Media

Media based communication has become the cornerstone of modern life. The internet and social media are both a gift and a problem: while they have become salient ingredients in our daily lives, they can also be manipulative, employing algorithms for commercial and political exploitation and disseminating ‘fake news’, often instigating social disruption, fear, hatred and eroding trust. Can positive psychological principals help us connect, and retain media as a place where compassion and hope are experienced, a media more responsive to our values and social context?

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that we can re-claim the full range of media to connect, facilitate sharing and supportive social interactions that decreased isolation, anxiety and apathy. To do so, we have media communication tools such as constructive and citizen journalism, personal social media apps, as well as the Internet platforms that provide us with more choice and control over media than ever before. To exploit this fully, improved communication skills and relationships with media personnel are needed, to both stimulate positive action and increase diversity and decreasing inequality through facilitating ‘boundary crossing’ between social sectors. We can use powerful media tools to engage people, create empowerment, and challenge dysfunctional beliefs.

Examples of successful positive media programming, increasing our internet literacy and technologies skills, and influencing mass media and community radio broadcasting, are discussed. We all have a role to play in sustaining an effort to create the media we want through combating the echo chamber of ‘likes finding likes’. The question then is not so much what can media do to increase wellbeing, but what can we do to use or re-create media for wellbeing in helping ‘create a world we want to live in’?

Resources

Extended list of references