Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture encourages students to be active media consumers and gives them a deeper understanding of the role that the media play in both shaping and reflecting culture. I thought the story of the lost cell phone would be a great introduction for a text on understanding media and culture and used The New York Times story to write the previous paragraphs. Like other cultural shifts, technological advances follow a fairly standard diffusion model.
The technology adoption life cycle was originally observed during the technology diffusion studies of rural sociologists during the 1950s. In 1962, Rogers generalized the technology diffusion model in his book Diffusion of Innovations, using the farming research to draw conclusions about the spread of new ideas and technology. When new technology is successfully released in the market, it follows the technology adoption life cycle shown in Figure 16.7.
However, as with previous technological advances, the early adopters who have jumped on the iPad bandwagon may ultimately validate its potential, helping mainstream users make sense of the device and its uses. Although many people ultimately adapt to new technology, some are extremely resistant or unwilling to change at all.
The most common reason that people in both rural and urban areas do not have high-speed Internet is a lack of interest in the technology. Experts claim that, rather than slowing down the progression of new technological developments, laggards in the technology adoption life cycle may help to control the development of new technology. Even less successful in the late 1990s was DIVX, an attempt by electronics retailer Circuit City to create an alternative to video rental. Another catastrophic failure in the world of technology was Microsoft Bob, a mid-1990s attempt to provide a new, nontechnical interface to desktop computing operations. Technological failures such as the Apple Newton, DIVX, and Microsoft Bob prove that sometimes it is better to be a mainstream adopter than to jump on the new-product bandwagon before the technology has been fully tried and tested. As new technology reaches the shelves and the number of early majority consumers rushing to purchase it increases, mass media outlets are forced to adapt to the new medium. Because of Apple’s decision to ban Flash (the dominant software for online video viewing) from the iPad, some traditional television networks have been converting their video files to HTML5 in order to enable full television episodes to be screened on the device. The technology adoption life cycle offers a diffusion model of how people accept new ideas and new technology.
When new technology is released in the market, it follows the technology adoption life cycle.
As new technology transitions into the mainstream, traditional media outlets have to adapt to the new technology to reach consumers. Choose a technological innovation from the past 50 years and research its diffusion into the mass market.
What are the main types of traditional media, and what factors influenced their development?
Do employers have the right to use social networking sites as a method of selecting future employees?
Did the USA PATRIOT Act make the country a safer place, or did it violate privacy laws and undermine civil liberties?
One of the disadvantages of modern media delivery is the lack of reliability of information on the Internet. Will a pay-for-content model work for online newspapers and magazines, or have consumers become too used to receiving their news for free? As a result of rapid change in the digital age, careers in media are constantly shifting, and many people who work in the industry face an uncertain future. The Internet has been a key factor in driving globalizationThe lowering of economic and cultural impediments to communication and commerce between countries.
The increase of globalization has been an economic force throughout the last century, but economic interdependency is not its only by-product. Television, especially satellite television, has been one of the primary ways for American entertainment to reach foreign shores.
The scarcity of artistic resources, the time lag of transmission to a foreign country, and censorship by the host government are a few of the possible impediments to transmission of entertainment and culture. China, as the world’s most populous country and one of its leading economic powers, has considerable clout when it comes to the Internet. Withdrawing from one of the largest expanding markets in the world is shocking coming from a company that has been aggressively expanding into foreign markets.
One only needs to go to CNN’s offical Twitter feed and begin to click random faces in the “Following” column to see the effect of media convergence through the Internet. The truth is that many of these traditional mediaTelevision, radio, newspapers, magazines, and books.
The threshold was crossed in 2008: The Internet overtook print media as a primary source of information for national and international news in the United States. Americans now receive more national and international news from the Internet than they do from newspapers.
The conventional argument claims that the anonymity and the echo chamber of the Internet undermine worthwhile news reporting, especially for topics that are expensive to report on. Far from being a collection of amateurs trying to make it big on the Internet, Politico’s senior White House correspondent is Mike Allen, who previously wrote for The New York Times, Washington Post, and Time. Hulu calls its product “online premium video,” primarily because of its desire to attract not the YouTube amateur but rather a partnership of large media organizations.
Hulu’s success points to a high demand among Internet users for a wide variety of content collected and packaged in one easy-to-use interface.
Hulu allows users to break out of programming models controlled by broadcast and cable television providers and choose freely what shows to watch and when to watch them. Hulu certainly seems to have leveled the playing field for some shows that have had difficulty finding an audience through traditional means. Unlike other “premium” services, Hulu does not charge for its content; rather, the word premium in its slogan seems to imply that it could charge for content if it wanted to. Like Politico, Hulu has packaged professionally produced content into an on-demand web service that can be used without the normal constraints of traditional media. In the early years, the Internet was stigmatized as a tool for introverts to avoid “real” social interactions, thereby increasing their alienation from society.
