‘Cause We’re Livin’ in a Digital World
When Philo Fansworth invented the television his intention was not to create a system that people spend most their lives watching. What originally started out as an entertainment source has now begun to take over the daily routines of people worldwide. Today’s culture has become a byproduct of what is seen on TV. Whether or not these values that are manufactured by TV production companies are wholesome or not is up to the viewer. While parental control is available, what is seen on TV tends to become a part of everyday life. Granted television provides a new wave of story telling, the system itself has begun to spiral out of control. Mainstreaming has become an integral part of today’s culture, in turn proving true what George Gerbner spent years researching: cultivation theory.
In Cultivation Analysis: An Overview, by George Gerbner, argues that when people watch television over a long period of time much of what they watch they internalize and create reality. In this reality, much of the core values and beliefs are shaped by the television reality. In a sense, the real world for those who heavily watch television is drafted from what they watch. Gerbner furthers this by suggesting that society has formed a multitude of beliefs and values based off what broadcasters and advertisers make money off of. In his research Gerbner considers the amount of time people spend watching television. If for example a person spends little to no time watching television, then their values, beliefs and attitudes derive from other sources. On the other hand, those who constantly watch television are highly exposed to the values, beliefs, and attitudes that are portrayed on TV; thus the same ideas shown on TV are cultivated or encouraged into their everyday life. In Gerbners’ findings, those who cite themselves as heavy viewers of television often have values or attitudes that align with what is produced on TV shows. The relationship between viewer and value binds together when the media maintains the same values that TV shows emphasize. A media effects theory is any type of media influence on the intended audience to act or believe a certain way. Because cultivation theory implies a media enforcement of the same beliefs TV shows portray, it is safe to argue that cultivation theory is in fact a media effects theory.
With the invention of smartphones, viewers are now able to access their favorite shows with the swipe of a finger. Media convergence like this has absolutely furthered the influence television has on society. Companies like Hulu and ABC Family have even gone so far as to create applications that allow for viewers to watch the latest episode from their mobile devices. Years before today if a person missed their favorite TV show they would have to wait until the re-run of the episode; however, today a person can just go online to find the show. These companies and many more have facilitated a twenty-four-seven...