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ENGL1301 Rhetoric And Composition I

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The Power of the Media

Over the past few years, there has been an undergoing significant changes in the way people read and process information. With the passing years the world is heading towards the creative change. The world is getting faster and it has observed a significant change in the field of communication. The world has adopted the means of media to head towards the effective communication and towards making the world a smarter place to live in. The change has been observed from the old age period to the modern and the post-modern period. The change has also been witnessed from the primitive to the liberal society. One may even argue that the 21st century society is drowning in media. Many scholars and authors have expressed their concern in this regard. Particularly, two authors have raised their concern on the power and effects of media on how people think. In his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” Nicholas Carr shows how the use of the internet has changed the way we read and process information. On the other hand, Charles Duhigg, in his article “The Power of Habit” describes how media is used to develop habits and cravings among the members of society. Although, focusing on different subjects, both authors possess the same concerns regarding the negative impact that the media has on the way society thinks and processes information.

Charles Duhigg introduces the concept of habit and its power. He uses the example of toothpaste and campaign to explain how the human mind develops a craving for a particular good or service and the craving ends up powering an individual’s habit. In the article, Duhigg also demonstrates how people’s thinking can easily be changed by the media using advertisements which create a craving in their mind and a desire to achieve a particular reward as promised in the advertisement. Media has the power to attract huge number of people and they have the power to convey one particular message to a larger number of people. The habit of people has been taken into account in the particular project. There are many people who does not follow the habit of using toothpaste properly. In order to improve this the campaign can be conducted and the campaign can be promoted by the media. Media has the power to convey the right message to maximum number of people. The campaigns would make the people aware of the worst consequences of not using toothpaste.  This manipulates the consumers. Moreover the different toothpaste brands are endorsed by different media artist who the consumers look up to. This is the reason it remained successful. Specifically, the media establishes rewards that may not necessarily be true, but the society believes in the media and end up developing a habit out of the product being advertised. The article points out the fact that the media associates various products with rewards that create cravings among consumers which make the advertised products desirable in the eyes of the viewer. As a result, it influences the way people think and, therefore result into habits. The promotion of the campaigns and the necessity of using safe toothpaste is promoted through different sources of media like, television, hoardings, newspapers etc. Therefore this can be concluded by saying that media has a huge role in making the people reconsider their habits.


In his article, Nicholas Carr raises significant concerns on how the internet and technology as a whole has changed the functioning of the human mind. Precisely, the author believes that the human mind has been hanging over the past few decades, and is not thinking the way it used to. In the past, when reading the mind would read longer pieces of work and go deeper to seek a better understanding of the information being absorbed. However, nowadays with the information being found on the internet, the human mind has lost its concentration level and drifts after two or three pages. What is more, reading which a natural thing was has become a struggle for many people. The medium has changed the process of thought by chipping away people’s capacity for concentration and contemplation (Carr). The web has reduced society’s ability to read and think by creating a habit of shallow reading by organization. These are the negative impacts that the social media has. Like any other thing the internet too has some good as well as negative aspects. The negative aspects have been discussed earlier. The web gives the people the access to the outside world. The individuals are able to get all the information by sitting in their own house. The web serves the individual with certain information that is useful to them. There are certain useful information on the internet that turns out to be useful to the individuals. This helps many students to seek information which helps them in their studies. Apart from this the web offers some unknown facts that are helpful. The web offers some innovative idea that develops the complicated idea.

It is important to note that although the two authors focus on different topics in their articles, they have the same concerns regarding the influence of media on the way people think.  As such, both authors believe that the media has a significant influence in shaping how people process information and think. For instance, Carr believes that the internet (specifically Google) has not only made society lazy but has also grasped a broad influence over people’s thoughts. Mainly, this is because the easy access to large quantities of information has made people to cease from exercising their memory and become forgetful, thereby creating a habit of shallow reading by organization. In the same way, Duhigg demonstrates that the media easily changes the way people believe and in turn create unbreakable habits. He argues that the media has made people to believe whatever is advertised by projecting some facts while creating the idea of rewards. As a result, people tend to work towards getting the reward as there mode of thinking has shifted to crave the benefits of the reward.

All in all, all factors taken into consideration, the two authors utilize their articles to demonstrate the effects of the media on the way people and the society in general thinks. While Carr uses the example of the internet and Google to explain this concept, Duhigg utilizes the example of a toothpaste advertisement. Despite the two different examples, both authors reveal that the process of thought in the society is gradually changing due to various influences by the media. The internet is changing the pattern of reading, concentration and thinking among individuals. In the same way, the media through advertisements is changing the way society thinks about and perceives about various products.

The article consists the need of a useful habit of every individual. The author mentioned about Claude C. Hopkins who was once approached by his friend with an amazing new creation that was a minty toothpaste named Pepsodent. He was a man who was famous in the world of advertisement and he was one of the leading advertising executive. He had a good convincing power. His greatest contribution was convincing the people to practice the habit of suing toothpaste. According to the author his named should always be recalled and as no one remembers him now, this should not happen. Hopkins was his inspiration in completing the research on scientific habit. Like Hopkins he decided to decided to follow two basic rules while making a campaign, firstly, to find a simple cue and secondly to clearly define rewards. He finally explored that the consumers required some amount of signal that the product was working. The people must be convinced at any cost.

This author had this notion that the internet made our thought process slow and it has put a limitation to our thought processes. Our thoughts are restricted because of the information that are available on the internet. The author is having the feeling that something or someone is tinkering on his brain. He feels that the web was making him a fool. Though he said that the internet made his work easier and he like others is now completely dependent on the internet. He finds that the net has destroyed his concentration process and therefore he was not in favor of it.



Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" The Atlantic, 2008, Accessed 3 Apr 2018.

Duhigg, Charles. "The Power of Habit". Slate, 2012,

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