Media is plural of medium which is a means that passes on information from one end to the other, from a sender to the receiver. Media has existed throughout the ages in different ways and especially within Africa, our ‘Traditional Media’ comprises of storytelling, drama/theatre, dance, proverbs, the use of music and musical instruments like drumming, signs, symbols, names, ways of dressing and rites of passage. On the other hand, the modern means of communication are the internet, television, videos, radio, cell phones, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, journals, books and periodicals.’ (New Media, 2013)
All these instruments are used to transmit different information that has contributed to the enlightenment of people at different stages of life. When I was a child, while in class at times I used to daydream and the next moment I would hear clapping of hands or whistling or my name being shouted out loud. All these means were used to communicate to me that I have to come back from that other world and concentrate. Funny as it sounds, this too is a form of media and can come in handy at times. Signalling at someone not to share an embarrassing story too is a form of media.
A wink of an eye acts as media by symbolizing agreement to what someone has said or to showing a liking for them, a nodding of the head would mean that my message is being understood and accepted, a glance coupled with a smile would mean that somebody likes me or they are interested in what I am communicating. These are mostly means of communication on the physical level.
When we look at modern means of media we find that there are two groups; Print media which comprise of books, magazines, newspapers and materials of such kind, and Electronic media comprising of the internet, cell phones, videos, eBooks, digital magazines, online music and many more. In our world today we are able to see that there are many messages which are being transmitted to us, but do we ever take some time to question the kind of information that it is? If it is helpful or not? If it can help us to grow or regress? Can build or break our relationships?
Gossip some years back used to be done in person and it would take a long time to spread. But today with all these means of communication it is very easy to destroy the character of a person merely because of envy, personal hatred, jealousy, competition and many other malicious motivations. But I as a recipient am responsible for how I translate the information which I have received and what I do with it.
These days there are newspapers, magazines, and different means that have been used to tarnish the image of certain people, whether true or false. The passing on of immoral, violent, and abusive information which have tremendously influenced our perspective of life can easily make us get used to violence, abusive behaviour and also learn to demean others.
I think that the media can be used in a different way to share good things that others have done, innovative ideas, information that builds up and promotes the integrity of people, among many other good things. Now how can I positively make use of media?
- I will analyse and see what it is that is being communicated to me through the different forms of media.
- I will be critical in seeing if the information which I am receiving is beneficial for me or not.
- I will make sound judgements on what kind of information I will retain in my mind.
- I will censor and choose what kind of information I can have access to.
- In using and sharing information I will aspire and work at communicating positively influential information.
- I will respect and promote, especially in the use of these forms of media, the dignity of other people and my own.
- I will be objective before believing hearsay, by doing more research to understand the subject matter better.
- I will be precise on what I wish to communicate as to be able to give the very best to others.