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Does Media Shape American Values?

Updated on February 9, 2018

Ever since the dawn of social media people have been infatuated with their phones. Social media seems to be the absolute power house of news, trends, and pop culture. It has had a heavy influence in society and american values.

The creation of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. have given people a platform to post about their lifestyles, hobbies, and really whatever they want. Some people make accounts for their pets, and as ridiculous as it sounds I've seen an account for a slice of toast, and even one for a dog named Toast. Although I have to admit he is a cute little dog.

This photo is the Instagram profile for lovely dog named Toast, who was Instagram verified and famous for his cuteness.
This photo is the Instagram profile for lovely dog named Toast, who was Instagram verified and famous for his cuteness. | Source

However, there is more to social media then just Instagram verified dogs. Lots of other popular social media platforms like Twitter and tumblr are responsible for making things trend. People typically do this by adding a hashtag to there post. Adding a hashtag usually helps start trends. Most of there platforms will even have trending feed, so that people can see what topics are popular in pop culture, society, news etc.

At this point you may be wondering, "How does this relate to how it shapes American values?" My answer to this question is that it does—greatly. Social media has become a huge part of society and communication. People look at what is popular on social media and immediately want it for themselves. There was an article published on familiesonline that stated how a 13 year old girl sent "provocative" photos because Kim Kardashian did it.

This means that social media can also be toxic and unhealthy. Another example is the whole "eating tide pods challenge" where people attempt to, well, eat a tide detergent pod. This can even cause death in some cases. It's an old game of "monkey see, monkey do."

There are several other instances outside of social media where people see someone do something ridiculous on TV or Youtube and want to attempt to do it. For example, when the TV show Jackass directed by Jeff Tremaine came out in Fall of 2000. The basis of the TV show was that a group of guys would go and find elaborate and funny ways to either hurt or humiliate themselves. It quickly gained a cult following and fanbase, however these a lot of these fans would attempt to recreate the stunts portrayed in the show, and end up hurting themselves severely, or even killing themselves.

Now, just because media has contributed to society in all these negative forms, that doesn't mean it can't be positive. There are several of ways that media has positively shaped our values. Instances like film, music, and literature where the media is a form of storytelling, there can be several of lessons and morals to learn. For example, a satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and/or criticize people's vices typically in the context of contemporary politics or topical issues. This is important because it confronts a lot of negative stuff going on in society. A great example of satire is an essay written by John Swift, titled A Modest Proposal, where he pretty much sarcastically pitches the idea of eating children to survive. I know, its messed up but, This essay was crucial for its time, because it highlighted the severe famine in Ireland during the early 1700s. In 2015, 19 year old Irish/Pakistani Eireamhan Semple, meticulously explains the power of satire in John Swifts work in a TEDx Talks presentation.

There are several other ways that media shape American values positively. It a form of being integrated with each other, helps us stay communicated through art, and society and simply—human interaction.

Do you think that media negative or positive effect on American values?

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    • Richard Rodovalho profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Rodovalho 

      8 months ago

      Thank you for your feed back Chris, and I also really appreciate you taking the time to read my article.

    • profile image

      Chris Peruzzi 

      8 months ago

      i found your article and presentation very interesting. I did not know as much as i learned from you especially about trending topics. I also agree with the monkey see monkey do theory. No matter the time or year or social media or not humans always revert to that i think.

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