Everyone has a place in the media hierarchy, whether they're aware of it or not (Except perhaps The Outcast, a rare fellow).
As you read through this article, you will find yourself. And you will find people that you know. You may fall into one particular category or you may fall between categories.
But you will fall somewhere in the hierarchy.
Maybe you don't care where you are on the media hierarchy. And maybe you think the idea of a "media hierarchy" is stupid. That's ok. You can think that.
You're still in the hierarchy, nevertheless.
Let's start with those at the bottom of the pile.
This character is in big trouble. A particular type of media has managed to creep itself deep inside their brain and ruin their life.
They wake up every single day feeling an uncontrollable thirst for this particular type of media. It could be video games, pornography, social media or mobile games. This character is having the unfortunate experience of being on the wrong end of a behavioural addiction.
A behavioural addiction that is knowingly sold to them by the creators of this media.
The media producers are milking this individual for every dollar they have. They've hooked them on their platform and they're draining the life out of them and turning it into profit.
The addict is most likely between the ages of 12-20 as the teenage brain is the most susceptible to behavioural addiction although older addicts are still common. Social media addicts are more likely to be female and video game/pornography addicts are more likely to be male.
Media producers are taking advantage of our current time period, when incorporating behavioural addictions into your media is still legal.
The law hasn't kept up with advancing technology, therefore there are no laws against using manipulative and addictive techniques in video games and there are no barriers between pornography and young teenagers.
If you find yourself in this category, good luck. You have a mountain to climb and nobody is going to recognise your struggle.
Behavioural Addiction is hard enough for fully grown adults to overcome, let alone teenagers.
If you are in this age group, chances are high that you don't even recognise your addiction yet. Because education hasn't kept up with technology, you may consider addiction as something associated only with drug addicts.
Nobody told you that playing that MMORPG is like playing with drugs. (Although, it is possible that an addiction to media may have replaced a potential drug addiction, so you can be thankful for that)
Some in this category are aware of their addiction, some are in denial. They all realise the reality of their addiction eventually.
On the plus side, those that manage to become aware of and overcome their addiction have learnt an important lesson about media that our next group, the unconscious masses, have never learned.
THE UNCONSCIOUS MASSES
70% of the herd fall into this category.
Here you will find the basic bitch and the basic bro.
Those in this category have a number of limitations on their mind that they're not even aware of.
They receive all of their news through mainstream sources. And so their worldview is created for them by somebody else.
The only news they talk about is the news they're TOLD to talk about.
They feel as though they're being intellectual as they discuss the latest news:
"ISIS, Gay marriage, North Korea, Immigration”
Not ever considering that the very Framework For Discussion has been set out for them ahead of time. Never noticing that certain conversations never seem to appear on their screens or in their newspapers.
If they live in the west, they support western foreign policy. The wars on the other side of the planet are justified and unquestionably right. If they live in China, there is nothing questionable about their government’s communist hold on the country. If they live in North Korea, then King Jong-un is a glorious leader.
It doesn’t matter where in the world they live, those in the unconscious masses will always believe that the actions of their own country are morally right.
For those in this category, the news is trustworthy.
They can rely on the news to give them an accurate portrayal of the world around them. They don't need to spend time reading books or seeking out alternative viewpoints, because the mainstream news has a good handle on that for them.
Every 5 years, as the electoral cycle comes around, those in this category get excited and interested.
What will the new government bring? Who will win this year? Will it be red or will it be blue?
They read and watch political content with wide-eyes and interest.
It seems like a close race this year! How exciting!
And they really like what the young guy in red tie is saying this election.
For those in this category, the political show is all important. They may even hold up a sign and cheer at political rallies.
Never stopping to wonder, if the show they're watching has any impact on real policy.
Never wondering, why year after year, certain things never seem to change, no matter which government is in power.
Never considering, that the two parties that appear to be in heavy contest with each other, may actually be on the same side, more than against each other.
And their idea of success is given to them.
If they’re men, success is living inside a rap video. Making it rain. Surrounded by hot girls, money and expensive cars.
If they’re women, success is being chased by handsome men, taken away on a private jet and be proposed to in an exotic location. Or perhaps, it’s having the perfect Instagram page and being envied by the girls and ogled by the men. They want that image. That perfect photo.
Then they will finally be complete.
They're kept inside their online filter bubble, in fact, they have no idea what a filter bubble is. They don't notice that all of the content they read online seems to agree with their own views.
They've never really tried to seek out alternative points of view and they can't understand how the opposite side of the political argument can possibly have the views they do.
