The “Me” in Media

Is media the boss of me? Or am I the boss of it?

What we communicate internally—whether in dreams, fantasies, fears, or aspirations—are to some degree written large upon the billboards, headlines, screens, and ads of our civilization. In this sense, inside media becomes inside me. —  Tom Cooper, Professor of Communication, Emerson College.

What we think about consistently, we make more of. Individually and collectively, what’s on our minds are largely concerns and values. Our purchasing behaviors reflect them, and these get projected onto billboards and screens. In this way, the culture reflects the personal. Because each of our purchase decisions is a vote for more of the same, the shaping of the culture begins with me. 

Commerce is an essential social activity. But when it becomes pervasive to the point of distraction and manipulation, when it takes center stage in the environment, it diverts attention away from the thoughts that inspire and lift us up, including the vital processes and values that make us more fully human. My list of these includes the discovery of identity and purpose, the development of unique potentials, expanding consciousness, integration of head and heart—and  thoughts about the expression of virtues in everyday living such as love, compassion, kindness, altruism, empathy, humility, generosity, honesty, morality, consideration for others, the experience of beauty and the exercise of wonder and awe.

Consideration of the ”me” in media, simply means that I’m in charge. Looked at from the whole population the influence seems remote and minuscule, but from the personal perspective the influence and be immediate and powerful—by being more conscious and intentional when it comes to purchasing, consuming and viewing. For instance, when on the highway I avert my eyes from billboards, mute the sound on television ads, ignore or click-off ads on the internet, go directly to the products I want in a grocery store and block robocalls. There are so many places where I can find inspiration and be productive. I don’t want to be distracted. And my attention is not for sale.

Our minds are being addressed by addictive media serving corporate sponsors whose purpose is to rearrange reality so that viewers forget the world around them. — Paul Hawken, Ecology of Commerce.


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