“Far Away, But Virtually Near”

It’s hard to believe that there once was a time when just film, television, and radio were the sources uniting countries together. American films could dominate in another country, signifying that the trends popular in America were now being shared and introduced with an entirely different culture. For example, as Lane Crothers shares in his book Globalization and American Popular Culture,  “American films took 85 percent of European film revenues in the early 1990s, grossing $1.7 billion of total film receipts of $2 billion. This dominance occurred despite the fact that France alone produced an average of 150 movies per year during the same period – suggesting that American movies were vastly more popular than their local counterparts” (Crothers, pg. 76).

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It is a common theme seen around the globe, especially during the 2008 year when movies such as The Dark Knight, Mamma Mia and Kung Fu Panda were traveling out of the United States with absolute popularity. Sweden and the UK were falling in love with these American made big screen pictures, and television hits such as Sex and the City were showing off a new type of culture for the Baltic states of Finland and Slovenia. By these years the form of media had grown beyond having to buy a ticket in order to see a film. People had access to cassettes, DVDs, iTunes, and internet in order to discover these forms of entertainment that were so easily breaking the barriers. But now, with things such as Facebook, Instagram, Skype, and Youtube, it is even easier to find ways to break down the walls that separate the world globally. A person can be separated by oceans, they can be plane rides away and still have the ability to experience and discover something completely new. Strangers can connect in so many different ways because of new media to the point that Globalizing is something that can almost happen with out even realization. It is something that can now happen every single day, with just one click of a button. As Tanner Mirrlees goes into detail on page 40 of Global Entertainment Media Between Culture Imperialism and Cultural Globalization saying that, “Globalization and media act in concert and cohort, and that the two have partnered throughout the whole of human history”. People have the ability to create content on their very own and put it out to the public with out the help of major studios and production companies. Anyone has the ability to build something simply for their own passion with out even the expectation of it being seen past barriers.

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In my own experience, I didn’t post my first song with the mindset that some kid in Australia would be writing to me for advice on their own music. I never posted a video with the intention of anyone outside of my friends and family to see it. Those first videos, the first posts of my music, worked as a way for me to announce to the people close to me that music was actually something I wanted to begin sharing. It’s strangely easy for me to share my music in front of strangers, however, when it comes to my family, it was just more comfortable to post the music up on a website. Maybe it was because the internet, the Youtube and Facebook piece, erased the need to see their reactions and expressions. It made it all a little less personal. I mean, they didn’t even need to press play or listen if they didn’t want to. bUt by uploading that first song, my artwork became public and somehow one share became two shares. One view became a thousand views. And even more shockingly, my biggest traffic source of views was no longer coming from my known neighbors in Massachusetts but instead from places overseas that I didn’t even know existed. I mean, why would someone from Saudi Arabia want to hear my random cover of a Little BigTown song? Why would someone in Ireland care to hear anything from Nashville, Tennessee? Maybe the important question here though isn’t necessarily why, but instead HOW. It’s the how that matters because it proves that media can so easily connect random strangers and introduce cultures to completely new identities and traditions. Because of technology, people have the ability to be “physically absent, yet visually present. Far away, but virtually near” (Mirrlees, pg. 41). It’s a fact that is so true and so simple yet somehow still amazing.

Sources: Crothers, Lane. Globalization and American Popular Culture. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Print.

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