They watch TV. And they sit through the commercial break without thinking about hitting the mute button.
They're confident that advertising doesn't work on them. Yet in the real world they ACT OUT the advertiser’s messages perfectly.
And they have an underlying belief that their happiness will be achieved after they hit their next financial milestone.
They keep up with the Jones's. Image is very important to them. They spend money they don't have on things they don't need. They live paycheck to paycheck or they're in debt. They buy brand new cars. They take out 30-year mortgages. They accumulate credit card debt.
They eat junk food filled with high levels of sugar and a long list of chemicals.
They start their day by immediately checking their smartphone. They're big fans of Instagram and Facebook. They get excited with each new notification and they carefully design their social media pages and they stalk the pages of their friends and make judgements.
They swipe the newsfeed for at least an hour every single day. Sometimes, they stumble upon a article or video that makes their blood boil. They hop onto the comments section and get into arguments with others, an argument in which neither side is listened to. They may even get so angry, that they share the article with their friends.
Never do they consider, that the subject of the article was never the point. That the point was user engagement through outrage. To use outrage to get clicks and shares.
They can't read between the lines, because they don't understand how the media works.
And they don’t consider any motivations of media other than the apparently self-evident primary motivation: News articles just tell the news. Social media is just to keep up with friends. TV adverts are just, well, part of life.
They feel in control, while never considering that they're being pulled around all day by agendas that are not their own through media outlets.
These folks have a vague sense that things are not as they seem. But they can’t quite figure out why.
Sometimes, they think they have the world figured out.
But they underestimate how deep the rabbit hole goes.
They understand that there may be more to the political race than meets the eye, but they still seem to get caught up in the debate each year.
They occasionally feel subtly disgusted while they look around the world and see so many people staring down at their Smartphones, but they couldn't tell you exactly why.
And, unnoticed to them, they act out the same behaviour themselves.
They understand that advertising is full of nonsense and they think that they’ve risen above it. Not understanding that nobody can rise above advertising completely.
They may feel a sense of uniqueness and pride as they think about all of the “brainwashed sheep” that surround them as they stand in a crowded public space. While they themselves act in almost exactly the same way as the “brainwashed sheep” they despise.
And another semi-conscious individual has the exact same thoughts about them from across the room.
They don’t trust the media, but they’re not exactly sure why.
THe CONSCIOUS CONSUMER
This character likes to read. They see books are the most accurate way to get information.
They notice the effects of media in the people around them and in themselves.
They have an interest in understanding the ways in which their subconscious mind runs them. They understand that most of their actions are driven by biological urges social conditioning.
They understand that their mind has weaknesses that can be exploited and that advertising works on them.
When it comes to politics, they don't bother with TV news or Newspapers, other than to get the essential facts. They ignore TV debates, scandals and promises made by politicians. They read manifestos and then find out the chances of these policies actually being implemented.
And they find out whether the opinions of a candidate are dictated by money from corporate interests, or whether the candidate truly believes in what they say saying what he believes to be true (A rare thing).
They will consider not only the debate itself, but also the framework in which the debate is held.
And they will consider questions that are outside of the debate framework provided to them by mainstream media:
Why is America selling weapons to the middle east
Why is there so much poverty worldwide when there are more than enough resources for everybody to live comfortably
Are there fundamental problems with the very structure of society that are causing all these problems
Is my government good or evil?
Is my culture good or evil?
They notice when the apps on their Smartphone skilfully take their attention against their will. They notice product placement. They notice that they hear the same 30 songs everywhere they go. They take note of their mental state when using social media.
They see the dark side of the pink, fluffy happiness and the light in the overwhelming darkness, shown to them by media.
They instinctively start reading between the lines, every time a piece of media comes their way.
And they ask questions:
What is the aim of this media?
How does this media make money?
Can this media be trusted?
They doubt themselves. They consider the possibility that everything they think they know could be utterly false.
They consider how, even the fiction they enjoy, may have shaped their worldview and their personality.
They notice small details, like when the news anchor stumbles while reading the auto-cue behind the camera, when businesses use dark patterns to take more of your money and the carefully worded notifications on their phones.
They will look at conspiracy theories with an open mind, while understanding unseen manipulators include both elaborate plans by people AND other, non human forces like market forces and coincidences.
They live in the real world. Not the fantasy one.
This is a rare character, especially in the west.
This rare fellow is not exposed to media. At all. They live outside society. They don't watch TV and they don't use the internet.
They have a world-view closer to that of our ancestors. They're more in-tune with nature. And they've never heard of Donald Trump.
