Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Social Uses/Implications of Technology and Media

Put on your head phones and you’re in the zone. The sounds from your white head phones blast through yours ears and pound at your ear drums. You feel the music in your head; in your soul. The sound buzzes through your body. It can make you move; it can make you stay perfectly still. There is no pressure to be friends with your iPod; you are automatically compatible the second you connect the USB port to your computer. You do not have to impress the iPod or feel shy around it. The iPod does not judge you. You sing if you feel like singing, dance, cry, laugh – you can do whatever you want. He’ll fit in your pocket, coat or hand. He can grab a hold of you and pull you out of time. He can crawl into your thoughts and tease your ideas. He can make you look at things differently and impair your judgement on everybody and everything else going on in the real world.

The real world: something that enters your mind when the teacher nags, “hey, can you take those things out and pay attention?” or when a parents yells on the family drive, “turn those things down, you’re going to wreck your ears”. You lose focus to the words you are listening to. You lose sense of rhythm and you are conscious again. Your parents try with all of their might to hold on to their cognisant child but you loose eye contact and go back to starring out the window and carrying on the tunes.

How has this tiny mp3 player influenced and taken over society? For one thing, four of five people reading this know what I am talking about. If you do not own an iPod, your brother, sister, friend, cousin or even teacher does. So great! Now everybody has something in common to chat about! The question is: do we chat? Do we still know how to communicate now that these iPods have so comfortably moved into our lives?

Some feel no need to talk or communicate with others for they have their loyal iPods tucked inside their pockets. Why start up a conversation with someone when you can listen to your favourite song? Isolation. We are conforming to the feeling that there is no pressure of conversing with others or paying attention during a class as long as we’ve got music playing in our ears.

This small object can affect our society in more ways than one. The music we chose to listen to truly does affect our views and outlooks toward society. Listening to heavy, angry music when at a park might cause the listener to become interested in a deep dark area of the park with lots of trees; whereas listening to light, happy music may cause them to find significance in the swings or light blue sky.

Consequently, music affects our moods which affect our actions which, in turn, affect society. Can we control this? Next time you go for a walk or take the bus home, attempt to turn off your iPod and listen to and examine the things and people around you. Do not isolate yourself – those bright white wires are no excuse. If the desire to put those headphones back in your ears arises, go for it; but make sure that your tunes stay in tune.

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