However, this did not necessarily mean that “kids these days” were antisocial or that the Internet caused depression and loneliness.
The general concept that teenagers were spending all their time in chat rooms and online forums instead of hanging out with flesh-and-blood friends was not especially new; the same thing had generally been thought of the computer hobbyists who pioneered the esoteric Usenet. As they developed, it became quickly apparent that the Internet generation did not suffer from perpetual loneliness as a rule. A study by the Michigan State University Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media has shown that college-age Facebook users connect with offline friends twice as often as they connect with purely online “friends.”Nicole B.
In 2007, when this study took place, one of Facebook’s most remarkable tools for studying the ways that young people connect was its “networks” feature. Although this study provides a complete and balanced picture of the role that Facebook played for college students in early 2006, there have been many changes in Facebook’s design and in its popularity.
However, as Facebook began to grow and as high school and regional networks (such as “New York City” or “Ireland”) were incorporated, users’ networks of friends grew exponentially, and the networking feature became increasingly unwieldy for privacy purposes. Of course, not everyone on teenagers’ online friends lists are actually their friends outside of the virtual world.
In recent years, however, the Internet has become a hub of activity for all sorts of people. A writer for Time states the reasons for the massive popularity of online role-playing games quite well: “[My generation’s] assumptions were based on the idea that video games would never grow up. In addition, WoW provides a highly developed social networking feature called “guilds.” Players create or join a guild, which they can then use to band with other guilds in order to complete some of the toughest quests. Guilds often go on “raiding parties”—just one of the many semisocial activities in World of Warcraft. With over 12 million subscribers, WoW necessarily breaks the boundaries of previous MMORPGs. In 2006, the journal Developmental Psychology published a study looking at the educational benefits of the Internet for teenagers in low-income households. One of the most interesting aspects of the study’s results is the suggestion that the academic benefits may exclude low-performing children in low-income households. On February 15, 2010, the firm Compete, which analyzes Internet traffic, reported that Facebook surpassed Google as the No.
The Internet’s key difference from traditional media is that it does not operate on a set intervallic time schedule.
The “Internet paradox” is the hypothesis that although the Internet is a tool for communication, many teenagers who use the Internet lack social interaction and become antisocial and depressed. Are there methods that exist on the Internet that would be much more difficult to replicate in person? How do these disprove the “Internet paradox” and contribute to the globalization of culture?
Pick a method of in-person communication and a method of Internet communication, and compare and contrast these using a Venn diagram. In recent years governments and scientific establishments have been encouraging the development of professional and popular science communication. The last three decades have witnessed a dramatic acceleration in the use, demand, and need for telecommunications, data communication, and mass communication transmitted and integrated into networks. Media Talk provides an accessible introduction to the analysis of the spoken word by examining linguistic and discursive aspects of broadcast media. Beginning with the observation that talk is central to all genres of radio and television, Ian Hutchby examines the forms of speech used by broadcasters as their primary means of communicating with audiences.
Analyze how Internet culture now allows creators to bypass gatekeepers, and discuss the potential effects of this. In 1850, an epidemic swept America—but instead of leaving victims sick with fever or flu, this was a rabid craze for the music of Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. A little more than a century later, a new craze transformed American teenagers into screaming, fainting Beatle-maniacs.
In the 21st century, rabid fans could actually help decide the next pop stars through the reality television program American Idol. An important consideration in any discussion of media and culture is the concept of popular culture. Historically, popular culture has been closely associated with mass media that introduce and encourage the adoption of certain trends. Along with encouraging a mass audience to keep an eye out for (or skip) certain movies, television shows, video games, books, or fashion trends, tastemaking is also used to create demand for new products.
Tastemakers can help keep culture vital by introducing the public to new ideas, music, programs, or products.
Email and text messages allow for the near-instant transmission of messages across vast geographic expanses. Thanks to these and other digital-age media, the Internet has become a pop culture force, both a source of amateur talent and a source of amateur promotion.
Not only does the Internet allow little known individuals to potentially reach a huge audience with their art or opinions, but it also allows content-creators to reach fans directly.
E-readers offer authors a way to get around the traditional publishing industry, but their thousands of options can make choosing hard on readers.
Suarez’s story, though certainly exceptional, points to some of the questions facing creators and consumers of pop culture in the Internet age.
