Maybe it is the media that has us divided.
– Laura Bush

It is about high time for us to consider the benefits and consequences of media globalization, where it has already reached an unstoppable stage in our society. Many feel that instead of avoiding the consequences of media globalization, we should be enjoying its benefits and making use of them as much as we can.

Communicating internationally has never been easier. With the help of our social platforms, we are able to have a video conversation with our loved one who is on the other side of the globe, or keep in touch with our acquaintances. People are being brought closer together and generally make our lives more convenient as it never has before (Friedman, 2005). Through the worldwide web, endless amounts of information are readily available to us. The internet also helps us in keeping fit with the constant reminders on dieting issues and having a healthy diet, and it even provides a platform for our younger generation to pick up some entrepreneur skills and important life lessons they would not learn through academic lessons.

Despite the benefits, there are also very real consequences. Though it is true that media globalization can cross cultural and language boundaries, this does not always mean that the gap among people has become narrower. When was the last time you really sit down and have a sincere heart to heart talk with your friends?  With us over-relying on social networks for communication purposes, many of us have overlooked the need of face to face communication. We are too self-indulge in our lives on social platforms that we are showing lesser concern to the people around us in reality.

Let us take our friends for example. Are we showing them enough concern to notice that they are undergoing dieting and having eating disorders? With the number of people getting eating disorders each year, it won’t be surprising if someone in our social circle is affected by that idea where happiness and success is being linked to thinness. Media is a unique “product” in that it shapes how people think and behave. Media globalization has indeed influenced me to having that kind of mentality, and I am sure many other females are affected too, where we are now more conscious of our food intake and wanting that acceptance from society.

The benefits of media globalization may make it difficult to see these consequences, but the truth is, netizens from around the globe have taken advantage of our social platforms for their own purposes. Identity theft and scamming are two of the many risks we have put ourselves in through online shopping, which is another issue I have raised in this assignment.  With online shopping being a norm in today’s world, we have to be aware of the risks we are putting ourselves into whenever we disclose our personal information and credit card number. And in this case, media has divided us into predators and preys. Fraudulent sellers and internet prowlers are waiting patiently for their preys online before they finally “hunt” them down by “smishing” their personal information or cheating their hard-earned income with fraud goods that they are “selling” online. Sadly, with all of us hiding behind the screen, it isn’t easy for us to differentiate between the predators and the preys.

Media globalization is also the reason why people will tend to stereotype a country and its citizens based on the rumours and news they have read about through social platforms. We have also lost that freedom to live life the way we want without fearing of being judged by others.

I find it disturbing that the media keeps referring to my marriage, since I got divorced in 1979. But the media never wants to let me forget.
Bianca Jagger

Because of mass media, celebrities and politicians are unable to live a proper life without the interference from paparazzi. It is heart-breaking to see them leading a controlled life instead of living the way they want to, where they have to maintain that certain image everywhere they go to avoid any spreading of rumours and gossips through social networks. And in this case, although all of us are humans, there is this line of separation that separates our lives with theirs.

It is true that media globalization currently does, and will continue having a profound impact on our lives. However, while media globalization does bring about benefits that we are familiarise with, I feel that it is necessary for us to consider its consequences as media globalization continues moving on to a wider scale.

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Risks of us over-providing personal information on social platforms

Privacy is now a has-been luxury as media globalization takes over the globe, where we no longer have that privilege to seclude ourselves from others. With the introduction of mass media, the way we portray ourselves to the public has now become the way the rest of the world sees us.

[Image] Stomp, a platform for Singaporeans to post insights on news that they find entertaining.

Steven Lim, one of Singapore “well-known celebrity”, making a fool out of himself as he dance to PSY’s Gangnam Style

 MRT Fight Over Seat – The Battle Of Older Auntie vs Young Girl

Take Singapore for an example. With all these videos and updates being posted on these global social platforms, we are now seen as an ‘uncultured’ society where “there were more dogs than humans”.  Many netizens have also lament on the embarrassing lack of social grace in Singapore’s society. This might affect that overall image of Singaporeans, where we are now being portrayed to the world as uncultured and disrespectful creatures, giving the world a reason to judge us based on those news they encountered online. This is a clear example of how our privacy has now become a has-been luxury.

[Image] With an increase in the number of paparazzi these days, artistes and politicians have been facing severe privacy issues, where they can no longer have a private life of their own.

These days, people get their news from Twitter, Facebook and other media sites that get to the stories faster than traditional news outlets that get the news out to those looking for it as it happens. (Fraser, 2012) However, this is also the reason to why rumours concerning artistes and politicians are spreading fast in social networks. It is stated that a rumor started at a random node of the Twitter network in average reaches 45.6 million of the total of 51.2 million members within only eight rounds of communication. (Doerr, 2012) This is the reason to why artistes and politicians these days are being bombarded with rumours and gossips so frequently.

References:

http://www.mpi-inf.mpg.de/~tfried/paper/2012CACM.pdf

When was the last time you check in through Foursquare or Facebook, or perhaps tweet an update of your life or upload your vlog on Youtube? We are over providing personal information on the Internet so often through platforms like Twitter and Facebook to an extent where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg feels that this has become a “social norm.” (Brien, 2010)

 Xiaxue, a famous blogger from Singapore got to know her husband, Mike, through her blog.

[Screencap] Fans are able to get in touch with international artistes through social platforms.

