How Might Media Systems Impact Our Ability to Think Critically

How Might Media Systems Impact Our Ability to Think Critically?

People’s information consumption habits have shifted away from print and toward images. By inventing new methods to accomplish things, the present generation has created a new way of communication. A digital gap exists across generations as well as between socioeconomic classes. The new manner of communication is immediate, networked, interactive, media-rich, and people-rich. In addition, both conventional and social media are engaging in a dialogue with members of society to find out how to aid people following a disaster. Because social media and conventional media, both of which serve as information filters, are now collaborating, the old way of thinking about mass communication has given way to a new one. Finally, media systems shape tales and influence how people think in society. This prevents individuals from having their own thinking and produces a community of individuals who think and reason in the same manner.

One reason people’s capacity to think critically is deteriorating is because the brain develops dependent on what each individual need. Children’s critical thinking skills will deteriorate as long as public schools continue to emphasize facts over reasoning, and as role models and adult relationships deteriorate. If youngsters can gain rapid gratification from reading brief messages while adults must properly process a massive quantity of information, this condition will deteriorate and harm society. Everyone in the contemporary world has instant access to information and images. They are virtually everywhere. There may be too many pictures and words in a self-organizing system if there are no instructors or leaders, making it difficult for most individuals to determine which of the numerous disputes or images about the same issue is real and truthful. This is due to a lack of instructors and leaders in the system, which results in an excess of images and words. People are afraid and insecure because they can’t locate a single instructor who can tell them what to believe and what not to believe about many topics. In her piece “Great to Watch,” Maggie Nelson discusses the same visual and verbal overload and talks about how this “overflow occurs without anybody being aware of it” (302). People might get addicted to specific TV series and, without even realizing it, begin to admire it when others behave aggressively or cruelly. Nelson quotes Susan Sontag that “an age of extremity, characterized by the continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed destinies unremitting banality and inconceivable terror” (Nelson 306). People who watch violent TV programs and listen to mean-spirited statements contribute to the culture becoming even more nasty and savage. People and society are getting increasingly confused, bewildered, and chaotic as a result of the issue of too many pictures and voices. This is one of the most unexpected outcomes of violence on television.

People are more connected than ever before to technology, yet they are also less close to one another, and this has significantly affected how they reason in terms of relationships and inter-personal connectedness. Even while technology seems to offer an endless list of advantages, many people fail to consider the things that have been lost as a result of it. Nelson isn’t hesitant to express her feelings on technology and how it makes people less attentive to their surroundings noting that “many people value the Internet because it is a public forum in which anybody may contribute their ideas, views, and abilities” (304). In her opinion, Nelson notes “But there are also perils. And one is that in cultural moment defined (by some, for some) by image flow, the question of what one should look at, along with attendant inquiries into nature and effect of images blowing by, has creepy way of overtaking almost all other questions” (304). It does not restrict what someone may see or do, which, depending on the circumstances, might be either beneficial or negative. When discussing how media systems influence how people think critically, it’s difficult to overlook the relevance of false news. The phrase “fake news” is becoming increasingly popular over time. It is often used to describe tales that are false or exaggerated and are propagated online or on television by organizations with ambiguous aims. Politicians and others, on the other hand, utilize it to discredit critical coverage and divert attention away from true news. For a long time, false information has circulated. Tabloids have been disseminating misleading information since the dawn of mankind. Newspapers and television news outlets are partly to blame since they clearly state that they have an editorial bent. The 24-hour news cycle has made too much information accessible to the public, and this trend is continuing. This makes it difficult to distinguish what is true and what isn’t, which is an issue since an increasing number of people obtain their news from social media.

While technology has made life easier, the advancement of contemporary technologies does not assist individuals in evading real-life situations that demand an active ability to think critically. In truth, the advancement of contemporary technology makes meeting these needs simpler. Modern technology may be used in a variety of ways, and how it is applied can sometimes cause more issues than it solves. People are becoming more reliant on various forms of technology to accomplish tasks, which has resulted in an overall enhancement in their capacities. Yet, according to Nelson, “the world presents a composition in which a multitude of meanings and realities are available, and we swim in that sea of multiplicity” (Nelson 311). We sometimes employ the flow of pictures made available by technology to help individuals communicate with one another. Furthermore, technology continuously bombards our thoughts with information about what is going on in other areas of the globe. Maggie Nelson investigates how people’s ignorance has led them to disregard the consequences of violence, and how violence has grown so regular that it is seen as normal (Nelson 300). Nelson expands on this issue by developing the concept of “image flow,” which he describes as the relentless barrage of images or ideas that destroy the primary attention (Nelson 304). She draws on how Americans have been “chained to their image-displacement machines like lab animals to dispensers of morphine” (Nelson 308).