The commingling of the Internet and popular culture poses many intriguing questions for our future: Will the Internet era be marked by a huge and diffuse pop culture, where the power of traditional mass media declines and, along with it, the power of the universalizing blockbuster hit?
In 1993, The New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl visited one of Manhattan’s snootiest restaurants, Le Cirque, first as herself, a fashionable New Yorker, and then, one week later, in the guise of a frumpy Midwesterner. By crowd-sourcingThe act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an individual, and delegating them to a (usually unpaid) crowd. Such unhelpful reviews have begun to remind people of the point of having reviews in the first place—that it’s an advantage to have certain places, products, or ideas examined and critiqued by a trusted source. Traditionally, pop culture hits were often initiated or driven by the active support of media tastemakers. The digital age, with its proliferation of accessible media, has undermined the traditional role of the tastemaker. Through this cultural perspective, students learn that audience members are as much a part of the mass communication process as are the media producers, techlogies, and industries.
Sasha began using the phone to take photographs and send instant messages to friends and family. Long after, when I showed the introduction to a colleague, he looked at me and said, “Are you kidding?” He showed me a then-recent book by media scholar Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody, a book on the power of organizing through new media. The chapters to come will provide an in-depth look at the relationship of media and culture. The cost of the new technology, however, did not deter Klenert from purchasing an iPad; he preordered the tablet computer as soon as it was available and ventured down to Apple’s SoHo store in New York on opening weekend to be one of the first to buy it.
University researchers George Beal, Joe Bohlen, and Everett Rogers were looking at the adoption rate of hybrid seed among Iowa farmers in an attempt to draw conclusions about how farmers accept new ideas. Innovators and early adopters, attracted by something new, want to be the first to possess the innovation, sometimes even before discovering potential uses for it, and are unconcerned with the price. Forrester Research notes that much of the equipment acquired by early adopters—laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras, broadband Internet access at home, and mobile phones—is shifting into the mainstream. When Netscape web browser user John Uribe was repeatedly urged by a message from parent company AOL to switch to one of Netscape’s successors, Firefox or Flock, he ignored the suggestions. Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster, said, “Laggards have a bad rap, but they are crucial in pacing the nature of change. Introduced by Apple in 1993, the Newton contained many of the features now popularized by modern smartphones, including personal information management and add-on storage slots. Customers could rent movies on disposable DIVX discs that they could keep and watch for 2 days.
Bob, represented by a logo with a yellow smiley face that filled the o in its name, was supposed to make Windows more palatable to nontechnical users. When the iPad’s popularity continued to grow throughout 2010 (selling 3,000,000 units within 3 months of its launch date), traditional newspapers, magazines, and television networks rushed to form partnerships with Apple, launching applications for the tablet so that consumers could directly access their content.
Innovators and early adopters want to be the first to own the technology and are unconcerned about the cost, whereas mainstream consumers wait to find out how popular or successful the technology will become before buying it. Recent examples include the development of traditional media applications for the iPad, such as newspaper, magazine, and television network apps. Are employees entitled to voice their opinion on the Internet even if it damages their company’s reputation? Do you think online journalism (including blogging) will ultimately become a respected source of information, or will people continue to rely on traditional news media? However, the Internet (and all the various technologies associated with it) has created numerous opportunities in the media field.
Choose one career that you are interested in pursuing, research the skills and qualifications it requires, and then write a one-page paper on what you found.
The Internet has broken down communication barriers between cultures in a way that could only be dreamed of in earlier generations.
At its core, globalization is the lowering of economic and cultural impediments to communication between countries all over the globe. China provides a valuable example of the ways the Internet has helped to overcome (or highlight) all three of these hurdles. In addition, the country is ruled by a single political party that uses censorship extensively in an effort to maintain control. That same month, Google decided it would stop censoring search results on Google.cn, its Chinese-language search engine, as a result of a serious cyber-attack on the company originating in China. This move highlights the fundamental tension between China’s censorship policy and Google’s core values. Hundreds of different options abound, many of them individual journalists’ Twitter feeds, and many of those following other journalists.
Television is still far in the lead, but especially among younger demographics, the Internet is quickly catching up as a way to learn about the day’s news.


The ability of large news organizations to put reporters in the field is one of their most important contributions and (because of its cost) is often one of the first things to be cut back during times of budget problems.
Harris and Jim VandeHei, left the newspaper to start a politically centered website called Politico.
Saturday Night Live (SNL) has built an entire entertainment model around its broadcast time slot. Although many networks, like NBC and Comedy Central, stream video on their websites, Hulu builds its business by offering a legal way to see all these shows on the same site; a user can switch from South Park to SNL with a single click, rather than having to move to a different website.
