Digitalization’s costs and benefits to modern societal expectations are finally undergoing study and re-contextualization as the entire media landscape continues to shift. With increasing technological progress, a democratization of the necessary tools and outlets for releasing narrative productions became infinitely more accessible. A wave of new Post-Golden-Era content would flourish and flood all aspects of distribution and social/digital media. Pros and cons parallel the effects on individuals and groups as content’s regulation standards are more lenient and continue to trend that direction. Traditional studies have focused on directly influencing the impact on early childhood empathy, yet the substantial evidence is lacking for a complete picture of today’s industries. After years of surplus media and cheaper quality outlets and production tools, a new pattern began to align in artistic creations: where does the imitation start and end?
Violence in various art forms and its depiction have gone through transitions, along with profanities increasing allowance, and the soft-core sex scenes, have occurred alongside a societal desensitization. Unbelievable to even imagine for today’s younger audience members is back during the I Love Lucy era of television. Standards and practices were strict to a point where couples couldn’t be depicted sharing the same bed. Consumption of narrative entertainment continued to increase exponentially as audience’s hunger for more “gritty” material lit the fuse for today’s quality content. A combination of external events and continuous exposure to these increasingly popular themes lead to viewer desensitization correlating with the increased creation of depressive non-resolved plots. A cyclical process continues a never-ending relationship directly affecting audiences and content. Narratives continue to reflect an interpretation of modern society while inevitably reinforcing that behavior to new levels. As the thematic trends continue, the next wave of media re-enacts the shifted practices, and the wheel starts its rotation again.
“What happened? While some may posit the nation has grown coarser over time,
some observers suggest technology is the real culprit.”
(Why Sex, Obscenities Are Now the Norm on Broadcast TV | Media – AdAge)
Sexualized depictions of countless stories have altered the state of “premium” to now network television projects. Wildly exciting, opening numerous new opportunities to intake various ideas and images, the internet was another lawless frontier. Destroying the music industry may be the most substantial financial disruption caused by new outlets (thanks, Napster!) while the psychological ramifications may never end. Entertainment is now a spectrum of consumption from portability, to access a large variety of content, and almost no (initial) regulation. A wave of new creations would push both the ambition and the comfort of viewers to accept modern tropes:
Hands running over a back and faces = sex
Swearing is chill if silent … F-society in Mr. Robot (2015, USA) know how to toss that around
A lot of swears are okay to say… Shit.
Wow, the blood and violence today. Did you see Hannibal (2013, NBC)
Expectations and desensitization are the ultimate “culprit” resulting in the modern media landscape. Ultimately an endless supply of “different” types of entertainment will continue to pour into an individual livelihood. Over-saturation at the current rate should exponentially increase the psychological effects of consuming ever-more sex and violence (…which sounds like a mom speaking, sorry).
The Post-Golden-Era is an over-saturation of content leading to a series of stagnation and financial disruptions. Lighting the fuse for this economic revolution began with the introduction of increasingly affordable televisions. 80 years or so later, outlets reached new heights with digital distribution and eventual media streaming services. 2017 will be remembered as the “Fall of the Block Busters,” the beginning of phase 3 digitization for audiences, unprepared creators, and fiscal stability for the industry. Affordability of both viewing and videographer gear leveled the playing field for independent studios and artists which is a real win-win. Innovation has caught up to attention spans and interest in an overwhelming amount of new independently created and distributed content. Everything ends though, today’s creative landscape has tipped to a point where it is beginning to fall off, entering a deep spiral into uncharted waters. Amazingly timed, sexual harassment is back in the limelight of Hollywood (as it has been and will most likely continue to be) which leads to a newer different danger for those working in front and behind the camera.
As regulations continue their crumble in Tinsel-Town, it is unsurprising they have gone completely haywire on the web. From illegal streaming, “pranks” that can harm or harass individuals (or are fake!), advertising manipulating popularity rankings, echo-chambers galore, “swatting” streamers, and even child neglect and abuse. After a certain point, the overflow of media will begin to reflect in life. The divisions inspiring heightened engagement (which is great) along with cruel messages of white “superiority,” are the duality at play within life imitating forms of “art.” Ripples will continue to widen, and the surplus of “news” outlets along with more crude entertainment reach both children and adult’s increasing desensitization. This feedback loop needs to be looked at and at the very least considered a part of essential education regarding “media literacy.”
Can You Have Too Much Educational Entertainment?
Dramatic Changes in Youth Exposure to Media
 Synonymous to the common trope of “happy endings” in dramatic, high stakes stories.
Waldfogel, Joel, How Digitization Has Created a Golden Age of Music, Movies, Books, and Television, Journal of Economic Perspectives —Volume 31, Number 3—Summer 2017—Pages 195–214, https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.31.3.195 doi=10.1257/jep.31.3.195
Greenwald, Andy, TV's new violence problem, Murder Inc. July 31, 2013, http://grantland.com/features/tv-violence-problem/
Steinberg, Brian, WHY $#*! OUR TVS SAY IS NO LONGER TABOO, Media – AdAge, April 18, 2011, http://adage.com/article/media/sex-obscenities-norm-broadcast-tv/226990/
Helen G. M. Vossen, Jessica T. Piotrowski & Patti M. Valkenburg (2017) The Longitudinal Relationship Between Media Violence and Empathy: Was It Sympathy All Along?, Media Psychology, 20:2, 175-193, DOI: 10.1080/15213269.2015.1121825
Anousha Sakoui Emma Orr, Hollywood Might Not Bounce Back From Theaters’ $1.3 Billion Stock Collapse, Bloomberg, August 3, 2017, 12:50 PM MDT Updated on August 3, 2017, 6:07 PM MDT https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-03/after-1-3-billion-stock-collapse-hollywood-s-picture-blurs
Grady, Constance, The YA dystopia boom is over. It’s been replaced by stories of teen suicide: What it means that 13 Reasons Why is the new Hunger Games, Vox, https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/10/18/15881100/ya-dystopia-teen-suicide-13-reasons-why-hunger-games