It wasn’t more than a few moments after reading the explanation of ‘mediated reality’ (the third chapter of ‘Mediating the Message in the 21st Century’) that I began to wonder about the effect of today’s social media environment on this concept, as I understand it.
For example, how do social media outlets, like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook today mediate reality differently than traditional media? The book itself asks whether a personal observation provides you with a more ‘truthful’ view of what is being presented, versus what the media portrays. What about thousands, or even millions of nearly-real time reports from individual ‘reporters’?
Thinking back on the Boston Bombings, which I followed closely on Twitter and traditional media, I found myself following individuals and police in that area, along with the more traditional media outlets. Understanding the reality of that horrible event involved sorting through what might be rumor and speculation, with kernels of actual truth sprinkled throughout. Absolute reality to me was the validated reports that the traditional media reported on after the fact.
Perhaps even in a world with millions of voices, we still rely on organized, traditional media to mediate our reality and present the truth.