This seems to work especially well for cult programs that are no longer available on television. 30 Rock, much like Arrested Development, suffered from a lack of viewers in its early years.
Other platforms, like Sony’s PlayStation 3, block Hulu for this very reason—Sony’s online store sells the products that Hulu gives away for free. Just as users can comment on Politico articles (and now, on most newspapers’ articles), they can rate Hulu videos, and Hulu will take this into account.
Yet the Internet was also seen as the potentially great connecting force between cultures all over the world.
In his critical analysis “Deconstructing the Internet Paradox,” computer scientist, writer, and PhD recipient from Carnegie Mellon University Joseph M.
However, the concerns were amplified when a wider range of young people began using the Internet, and the trend was especially strong in the younger demographics. After all, the generation that was raised on instant messaging invented Facebook and still makes up most of Facebook’s audience. Ellison, Charles Steinfield, and Cliff Lampe, “The Benefits of Facebook ‘Friends’: Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites,” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 14, no.
In 2006, many of a user’s “friends” were from the same college, and the whole college network might be mapped as a “friend-of-a-friend” web. In the parlance of the early days of the Internet, meeting up “IRL” (shorthand for “in real life”) was one of the main reasons that many people got online.
The social nature of the game has attracted unprecedented numbers of female players (although men still make up the vast majority of players), and its players cannot easily be pegged as antisocial video game addicts. It found that “children who used the Internet more had higher grade point averages (GPA) after one year and higher scores after standardized tests of reading achievement after six months than did children who used it less” and that continuing to use the Internet more as the study went on led to an even greater increase in GPA and standardized test scores in reading (there was no change in mathematics test scores).Linda A. The reason for this, the study suggests, is that children in low-income households likely have a social circle consisting of other children from low-income households who are also unlikely to be connected to the Internet. The expansion of corporations into Facebook has given the service a big publicity boost, which has no doubt contributed to the growth of its user base, which in turn helps the corporations that put marketing efforts into the service. The power to influence popular culture no longer lies with the relative few with control over traditional forms of mass media; it is now available to the great mass of people with access to the Internet.
It is not “periodical” in the sense that it comes out in daily or weekly editions; it is always updated.
This book critically examines the origin of this drive to improve communication, and discusses why simply improving scientists' communication skills and understanding of their audiences may not be enough. He looks at a range of media forms and genres, including televised audience debates, confrontational TV talk shows such as Oprah Winfrey and Ricki Lake, open-line talk radio shows, advice-giving broadcasts, news interviews and political panel discussions.
When the British foursome touched down at Kennedy Airport in 1964, they were met by more than 3,000 frenzied fans. Derived from a British show, American Idol hit the airwaves in 2002 and became the only television program ever to earn the top spot in the Neilsen ratings for six seasons in a row, often averaging more than 30 million nightly viewers.
If culture is the expressed and shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of a social group, organization, or institution, then what is popular culture?
For as long as mass media have existed in the United States, they have helped to create and fuel mass crazes, skyrocketing celebrities, and pop culture manias of all kinds. We can see these media as “tastemakers”—people or institutions that shape the way others think, eat, listen, drink, dress and more.
Companies often turn to advertising firms to help create a public hunger for an object that may have not even existed six months previously. But the ability to sway or influence the tastes of consumers can be worth millions of dollars.
While the American Idol season five finale was reaching 36 million viewers, a low-tech home recording of a little boy acting loopy after a visit to the dentist (“David After Dentist”) garnered more than 37 million YouTube viewings in 2009 alone.
Although personal communications continue to dominate, email and text messages are increasingly used to directly transmit information about important news events.
However, traditional media outlets still maintain a large amount of control and influence over U.S. Without the influence of an agent, editor, or public relations firm, self-published content may be able to remain closer to the creator’s intention. In her shocking review, the critic lambasted the restaurant’s rude treatment of “Midwestern Molly”—an early battle in the fight for democratic reviews. One determined reviewer can overly influence a product’s overall rating by contributing multiple votes.
In an article about Yelp, The New York Times noted that one of the site’s elite reviewers had racked up more than 300 reviews in 3 years, then snidely pointed out that “By contrast, a The New York Times restaurant critic might take six years to amass 300 reviews.
When mass media are limited in number, people with access to platforms for mass communication wield quite a bit of power in what becomes well-known, popular, or even infamous. In contrast to the traditional media, Internet-based mass media is not limited by time or space and allows bloggers, critics, or wannabe stars to potentially reach millions without the backing of the traditional media industry. An abundance of mass communication without some form of selection can lead to information overload. Look through it to determine what pop culture movements, programs, or people it seems to be covering. This was the first, and remains the only, university-level text to make media literacy central to its approach, and given recent national and global turmoil, its emphasis on media use and democracy could t be more timely.
