Campfire Curiosity Series

Here you will find the collection of Campfire Curiosity articles.... Aimed to get you talking here online - Campfire Curiosity is an article which begins due to an encounter - maybe a snippet of news - a radio show - an unexpected chat .....this triggers ponderings, possibly research ... then it is thrown into the fire awaiting the lick of your flames ... Share your experience, your perspective, your knowledge, as you do so, create a friendship & see where the conversation leads....... x

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by Michelle Spriddell
Southwell, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom,
Created on 24 May 2017

The intro i think explains this project fairly concisely (which is rare for me). It is a space for you to connect with a simple pondering, join the conversation by sharing your experiences or understanding so far and be open to growing it further, maybe in entirely new directions - It is, i feel, what Campfire is all about  - The exploration of ideas, application of new directions and finding the people to create the change we dare to envisage. 

It is ok not to have the answers or even the opinions when you post. It is ok to learn publicly and together. It is more than ok to enrich the conversation by joining in... See you by the online fire. 

If you are a ponderer and want to join the project please do get in touch - all are welcome x 

 

 

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Wed, 05/24/2017

Media or the Masses? Campfire Curiosity #5

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I invite everyone to join in this conversation, bring your experiences and expertise - sharing your viewpoints really does help.  I would especially love to hear from those within the production and publication industries - film/media etc. My curiosity has led to the question 'Who should lead on positive change, on raising awareness - the media or the masses? and how can we be part of that?'

Let me explain a little because i know on the surface to some it is seen as a combined effort that one feeds the other and they are all part of the same landscape, shaping eachother. Others will view the media as having a profound effect on what shapes our thinking and then of course the business minds will say that they provide what people want - they respond to popular demand.  

 

This question was retriggered in my head recently when listening to a radio interview with a female director (really i can't remember the details, apologies) the topic was about the small amount of women playing roles that do not play into a specific stereotype. The type of roles that allow women to be seen in a much more complex light or with many layers to themselves, normal women, generally the main role of the film and not the support. The overall opinion put across was that rightly or wrongly, the film industry will respond to what people want - it reflects societies attitudes and beliefs. Until society allows for equal treatment and expression and recognition of the genders and of individuals generally, the mainstream film industry will not create as many roles or films which model that. Put simply the demand is not there. The proof is being seen that times are a changing, in recent years Disney and Hollywood have begun turning the tide, changing the focus and storylines - for many though, not quickly or deeply enough. 

So this would indicate that 'the masses' need to act - they need take the reigns, need to really get on with forcing the issue in their everyday lives in order to address and change the inequalities that they see.... the problem i see with that is, 'the masses' are actually exposed to a lot of media that is controlled and created by a representation from one section of this society and if you grow up with this exposure - your brain is trained in a certain way.

The 24 hour news channels seem to repeat mindless angles of the same story and don't provide the important information from around the globe. Mainstream tv channels spot a  trend for loving a certain style of cookery programme or reality tv show for example - then suddenly you have no other options available because everyone is using the same format and of course we all know that models with certain figures are still favoured in many magazines over those with more realistic looking bodies.

It feels to me that the media has a great deal of power in guiding and nurturing our society, our intellects. It is creating expectations through repetition and focusing on a very small variety of formats at any given time, basically it is training millions of people's brains to stop expanding and only to do so when they are guided to by the media who picks up on a particular trend. 
 

Another aspect fueling this question came to light today when chatting to my father in law, who told me that the Oxford Dictionary Junior edition had been taking out a number of nature related words such as: acorn, magpie, otter, apricot, buttercup, bluebell, pasture to name a few - their reasons being on focusing on words which were more relevant and beneficial to children's lives now. Words such as blog, mp3 player among many others etc were being included. 
I have no problem with words such as this being included, but my logic tells me that the dictionary creators shouldn't be led by surveys of 'the masses' it should be part of a duty we all have, to help children discover the world that they may also not be in direct contact with but are most definitely still a part of. They had assessed what words may be needed in classrooms, somewhat frightening to think that classrooms may not be encouraging conversations about the natural world. 

Doesn't the media whether film, tv, image, publication have a responsibility to lead - to educate - to broaden? 

 

So what do we 'the masses' do about it? How do we get our minority voices from our individual lives/experiences/desires heard on a bigger scale and transferred onto the mass media? 

Technology is definitely helping, new generations are starting to find ways of tailor making their viewing  experiences so that they do get what they want when they want it, more people/businesses with the help of blogs/livestreaming/forums are having their voices heard and meeting the needs of individuals and niche markets not just a perceived 'masses'.  Movements like campfire convention are helping because i feel this type of environment may help people discover more trust worthy sites - more rounded channels or programmes. 

The industries too are starting to be shaken by movements such as the #Metoo with public support and acknowledgement that sexual harrasment does not have a place in how these industries are run going forward.

In relation to the dictionary - a petition now has over 53,000 signatures and books have been written about the 'lost words'.

 

I still can't quite understand though if technology is making the world smaller, we are therefore more aware of how interconnected our world is. Why is it then that the mainstream media seems to be focusing in even more - it seems to be dumbing down - is it because it is scared of loosing the money? scared to take a risk and only please a few people? Is it the fact the their infrastructures are so big they simply cannot change the culture within to match the culture without fast enough and cannot update the technology to provide an alternative option? 
 

Does this mean that there is actually even more room now for people to create something radically different on smaller scales and possibly revert to smaller budgets with bigger impact? Again i come to campfire members - let's really get talking about this - exploring how the technology can solve this particular problem - how it can be done differently - a new supply and demand model. 

Tell us your thoughts - where is it working differently ? what do you feel is missing? what am i blissfully unaware of .... thanks for joining the virtual campfire conversation .... 

 

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Ralph Pettingill

Thanks again @Michelle Spriddell your article prompted lots of thoughts as this is a subject that's at the centre of my own concerns. I've written quite a long response and will post it when I've had a chance to give it another read through. ..

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Michelle Spriddell

Looking forward to reading it - will try very hard not to leave it so long this time !!