Yesterday, I spent almost two hours trying to figure out how to do the double exposure effects on Photoshop. Today, I built my second personal website within twenty minutes simply by following the instructions online. As someone who knows nothing about coding or computing, the easy steps truly give me the opportunity to enjoy the outcome of those intelligent web developers.
However, the convenience also makes me wonder—- does it weaken our abilities in certain fields, or does it provide an easier access to something not everyone should be professional in? Think about it. Ten years ago, the only way for people to edit a photo was to use professional computer softwares such as Lightroom and Photoshop. Nowadays, there are thousands of free APPs that allow us to achieve similar effects on our phones. Are the advances making us lazier in acquiring new knowledge? Is it really necessary for someone “irrelevant”, such as a physicist, to be able to edit an iPhone picture by using Adobe softwares? For me, is it essential to know the coding process of building a website, or is it more efficient to apply specialization in each field?
For my final project, the topic is about social media and its influences on female body image. Undeniably, digital media has dominated our lives, which leads to the standardization of beauty and the seemingly unconscious instillations of “perfect” body images. For me, I struggle a lot with social media and how I should present myself. I believe that I am not the only one who is mentally impacted by social media.
The topic has been important and meaningful to me since high school. Five years ago, I made an interview-based video in which I interviewed several girls aged around 25-30 about their perceptions of beauty. “What is beauty? What led to your understanding of beauty? What have you done to achieve the standards of beauty?.” My interviewees talked about how their early ideas about beauty were influenced by magazines and Japanese cartoon characters and how they spared no effort to reach the expectations of feminine beauty. Five years later, with the widespread applications of digital media, I wonder what are some new aspects that contribute to the standardization of feminine beauty and perfection. Through the final project, I wish to understand the topic more in depth.
Over a number of news sources (such as news website and online newspaper), it is not an easy job to make a decision amongst. After glancing through the pages of several news websites, TIME became my final target. The seven sections, listed as “U.S.”, “politics”, “world”, “ideas”, “health”, “entertainment” and “tech”, represent the emphasis and main values of TIME to a large extent. Personally, I really appreciate the efforts in the “ideas” section. New ideas are what keep the world improving and running. Especially in the media field, ideas can never be neglected. Moreover, TIME magazine was founded in 1923 in New York City. With more than 90 years of history, the span of time will definitely bring new insights into the developing media world.
Published on February 1, 2019, the article titled “‘AI Farms’ Are at the Forefront of China’s Global Ambitions” talks about the technology trend in China. It mentions the Bainiaohe Digital Town in Guizhou, China and how the location of the town and the relatively inexpensive labor contribute to the competitive power of technology development in China. “As China’s economy slows and rising wages make manufacturing less competitive”(Campbell 7), there is an increasing attention on technology. In China 2025 plan, Chairman Xi even aims to ensure that China dominates most of the high-technology industries. The article reminds me of the idea of digital Taylorism. While decades ago, farmers worked in fields with hoes and plough, “digital farmers” nowadays work with computers and technology. After all, the essence of the industry never changes.
There are over 124300 results for the keyword “digital media”. With the strong database, I believe that TIME will make my research work easier and more effective.