Yesterday I interrupted my Al Jazeera series to get stuck into the heated debate over the Pope's state visit to the UK. Although I know lots of you are still hemorrhaging indignant outcries surrounding said visit, I can only hope these protests give you the peace of mind you are searching for. Now back to business...
My qualms with the recruitment processes of renowned media networks, such as Al Jazeera, BBC, most definitely Sky, the CNN, etc, have recently aligned themselves with my disdain over the manner of social interaction these broadcast giants exercise. The personable nature - or lack thereof - of said organisations has cast me into a deep funk of late. And not the groovy, James Brown, Chaka Khan, 'dance 'til you feel betta' kinda funk.
Our emotions are based on our beliefs about the world. Categorisation, cliches, stereotypes and blatant branding of content has consumers conveniently packed into niches for which mass media is now produced (see: Weeds). Obviously, this is not rocket science, we are all bright individuals who are aware of the evils of biased television, la di da. I am sure we are also all aware of the spread of this 'uniform' packaging of information across the internet - enter Google Instant - or more specifically, within social media.
Then why are we still buying into said uniformity?
Recently, I came across a TED Talk with computer scientist and author extraordinaire, Jonathan Harris. In his talk, Harris discussed his fascination with human emotion through mediums that have now become more common than personal social interaction, i.e. blogging and microblogging.
As a storyteller, Harris’s infamous ‘We Feel Fine’ and ‘Universe’ projects have helped the Vermonter allow everyday internet users to tell their stories. His ultimate goal? To guide the evolution of the internet into a space we will still have the desire to inhabit in the future. For us to further harbour this desire, Harris claims that this ‘planetary meta-organism’ must honour both the individual and the human collective - just like real life should do. Cue the fountain of incorrigible, regurgitated media headlines.
A search result from 'We Feel Fine'. I searched emotions in the USA, for the date Pastor Terry Jones made his statement about burning the Qur'an
It often feels like the media addresses its audience as cattle. Headlines are often spewed as if from the same, mind- numbing, socially uniform media machine, inadvertently insulting its audience, with the emotional intelligence to recognise the cookie-cutter formulas plastered on our television screens, day after day.
Not unlike recruiters, that have recently strewn my naively ideal sense of justice across a gravelly road and run over it repetitively with a ten- tonne tractor, the media has forgotten what its purpose is. They are not here only to inform. They are here to instigate, revitalise and educate. Their mission is not complete without an emotion- fueled reaction.
None of this is possible without emotive communication. THIS is why Al Jazeera should hire me. You may know your news, but I know people. I am one of those people.