Concerning the mainstream and social media, it emerges that technologies seem to limit the ability of people to think critically and instead fosters a culture of unilateral thought where a difference in opinion is frowned upon. The largest internet corporations aim to present themselves as a “means of giving people greater freedom” (Foer 61). Everyone can realize their full intellectual and democratic potential and completely express themselves via social media. Unlike TV, which used to be a passive medium that forced people to sit still, Facebook is a powerful and participatory media. People may read many materials, think for themselves, and reach their own opinions. Facebook isn’t a bustling public square. Instead, it is a top-down regulated system. It sounds like a variety of various types of discourse, but that’s just one of its characteristics. In actuality, Facebook is a “sophisticated maze of rules and methods” for sorting information (Foer 67). These regulations were established by the firm in order for them to be effective. Facebook is always monitoring its users, auditing them, and studying how they behave (Foer 71). Facebook gives its users the impression that they have options, but in fact, it treats them like toddlers and pushes them in the direction it believes is best for them, which is to become completely reliant on the site.

Both the growth of social media and the increasing reliance on different internet platforms are having a huge impact on how people not only interact with one another and the rest of the world but also reason critically. We are conscious that our virtual network is often just as important to us as our physical network, and we are also aware that the information we get from the internet has a big impact on the decisions we make. Both traditional and social media have an “ongoing impact on our ability to think critically and rationally” (Foer 60). When we speak about critical thinking, we mean the ability to examine information, grasp it, make conclusions from it, and use it to solve problems. The great majority of the time, these talents present themselves in the following order: recognizing a problem, gathering relevant information, assessing what the facts imply, and then deciding what to do or how to solve the issue. With one significant exception, wealthy internet entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg often have left-leaning political views. This distinction pertains to how they feel about laws and regulations. This shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anybody. Regardless of the sector in which they operate, most executives of businesses are not huge lovers of the regulations imposed by the government. The argument that is made by Franklin Foer is that technology corporations such as Facebook have “devalued information and placed at danger the type of critical thinking” that is fundamental to a democracy since there is not enough government control (Foer 61). In the case of Facebook, the most valuable item is the personal information of the user, which the firm utilizes without regard to the user’s right to privacy in order to sell advertisements and conduct experiments. The previous model of publishing, which relied on gatekeepers, was more democratic than the current one, which allows anybody to publish their work but nearly no one can earn a livelihood from it. Ultimately, even with the proliferation of the internet and various social platforms, critical thinking is becoming more limited as people converge towards unilateral thinking.

In summary, people who want to learn how to think critically must be willing to put in the time and mental effort required. It’s possible that using social media makes us less concentrated on any one work or pursuit. This is because when people use social media often, they have a propensity to try to do two or more things at once. As a consequence, people’s ability to focus on a single issue suffers, which may have a detrimental influence on their critical thinking abilities. Aside from the disadvantages of multitasking, emotional reasoning is more likely to be used on social media than rational reasoning. This achievement should be attributed to the algorithms that power a person’s favourite platform on social and other forms of media. These algorithms will offer information that is relevant to an individual’s interests and preferences, and they will do it in an easy-to-understand way. Because one is more likely to notice materials that support or agree with their existing beliefs, people are likely to lose out on the chance to gather all of the data, conduct proper analysis, and reach a more well-informed decision. In the end, social and mainstream media only reinforce what one already believes in and this reduces our abilities to think critically, to question, and to avoid conforming to society-set standards and expectations.

Works Cited

Foer, Franklin. “Mark Zuckerberg’s War on Free Will.” World without mind: The existential threat of big tech. Penguin, 2017, pp. 56-77.

Nelson, Maggie. “Great to Watch.” 2011. The New Humanities Reader, 5th edition, edited by Richard E Miller and Kurt Spellmeyer, Cengage, 2015, pp. 299-314.