How Social Media is Shaping Our Reality

Alberto Adler
4 min readMar 14, 2021

By Alberto Adler

The mass media today includes a massive list of players. It ranges from communication vehicles from the analog era to streaming players, social networks, and games.

Before, the term “Mass Media” applied only to channels that simultaneously reached many people, a considerable public- “the mass.”

Evolution of Communication and Algorithms

With the evolution of the communication channels, I believe that the term simultaneity can, and should, be set aside. We must consider the number of people affected by each of these means (and their respective vehicles) and how this replication of world perceptions impacts them. Hence, I include streaming and games, for example, in this commentary article.

The first instance of the social media impact on our perception is creating a bubble of the channels through which we inform ourselves. The newspapers, news channels, and interactions on social networks all tend to give feedback to our ideological perception of the world.

However, even within this already restricted universe, algorithms tend to limit us even more.

Concerning news channels, for instance, the algorithms seek to feed us news from the city and/or region where we live. The algorithms also aim to show us the subjects that most interest us. In the configuration of some news channels such as Flipboard or Edge, they ask us, in the configuration process, to select the topics we desire to see.

In others, the algorithm learns according to our traffic history. This selection can lead us to look only at the same subjects always. If you don’t search a lot about culture news, or if you didn’t select this topic when installing the news app, you will be simply no longer able to receive cultural programming. Things such as releases, reviews will not be part of your bubble, to the point of making yourself alienated when referring to cultural issues. And this can happen concerning any areas of interest, not only with arts and culture.

The question of social networks also comes into play.

First, there is the issue of “bubbles” in which the algorithm tends to show us the posts of those friends with whom we interact the most, making this flow viciously repeat itself.

But there are also link cookies that we click on. So, suppose you looked at a story on a particular site. In that case, publications from that site will continue to appear on your timeline as bait for new accesses. As you repeat access to this site, the trend is that their (the site’s) worldview will become part of your repertoire.

Due to the differences in each platform’s objectives or channel, this same situation is repeated with streaming channels.

The set of choices of movies and series that appears to you will be quite different from the ones that would show up to your spouse or to your child. And it is based much more on what you watched than what you liked or disliked.

So, if you watch some films of a particular genre, the algorithm will try to push you more movies and series of that genre to the detriment of other genres.

Limiting our Spectrum and Reach

Whoever watches more action and science fiction films and series will receive more and more suggestions and notifications of these genres. If you never search for titles of other genres, over time, categories like romantic movies or children’s movies (just as hypothetical examples) will disappear entirely from your menu. After a particular time, it will be as if they did not exist. In the algorithm perception of your taste, these genres will become increasingly irrelevant, limiting your taste and possibilities for fun more and more.

With games, one of the great examples I find to exemplify this influence on world perception is the influence of sports games, such as FIFA, in the formation of children’s world perception.

As these games work on the player’s fantasy, it is natural that the teams that appear are the big ones in Europe -Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, etc. So, children who play these games in their local states tend to cheer for teams outside of their everyday reality. They will idolize players who, probably, will never see play in person, like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

This trivial principle tends to weaken the local culture’s traces (such as rivalry between local teams). In the medium / long term, we note that making the business environment related to sports is less and less relevant.

Since there will be smaller publics for sports and local games, fewer sales of team shirts, less advertising in stadiums, fewer transmissions from local games. All that means less money circulating and fewer jobs generated. This hurts local communities.

The same pattern of selection/exclusion is reflected in other types of sports and with different themes than sports.

About The Author

Alberto Adler is a Brazilian Scholar, a Visionary. He is a Pos-Graduation Professor for the Estácio de Sá University of Propaganda and Marketing. He is also a Planning Strategist on Advertising. His substantial professional experience and expertise involve both focused and eclectic backgrounds. Adler is a writer, a well-known researcher, a strategic Communication Planner, an expert on Strategic Communications and Market Intelligence. Adler is also a Business Mentor and a Leadership coach. Follow him on Facebook.



Alberto Adler

Alberto Adler is a Brazilian Scholar, a Visionary. He is a Pos-Graduation Professor. Adler is also a Business Mentor and a Leadership coach.