Using the media is not that simple

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Using the media is not that simple

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Over the last few days, “look back” videos were uploaded by many Facebook users. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the social media company sent a surprise present to its users. Users got a message saying that a video summary of their Facebook lives was ready to be viewed, and if you clicked the link you could see a one-minute video.

The main character of the movie is you, and the movie presents a summary of your posts and photos from the date you joined Facebook. It is presented by “Mark and the Facebook Team,” meaning, of course, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Users were moved to see a drama about them. It reminded them of the memories that they had almost forgotten. Those who posted photos of their children got to appreciate how they grew up. The customized sentimental marketing garnered positive reactions. Facebook brought back precious moments from the past 10 years. And it came from Mark and Facebook. While the video is a product of an automated algorithm, it created the illusion that it had been created just for you. The video ends with Facebook’s iconic “Like” symbol, a thumbs up.

Then people began to get a little scared. One of Facebook’s ultimate goals is building personal archives online. Users voluntarily write their histories on their Facebook wall. It is an ambitious project, gathering people’s digital diaries. It is eerie that Facebook remembers your life better than you do. Recently, a woman used the photos and information from Facebook friends to pose as someone completely different. While the news made users wary about identity theft, their fears did not last long and people continued to share information. I also noticed another interesting point. Some people shared their “look back” videos but others didn’t. Some people viewed people’s videos, while others did not. Some didn’t realize the videos were even offered, and some didn’t check their own video.

The media’s influence is mighty, but people use it as they wish. There are as many different ways of using the media as there are users. Using media is not simple. That’s why you often fail to read the world just by looking at the surface.

**The writer is the culture and sports editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 8, Page 31

By YANG SUNG-HEE

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