After the readings of week 5, I reconsidered the relationship between media and political economy. The technology and modern communication systems are favoring the capitalist society; the economic purposes of social media platforms are evident.
Garnham’s key point suggested that the “production and dissemination of mass culture is rooted in the material dimension” (Garnham.), he later explained that the functioning and the content of mass media is structured by the military-industrial and interconnected power. His ideas correspond to classical Marxism, which suggested that media can be elements of the economic hegemonic processes. As a media student, I stand on the neutral perspective, I believe that there are some features in today’s digital society which prove the idea that many social activities and platforms are assisting the expansion of the capitalist market. Social media platforms main feature is to offer a place where users communicate are able to communicate with friends, family of the outside world in general, but nowadays it seems that they are becoming information generators. Social media platforms are producing a large quantity of information that can be used for advertisement purposes, and hence financial purposes.
Social platforms like Facebook use their interface to trigger more unconscious online actions, I think this is to obtain even more data from users, rather than evoking human interaction. Schiller suggested that the phenomenon of capitalist market expansion is a “metamorphosis and expansion of the system of economic domination and consumption”, this is reflecting on the social media as well, companies calculates or analyze the data they receive from the social media platform, to send personalized advertisement back to users which in turn can then stimulate consumption.
In digital society, users are becoming as “commodity audience” (Meehan E), that we are not consumers or purely audience of the mass media, we are becoming an element of construction that affect on the costs of production and price of advertisement, our information are sold to the advertisers as a measurement, the more we input the better they can adjust and understand the audience, the higher the profit return for the social media companies.
Those concepts might have underpinned the economic system or mass culture for a long time, and the evolution of Internet and technology has assisted the process, increasing its development speed. From the readings and its reflection on the real life, I believe that it is essential to understand the nature of social media and its progressive development in order to understand the human condition and the interactions, not only because of the economic impact of social media on the society but also because of the effects on the cultural side.