Death of Emotions, the News we Love
Recently, in the internet we have been lost in the articles of the Ebola crisis, via text, images, sound, and video. We have been reading about the tragic news in West Africa; about the sudden spread of it into America and in Spain; and through interactive data visualizers. However, as long as we stay in our homes being able to watch news in our home sweet comfy sofas, we are not dealing with their reality, it is theirs to keep. We in our homes, news are as virtual as any interactive video game and farfetched from our daily lives as any YouTube channel.
The media is hurting us and it is pretty bad. Amusing Ourselves To Death, touches upon it more than three decades ago and the Brave New World written more than eight decades ago. Not by fault of technology or even the news media, but our own instincts added with technology makes us less human. We are lost in a vast ocean of information within the medium of the internet. When instagram users hear the news of Ebola it is a means of publicity: a new hashtag for instant fame; a theme for jokes; a subject for showing off cleverness and the occasional memoire of grief. When twitter users hear the news of Ebola, it is a means to criticize the government.
The issue of media is that it detaches us from the reality of the message. It detaches the receivers of the message from their emotions; there is a buffer created between the receiver and the sender by exact means of the technological advantage of the medium: greater the technology, the greater the buffer. Technology delays our natural feedback of attaching our emotions to the message.
McLuhan says the medium is the message and rightfully so. The medium today is capable of creating vast messages and humans can’t keep up without sacrificing: emotions for knowledge. For journalism the medium is the buffer. A buffer from experiencing reality as it exists. We see lesser versions of reality and are covering our eyes from guilt. As time flows our guilt loses itself in the buffer, we are being controlled only by what the media sees as honorable to let our human feelings to interact with the message. Then how can we get rid of the buffer and perhaps feel a little more guilt, and why should we? We cannot simply stop using internet to get our news. Media has trained many us to react with limited emotions. Many times media even simulates our efforts to be fulfilled by only feeling these limited emotions. And hides our true nature to find out how devastating a message really is. So how about we stop reading news after news in Facebook non-stop just to fill in our void? And only read a couple at a time? Maybe even just one, and stop and think about it, just for a day. We can’t simply let our emotional sides disappear without a fight, we stop becoming humane when death are just numbers and incidents are subjects for small talks, where is our human form of communication?
The media does help better equip the public to gain more access to information all around the world. But to the public it is a mere third party window to a play between the media message and its recipients. But the public think that they themselves are never the recipients, I think we should start critically reading one news article at a time, feel a bit more guilt and be moved to care, that’ll get us off from our couches.
Former Professor of Multimedia Department, Huree University, Mongolia