The benefits of these social platforms is something each and everyone of us are familiar to, from global communication across language and culture barriers, to keeping in touch with long lost acquaintances. However, with rising concerns regarding privacy issues, it is about time we become aware of the risks we are putting ourselves into as we over provide our personal information on these social platforms.

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References:
http://www.switched.com/2010/01/11/facebooks-mark-zuckerberg-claims-privacy-is-dead/

We are living in a society where dieting has become a social norm. With a variety of diet plans available to us in just a click, it is hardly surprising that at least 10% of our female population spend their entire lives dieting. (Murray 2012)

 Types of food consumed in a Low-Calorie Diet

[Image] An Atkins Diet Plan

[Image] Ready made diet plans available with just a search in any search engines

[Image] My Fitness Pal’s iPhone app and online web account are free

[Image] We are able to track our daily food intake easily and get specific recommendations

[Screencap] People from around the globe encourages and motivates one another through forums like My Fitness Pal

And with all these dieting resources available to us everywhere, we are indeed overexposed to the concept where dieting is beneficial to everyone. This brings me to my other point where eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, may develop from dieting. Eating disorders affect up to 5 million Americans each year, (Hopkins, 2012) and in Singapore, females as young as eight are falling prey to anorexia nervosa. (Chandra, 2012)

[Google Image] Females having a distorted image of their own body as they try to achieve that ‘perfect’ body image

[Google Image]  Bulimics torturing themselves as they try to be ‘perfect’.

[Google Image] The body of an anorexic.

Personally, without that overexposure to the idea of dieting through mass media, I highly doubt that we will be so concerned with our body image and undergo dieting. Without that constant bombarding of images and messages that reinforce the idea that happiness and success is linked to thinness, youth will grow up without the mentality of wanting to be slim and undergo dieting measures.

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References:

http://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/01/10-percent-of-women-diet-their-entire-lives/

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/fit-to-post-health/obsessed-being-thin-not-alone-033735786.html

http://www.sais-jhu.edu/students/student-life/healthcare/bodyimage.pdf

Embrace and love your body, it is the most amazing thing you will ever own. – Tumblr

We are living in a century where our society is overly obsessed with the idea of the perfect body image. (Sexton, 2006) You can see that “perfect” body image everywhere, be it in magazines, fashion runways or advertisements.

[Image] The hourglass is normally accepted as the “ideal” female shape in Western countries.

Females tend to perceive an unrealistic thinness as the ideal body image

Males tend to perceive an unrealistic muscle mass and higher weight as the ideal

Some may argue that being conscious of our body image might not totally be a bad thing. Most standard clothing outlets cater to size 14 or smaller, but 50% of the female population are size 14 or larger. (Jones, 2012)

[Image] One of the common clothing size chart used for online shopping

[Image] A collage of typical ugly fashions offered to that 50% who are of size 14 and larger.

This brings me to my point that exercising actively and having a balance diet not only help us to stay healthy, it is also able to ease some of the social pressure we face. We tend to be more confident and happy with ourselves after every workout session. Endorphins, also known as the “feel-good” enzymes, are released when we exercise. (Schoenfeld, 2012)

But the question is, are we truly undergoing the right procedures to achieve that ideal body image of ours, or are we simply choosing an alternative route that seems easier and quicker?

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References:

http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/articles/archive/0699article.htm

http://www.plus-model-mag.com/2012/01/plus-size-bodies-what-is-wrong-with-them-anyway/

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-media-influence-body-image-beauty-28406.html?cat=5

However, despite the benefits that were mentioned previously, there are still consequences of online shopping that we should take into consideration.


There are netizens who are hiding behind their screens and prowling online with their phony sites. We are putting ourselves at risks of identity theft and “smishing” by providing our personal details each time we make a purchase online.

Though a number of people may feel that online shopping is convenient and allows them to purchase their preferred products at a cheaper rate, a significant proportion of them still do not like giving their personal details or credit card number online.

Ever bought a product online only to find that it’s a replica or that it’s a totally different product? Popular sites like eBay and Amazon do have fraudulent sellers, and it is stated in a review on eBay that 50% of all the Microsoft software are fakes.

An example of a victim of a scam on eBay.

So, is online shopping something beneficial or harmful? In my opinion, although it is true that we’re open to more choices through online shopping and there are more opportunities for young entrepreneurs, the risks we’ve to have take seem to overpower those benefits. Not only are we putting our privacy at risk by providing our personal information to the whole world, we are also giving fraudulent sellers from around the globe a chance to cheat us with their phony goods due to media globalization.

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References:
http://pewresearch.org/pubs/733/online-shopping

Online shopping, otherwise known as blog shopping, is a very Singaporean phenomenon.

Livejournal hosts over 50,000 Singapore-based blogshops.

With the help of media globalization, opportunities are created for these entrepreneurs who enter the market for an extra income through this platform. In recent years, the number of online blog shops that sell international fashion wears and accessories has been rising sharply, where up to 10% of the livejournal blog shops in Singapore earn more than 1,500 USD each month (WEBWIRE, 2011)

Angela Ang (24), owner of My Glamour Place earns an average of 30,000SGD per month.

Young entrepreneurs can make use of this opportunity to start their own business and even if the idea fails, they are still able to earn profits by selling the products at bargained prices or switching to a better supplier. This encourages the younger generation to test their creativity skills and entrepreneurship skills and learn vulnerable life lessons which we won’t be able to receive through our education system. And by looking at things from this perspective, media globalization has provided a beneficial platform to us.

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References:
http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=150803

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/fit-to-post-technology/couple-30k-monthly-revenue-blogshop-020251685.html