychological processes. In my humble opinion we would have a mentally much healthier society without these flagrant and in ways (at times) twisted representations of news and news media.

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One response »

  1. oliviaklugman says:

    I definitely agree, but why and how would we get rid of these constant news sources if we “have the technology for it”? Many people find the positive aspects of technology to be the possibility for ubiquitous information about what’s happening in the world. But it’s true; it causes widespread anxiety. When I was a little kid, I would cry and wouldn’t be able to sleep every time I watched the news with my parents because I was thinking about all the terrible things that were going on in the world. But would lack of constant news be censorship? Does it even portray the truth?

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