From Student Aleks Flur:
I think the media changes us on some level. Whether we do it consciously or not, we take things from watching hours upon hours of a TV series that stay with us for the rest of our lives. But just what or how much we take is entirely up to us.
We may attempt to build ourselves around a collection of personalities from different shows. We might say to ourselves, “Hey, I’m just like that guy,” or “I want to be him.” (Has anyone else run into an imitation Barney Stinson?)
Or we might simply plant a little seed in the back of our minds, giving us advice on how to interact with people. We see certain situations being played out, and it more or less teaches us how to react in that situation. (I’m sure watching Leonard deal with Sheldon Cooper or Ross fight with Rachel are tough situations that no one is really sure how to deal with.)
But are things like media marathoning responsible for creating who we are, or is it just a catalyst for reflection? Does TV change us deep down inside, or just how we present ourselves to the world? Would we even be the same people without watching so many shows? A recent University of Buffalo study concluded that watching Superman can indeed change our body image–and grip.
I think the evidence is there in those that have found their “niche” in society through media. Whether it’s the hopeless romantic Twigh-hards, hipsters circulating GIFs of short-lived shows on tumblr, or the Ryan Howards of the world who think their boss is an idiot, it’s all the same. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we construct who we are and how we think based in part on the media templates provided for us.