The media has a come a long way over the years to the point where it plays a vital role in our daily life. Even since the very beginning, the media has brought forward many pressing issues and caused multiple questionable scenarios to crop up. The media is defined as the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the internet) regarded collectively. It has been an essential tool in building a functional civilization and has been regarded as one of the most powerful tools in the world to the point where it is being oppressed in certain nations.
Clearly something so powerful can not only bring good things but may also harm the individual if used poorly. The media used to be a highly exclusive outlet, only available to a select few. News were curated to the likes of the reporters, photographers and owners of these news outlets. Large million dollar corporations were the ones with this tremendous power over the press but now that has certainly changed. No longer are people turning towards print media or mainstream media as more people are drawn to social media where the individual creator is given a personal platform.
Even before this free for all approach was accessible, the media had always dealt with backlash due to the presence of tabloids and just outright manipulative writing. However now this issue has become far more magnified and the media is causing far more negatives than positives in some cases especially for those who fail to use it in a beneficial manner. With more forms of social media surfacing and garnering a large audience, it’s not a surprise that these platforms are being used in nonsensical ways.
The word stan was coined by Eminem in his song Stan where he defines the term as a cross between stalker and fan. The song is about his fan who had an obsession towards him and had killed himself and his pregnant wife by driving off a bridge due to a lack of reciprocation. This word was once used to define insanity and extreme infatuation that is outright destructive but now it has become a word that has been popularized by ‘mega fans’. The meaning of the word is not necessarily the same but in some cases the term fits perfectly.
The word stan as defined by the Oxford American Dictionary means an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity. This definition alone is quite unsettling due to the fact that a celebrity is somehow put on a pedestal and worshiped as an idol. In the past, value was associated with the works of an individual however that concept has been flipped. This is more of an obsession for the creator rather than the creation. There is no longer admiration as that has turned into borderline obsession due to the power of widespread media.
This trend of keeping up with celebrities has long existed and the most notable craze during the olden times were tabloids. These newspapers/ magazines would be the place to get all sorts of information regarding the rich and famous and this culture was frowned upon even during the 80’s. The idea of being so involved in a one sided relationship with celebrities has been jarring and often times was a done as a past time rather than anything. It was merely a conversation starter or a means to grasp personal interest but now it is seen more as a personal battle.
if BTS gets Coronavirus the stans are gonna find a cure within 24 hours— Froste 💯 (@Froste) March 12, 2020
Things that most people consider comedic relief is seen as an attack and many are willing to sacrifice their time and energy by contributing meaningless defense statements in the replies. It is quite an exhilarating form of entertainment but also equally sad how people are defending multi millionaires who in most cases are not even effected by a harmless tweet. There is also no logical reason to fight a battle over something that had no malicious intent to begin with, merely to defend the honor of certain individuals.
Stan culture primarily exists on Twitter but the only reason for that is due to the format which encourages discussions but this tool is now used as a form of harassment. Those who have varying opinions are slaughtered online by huge cults that support a standalone individual or band. This idea of blind extreme loyalty is devouring the Internet as more people seem to form meaningful connections with plastic personalities. Most stans tend to spiral endlessly to the point of losing their individual personality and adapting their idols as a way of gaining a personality trait.
Mega fans have existed in sports for many years but at the end of the day everyone is there to enjoy the game and have a good time. The same can’t be said for internet stans who bully 12 year old’s who post an edgy tweet. This level of toxicity on social media is what brings a bad name for the entire fanbase and often times this crazed behavior can be fueled by the creators themselves as a means to boost engagement and increase profits. There is a fine line between obsession and admiration as one can help in personal development while the other is downright pointless.
Cancel culture is a modern form of ostracism and this has long existed but it was originally called a boycott. The idea behind cancel culture is to hold an individual accountable for things that may often times be overlooked. This so called social justice movement spawned when individuals would bombard social media in the hopes to strip away credibility from an individual by resurfacing old tweets/videos. This culture was popularized due to the rise of political correctness and the need for more people to adapt to this new term.
Political correctness (PC) is defined by Wikipedia as the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against. The PC movement has hounded the media for years and it has evolved over time as more people slowly adapt but the media today has chosen to spotlight news of the past in order to cancel the individual in present day. This is a new level of insanity where people are expected to be time travelers and know what may be seen as offensive before it even happens.
Political figures such as Abraham Lincoln were said to be ‘cancelled’ as Americans can’t agree whether or not President Lincoln is a man worthy of being honored due to issues surrounding racism during the Civil War. Social media influencers were also being cancelled from all angles as people start bringing up older relics that were forgotten and wanting these individuals to show accountability for past actions. Some celebrities choose to ignore the empty screams and move on with their lives which is a fair approach, rendering these claims inconclusive or just not wanting to care in general.
It has come to the point where people think they have the moral high ground over another individual by acting as the judge of their own courtroom. More people dedicate their lives in order to seek justice but this can also be seen as a means to bring down an individual with malicious intent for the sake of it. This is known as ‘tall poppy syndrome’ where an individual has the perceived tendency to discredit or disparage those who have achieved notable wealth or prominence in public life. More people are choosing to jump on the band wagon as it somehow perpetuates a greater life purpose by uncovering a new side to ‘manipulative’ influencers.
The internet has spat out another terminology to define a new growing subculture in the internet. Simp is defined as a silly or foolish person and was derived from the word simpleton during the early 20th century. This word was actually most commonly used in the 1800s but the word holds a new meaning in modern day. The term simp is used to describe a man who would do absolutely anything to win over or please a woman without the woman bringing anything to the table. It is basically a one sided relationship much like commensalism which is an association between two organisms in which one benefits and the other derives neither benefit nor harm.
