In this debate, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to start by disapproving the points made by the previous opponent. First, the speaker attempted to tell us that social media enhances the education system because modern students are finding it easy to access and share knowledge from a wide range of sources. While it is important to recognize what the media is doing in our school system, I find it hard to understand how this speaker attempts to mislead the audience by telling them that this is actually an indication that the media is ‘shaping’ the lives of the children. To me, this is false because the said media only makes it possible for children to obtain knowledge from a wide range of library materials. It is rather wrong for the speaker to think that t the media has ‘created new knowledge’. It is unfortunate that the speaker misleads us by saying that media creates new knowledge. It is important to note that the media just compiles what we have in our libraries and makes it available to the students. In addition, the speaker tends to think that social media makes learning faster just because children are able to obtain online samples, examples and models for learning (Wood 2011). The speaker fails to understand that even though the media makes it easy to teach and learn, it equally makes the children lazy and dependent on their gadgets, thus creating a group that cannot use their minds to generate ideas. What future do these children have in a world that needs intelligent workers and leaders? A good leader or worker must generate ideologies (Carey 2006).
Finally, the speaker argues that social media enhances employment rates among world communities. While it is true that social media has created employment opportunities, it is equally important to note that it has eliminated a number of employment opportunities by making people multitask. For instance, some people work from their homes in their online offices, which allows them to take more than one job. At the same time, the world population is increasing, and it is jealous for a person to take multiple jobs while a large number of people are left jobless.
With this in mind, I wish to include a number of additional pieces of evidence that the media does not shape or lives, although it has an interdependent relationship with society. After the telegraph, mass media became the most important factor that changed world societies (Adams 1931). The mass media, of course, affects our lives but does not shape our lives. To understand the facts here, it is worth looking at the concepts of the terms “our” and “shape” in relation to the argument. First, according to Giddens (1991), the ‘Trajectory of self’ describes the meaning of the term “our” in this argument. Giddens’ ‘the trajectory of the self’ argues that self-realization is driven by the external factors that affect the psychological and physical aspects of human beings. One of the important external factors is the information that a person consumes every moment. The information builds up in a persons mind with time, producing an effect that presses the person to undergo a process of “self-therapy”, in which he or she reflects on one’s position in the society and realizes the reason that he or she is at that particular position at the particular moment. Giddens’ article evidently shows that the media just provides us with information about the environment, which in turn makes us undergo a process of self-therapy. With this, we realize our roles and positions in society, which in turn makes us act in a certain way. Evidently, this does not mean that it has shaped our lives; rather it implies that we have realized ourselves and have acted to adapt to our real self.
Secondly, while the media plays an important role in providing us with information about the issues taking place throughout the world, it is important to consider the fact that this information provided to us by the media originates from other sections of the universal society. In this case, this means that the media does not create its own ‘unique’ or ‘model’ society and its characteristics, but rather it transmits the information about what a society is doing to other sections of the universal society (Veak 2009). Therefore it would be wrong to argue that the media has shaped society, while it is known that it just brings in some news of what other people are doing or what they are experiencing. Two issues must be distinguished here- “affecting” and “shaping”. While it is true that the media ‘affects’ us by making us understand the globalized society, it does not shape our lives. Contrary, human societies ‘shape’ their own lives. Proponents of the notion that ‘the media shapes our lives’ tend to ignore the fact that the media does not ‘create’ its own news, rather it collects and transmits news from one place to another. This means that even if some news from the media ‘makes’ us act or behave in some way, it is not a behavior created by the media. In an actual sense, we will have ‘imported’ the new behavior from another part of our globalized society (Berger 2010).
Proponents of the debate tend to cite certain issues in the modern world where people act in some way just because they have witnessed other people do so, or influence each other over the social and mass media to act. For instance, they argue that the rise of the Arab Spring was a creation of social and popular media. However, they fail to understand facts. For instance, they are too ignorant to note that social media did not shape the lives of the people in Egypt just because it was used to mobilize demonstrators to act in the same way the people in Tunisia were doing. In an actual sense, the life of Egyptian society changed in line with the changes in the lives of the people in Tunisia. The media played a mere role of “informing” the people, and not “shaping” their lives.
In conclusion, I wish to take the evidence collected from media technology to support the fact that technology influences us, but it does not “shape” our lives.
Adams, H, 1931, The education of Henry Adams, Routledge, New York.
Berger, A, 2010, Media and Society: A Critical Perspective, Rowman Battlefield, London
Carey, J 2006, “Technology and ideology: The case of the telegraph”, in R Hassan & J
Giddens, A, 1991, Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age, Polity, Cambridge.
Veak, T, 2009, Democratizing Technology: Andrew Feenberg’s Critical Theory of Technology, SUNY, Albany, NY.
Wood, J, 2011, Communication in Our Lives, Cengage Learning, New York.