They don't have a Wifi password.
Their interests are simple. Family, friends, sex and food.
Are they happy? Not necessarily. Are they more whole human beings. Almost definitely.
They live in the present moment.
Their attention is focused and undistracted. They don't know what's happening in the world outside their family or tribe. And they don't care.
The only people they compare themselves to are their immediate family and friends.
They wake up at sunrise and sleep after dark. Their sense of time is dictated entirely by the sun.
They've never heard of diabetes, obesity, or McDonalds. They eat a limited selection of food grown or hunted from whichever land they reside in.
Life is a day-to-day struggle, but they meet each day with enthusiasm and a lazer focus
They're not depressed.
They may die early, through disease, accident, or a hungry predator. Or, if they live on the Ryukuyu islands south of Japan, they might live a healthy and active lifestyle all the way into their 90s. (Yes, this is a real thing)
THE CONSPIRACY THEORIST
This character doesn't trust the media. AT ALL. The media is a lie. The system is a lie. The only truth is to be found in conspiracy videos on Youtube and in online blogs in the depths of the internet.
They accept anti-mainstream theories instantly. The moon landings are fake. 9/11 was a hoax. HAARP is changing our weather. The Illuminati is depopulating the earth. And the earth is flat. (Please note, these theories are not equal in credibility)
All of the worlds problems come down to a few elites at the top of society, manipulating everybody else. There are no coincidences. And the government is out to get you.
They know the truth. They are outside the system. So they couldn't possibly have biases of their own. They couldn't possibly be living inside an own echo chamber of their own creation, filled with other conspiracy theorists with the same worldview.
They overestimate the capability of the elites.
Deep down, they enjoy their conspiratorial view of the world because its a fun hobbie and because it's something to distract them their own shortcomings in the real world.
If they're unsuccessful in life, they don't feel so bad about it, because the blame is being placed elsewhere. On the government, the 1% or the illuminati.
In some cases, they're acting out the psychological defence mechanism of displacement. Others subconsciously feel more comfort in the fact that there is a small group of people controlling the human race than the probable reality:
NOBODY IS IN CONTROL. NOBODY IS LEADING THE WAY. AND NOBODY KNOWS WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
This is perhaps a far more scary reality than a group of Illuminati masterminds.
This individual knows the workings of a specific kind of media all too well. If they work in advertising, they know all of the tricks found in every piece of advertising.
They speak in a different language. They talk about sales funnels. Exposure. Demographics. Pychographics. Target markets.
If they work in app development, they know every little trick that apps use.
While they are well versed in their area of media, they may well be completely blind to other areas.
They may be an expert in advertising techniques but watch mainstream news without question.
They may know everything there is to know about app development but spend hours watching pornography every day thinking that it's a healthy activity.
The advertiser. The business owner. The world leader. The influencer. These monsters are at the top of the media hierarchy.
They send their agenda down through the media hierarchy and influence every character their message meets along the way. (Except for THE OUTCAST)
The advertiser sees members of the public as walking dollar signs.
Everybody is a mark. They're either a dumb mark, somebody who is unconsciously manipulated into buying their product. Or a smart mark, the person who understands what the advertisement is trying to do, but buys the product anyway. Either through genuine need for the product, or through rationalisation.
To the advertising manipulator, it doesn't matter why they buy. AS LONG AS THEY BUY.
Ethics don't factor into the equation. They either believe that their manipulation is justified, or they simply want power for themselves.
The effects their mass advertising may be having on the public psyche is not important. What's important is that PEOPLE BUY.
The influences, the ones who own the news sources and the ones in government, use the news to control discussion.
They are not the all knowing, all wise entity that the conspiracy theorists like to paint them as, but the mass media gives them an incredibly useful tool for controlling their own populations.
There cannot be talk of anything being wrong with the system they create. And there cannot be too much talk of their own corruption and control.
These people live in a different world. In this world the stakes are much higher and the numbers much bigger. Some may be driven by power. Some may be trying to do what's best for the human race.
You can also find terrorist groups in this category. Those who use the media to spread their ideology. Because of course, what is a terrorist attack without the media to spread the event.
Mass shooters can sometimes find themselves in this category too
There is no real access to these people. And so understanding the extent of their control over the media and the people is difficult to say.
Did you find yourself described? Did you find your friends described?
If you’re an ordinary guy/girl, you probably want to aim to become The Conscious Consumer.
How do you do that? Well. You keep reading this blog, that’s how.
Inform yourself, or you might just find yourself slipping back down into the Unconscious masses or perhaps even The Addict.