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’?

Clay Shirky (2009) How social media can make history. TED.

David Puttnam (2013) Does the media have a “duty of care”? TEDxHousesOfParliament.

Tim Berners-Lee (2014) A Magna Carta for the web. TED.

Fadi Chehadé & Bryn Freedman (2018) What everyday citizens can do to claim power on the Internet. TED.

Steven Pinker (2018) Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers. TED.

Markham Nolan (2012) How to separate fact from fiction online. TEDSalon London.

Marshall McLuhan: Interview in 1977 just before he died:

Documentary from 1967: This Is Marshall McLuhan – The Medium Is The Massage

Joseph Stiglitz (2019) People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent. p. 75. W.W. Norton.

Why media matters

Eyes wide open

Reclaiming the media we want and need

Aspiration and action

Going forward: being media