Throughout my research process I have been able to explore various questions pertaining to sociology and how it relates to the media. The reason why I chose to research the sociology of the media is because it extremely prevalent in my life, as I know that the media carries heavy influence upon myself, as well as those around me. I take great interest in topics concerning the media and so, this topic was a seemingly perfect choice for me.
One of the ways I gathered research regarding my topic, was through an interview that I conducted with Gill Hendrie. Mrs. Hendrie is a child and youth social worker and so I felt as though her opinions would carry great value in terms of relating it to my research, as she is surrounded by youth on a daily basis. Mrs. Hendie stressed the importance of experimenting with different identities as teens evolve, and that teens need to “feel people are behind them”, she explained, “as they try many different ways of being”. I found this newfound thought to be an important one, which I took away from the interview, because I agree with Mrs. Hendrie’s statement entirely. Although one may not have a solidified view of who they are, a stable support system is vital in order to tackle the stress of an identity crisis.
As I used Mrs. Hendrie’s words to help answer my research questions, I continued to elaborate on my research by seeking the opinions of more individuals, in the form of surveys.
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One of my statistical findings related to Facebook, asking if anyone had ever “liked” a Facebook page even if they didn’t have any interest in the page. 60% of participants had answered yes. I was pleased to see that my estimates were correct. More than half of participants had answered yes, all of whom had added an additional explanation. One person answered that “the boy [he/she] had a crush on liked a certain band so [he/she] liked the page so [he/she] would have something in common”. I interpreted this answer to mean that the participant had “liked” the Facebook page, out of a desire to strengthen their relationship with their person of interest. Giving them a mutually “liked” Facebook page would give them a “common” topic of interest to discuss. This would strengthen their relationship, thus would support the previously stated notion that people use Faecbook to strengthen their relationships with their peers.
I believe that Facebook is one of many “agents of change” that drive a Paradigm Shift amongst young people today. Many youth feel the need to constantly use these social networking sites, thus reflecting a social change, as their thoughts regarding socializing drastically have changed.
Three major findings in my research were Stoicism, the Culturalist Theory of mass media’s role in society, and Technological Determinism. Stoicism is the idea that in order to be happy, one must be content with what cannot be changed. This is extremely relatable to my first research question, as it provides a basis for which people can be happier with their bodies. If one lived their life as a stoic, they would allow less of their thoughts to revolve around their appearance, and more of their thoughts would be allocated to the more “important” things in life, that we do have control over.
Next, the Culturalist Theory was a monumental piece of my research because although a lot of my research proposed that the media has a heavy influence over us, this theory ostensibly challenges these thoughts by arguing that we as people are able to create our own meanings out of the messages and images that we receive through the media. Although I believe this to be true, I do think that sometimes the media’s influence can sway our thoughts, especially the thoughts of those who are young, naïve, vulnerable, and thus more susceptible to the influence of the media.
Finally, Technological Determinism was a very important finding throughout my research process because it supports all five of my research questions. Technological Determinism is the idea technology is the root of social change. It is clear to see the heavy impact that technology has upon our lives, especially in terms of the sociology of the media because all forms of media can relate to technology.
In summation, I have genuinely enjoyed this whole research process, as it has given me an opportunity to research topics of great interest to me. My research supports the notion that the media carries heavy impact on our lives, and through my website, I have expressed this from psychological, anthropological, philosophical, and sociological standpoints.