The female who is being simped on online often times receives the benefit and the male is just left in a state of euphoria or daze. It is hard to pinpoint the harm or benefit that the person receives by simping as often times the concept alone is extremely jarring. The fascination and dedication that is shown by those who simp is derived by an inner desire to be noticed and appreciated but this desire is exploited by many to attain personal wealth. Showering an individual with mindless compliments has always been the go to when it comes to winning someone over and the introduction of twitch donations/ OnlyFans subscriptions has become that equivalent.
Simps or White Knights fight battles online to win the attention of the person they desire only to no avail. The simping phenomenon has grown even more and now people are scared to even be kind to a girl as they don’t want to live with the title of being a simp. In typical fashion on the Internet we have blown yet another miniscule thing out of proportion and ruined it for everyone. The army of self proclaimed simps shall continue to grow as more people would rather drool over internet personalities than get an actual hobby.
Another odd internet subculture that is on the other side of the whole simp uprising is incels. The term incel is derived from the words involuntary celibates which can be used to define individuals who are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one. Incels take a completely different approach and choose to hate women altogether by putting into place old stereotypes and gender roles. Incels tend to blame women for their loneliness which contrasts the approach taken by simps who choose to embrace their loneliness and treat women with undying kindness in return for acknowledgment.
The media has successfully built a screwed narrative that pushes individuals on two extreme sides of the spectrum, choosing to ignore a possible middle ground. More people have chosen to embrace these sentiments due to the large community that radiates a sense of acceptance for these individuals. More internet subcultures will continue to grow on all social media platforms further categorizing people into set groups. Neutrality in the media dies out as more people face polarization and are boxed in early on with the inability to break free.
Leave Me Alone
The media has allowed obsession towards the rich and famous to fester beyond comfort. Celebrities are treated like plastic dolls that have no real life value and people on the outside treat these individuals in extremely foreign ways. Some of these behaviors or words would not be reenacted or uttered in public but the media acts a buffer for people to unleash their wildest characters. This behavior is encouraged due to the large fandom so more people think its okay to act like complete psychopaths as there are other people they can relate to.
Social media is more powerful in comparison to traditional media when it comes to user engagement. Social media encourages discussion amongst users but that wasn’t available for newspapers unless the person was willing to have a physical discussion about the issue. This high level of uncensored discussion online causes there to be a competition to prove who is the biggest fan of the celebrity and people go to extreme lengths to achieve this title. Articles and speculations of celebrities only crop up due to the high demand of stories related to famous individuals.
Fan cams are seen everywhere on twitter and the views it generates is basically a form of currency that helps boost the chances for the celebrity to acknowledge the user’s existence. Fan cams have an entire ecosystem where they exist and it can come off as mildly creepy to zoom into a singular individual and thirst over the celebrity but this practice is still vastly popular in certain communities due to the high demand from die hard fans. This is seen as a means of advertising an individuals favorite group or celebrating the talent of a particular idol in the group.
This thirst for information about celebrities has caused the media to throw away all forms of ethics in the hopes to gather the most private piece of information the fastest. This free for all hunt was first evident when it happened to Princess Diana who died at age 36 having spent her entire life documented by the paparazzi. She was one of the most influential figures in the world and as more people gained interest, more news outlets took drastic measures in order to document her day to day life. Unfortunately for her the term death by the media was quite literal as she was involved in a car accident in a tunnel while being chased by paparazzi.
Sometimes it is possible to take it too far and too much involvement can lead to an unhealthy obsession where an individuals existence is defined by the people they constantly follow online. For many they choose to look up to internet celebrities as influencers or role models but the reality is they are just doing their job. Idolizing people who are profiting of popular influence is an odd combination as many take the façade at face value and formulate a strong opinion about the person solely based on their internet personality.
It’s best to take it down a notch and appreciate the craft without having a strong infatuation towards the individual behind the craft. Putting too much faith in one person is a lot of pressure and the reality is everyone fucks up so that level of dependency is borderline unhealthy and unproductive. There has to be a clear distinction between what should be public knowledge and what is nobody’s business altogether and that distinction should be made by the individual who is constantly hunted down by the media. After the death of Princess Diana the media had faced drastic changes so maybe it’s time to refresh the media we have today.
What Does The Future of Media Look Like?
Considering how the media is going, it is obvious that massive changes will continue to happen in the name of radical change. More woke movements will continue to garner attention and more internet subcultures will continue to crop up. It will get harder to stay on topic and in the loop when it comes to all the latest news and trends due to how demanding an internet lifestyle is in nature. With more people moving away from traditional media and embracing the modern lifestyle, the overall premise of media has become much more accessible to people around the world.
The media will be a place for change as people try to find more like minded individuals to feel more accepted and take a stand. It will continue to be a used as a power tool and more people will recognize the effects of the media on impressionable individual when it comes to making a radical change in the system. The media is already being used in unethical manners to take advantage of kids and exploit an unregulated territory so more restrictions definitely have to put in place to prevent exploitation/indoctrination altogether.
This new world where media becomes more accessible for all holds new possibilities but it will also bring forward brand new challenges. More privately owned tech giants hold power over the voices of billions of people so maybe this new found freedom can turn against the user at any given time. Navigating the media is much like navigating a landmine as one wrong step may be done unknowingly but the aftermath is deadly. With the idea of representation and identity being tied to the media, what is portrayed on these media platforms will forever be a lasting image. More people seem to meet the demise of the media and it is becoming increasingly difficult to maneuver this ever changing landscape.