Convergence and the Reshaping of Mass Communication Part Two: Media, Media Industries, and Media Audiences 3. The media and culture are so much a part of our days that sometimes it is difficult to step back and appreciate and apprehend their great impact on our lives. In the midst of the 20th century and the rise of television as a mass medium, McLuhan foresaw how profoundly media would shape human lives.
Indeed, he said, each medium, such as print or broadcast, physically affects the human central nervous system in a certain way. However, one weakness in McLuhan’s work, especially his early work, is that he did not fully account for how culture shapes media. Klenert, and everyone else who stood in line at the Apple store during the initial launch of the iPad, is described by sociologists as an early adopter: a tech-loving pioneer who is among the first to embrace new technology as soon as it arrives on the market. They discovered that the process of adoption over time fit a normal growth curve pattern—there was a slow gradual rate of adoption, then quite a rapid rate of adoption, followed by a leveling off of the adoption rate.
Analyst Jacqueline Anderson, who works for Forrester, said, “There’s really no group out of the tech loop.
Despite being informed that AOL would stop providing support for the web browser service in March 2008, Uribe continued to use it. Innovation requires the push of early adopters and the pull of laypeople asking whether something really works.
Despite clever advertising and relentless word-of-mouth campaigns, the Newton failed to achieve anything like the popularity enjoyed by most Apple products. They then had the choice of throwing away or recycling the disc or paying a continuation fee to keep watching it.
With a cartoon-like interface that was meant to resemble the inside of a house, Bob helped users navigate their way around the desktop by having them click on objects in each room.
Unconstrained by the limited amount of space available in a physical newspaper or magazine, publications such as The New York Times and USA Today are able to include more detailed reporting than they can fit in their traditional paper, as well as interactive features such as crossword puzzles and the use of video and sound.
The iPad has even managed to revive forms of traditional media that had been discontinued; in June 2010, Conde Nast announced the restoration of Gourmet magazine as an iPad application called Gourmet Live. Now, almost any news service across the globe can be accessed on the Internet and, with the various translation services available (like Babelfish and Google Translate), be relatively understandable.
Globalization in the sphere of culture and communication can take the form of access to foreign newspapers (without the difficulty of procuring a printed copy) or, conversely, the ability of people living in previously closed countries to communicate experiences to the outside world relatively cheaply.
It would not be all Starbucks, MTV, or Baywatch, he said, because American culture is more diverse than that. In addition, Google stated that if an agreement with the Chinese government could not be reached over the censorship of search results, Google would pull out of China completely.
Google’s company motto, “Don’t be evil,” had long been at odds with its decision to censor search results in China.
Considering CNN’s motto, “The most trusted name in network news,” its presence on Twitter might seem at odds with providing in-depth, reliable coverage. Instead of visiting multiple home pages to see the day’s top stories from multiple viewpoints, Twitter users only have to check their own Twitter pages to get updates from all the organizations they “follow.” Media conglomeratesThe name for all the media outlets owned by a single company. However, as the Internet has become a primary news source for more and more people, new media outlets—publications existing entirely online—have begun to appear.
Rather than simply repeating the day’s news in a blog, they were determined to start a journalistically viable news organization on the web. In 2008, the show Arrested Development, which was canceled in 2006 after repeated time slot shifts, was Hulu’s second-most-popular program.
In 2008, New York Magazine described the show as a “fragile suckling that critics coddle but that America never quite warms up to.”Adam Sternbergh, “‘The Office’ vs.
However, Hulu has been considering moving to a paid subscription model that would allow users to access its entire back catalog of shows. Even when users do not produce the content themselves, they still want this same “two-way street” service. The idea that something that allowed communication across the globe could breed social alienation seemed counterintuitive. Even though the Internet had been around for a while by 1998, the increasing concern among parents was that teenagers were spending all their time in chat rooms and online.
Newcomer points out that the APA study did not include a control group to adjust for what may be normal “lonely” feelings in teenagers.
As detailed earlier in the chapter, Facebook began as a service limited to college students—a requirement that practically excluded older participants.
If users allowed all people within a single network access to their profiles, it would create a voluntary school-wide directory of students. Where privacy controls once consisted of allowing everyone at one’s college access to specific information, Facebook now allows only three levels: friends, friends of friends, and everyone. This practice was often looked at with suspicion by those not familiar with it, especially because of the anonymity of the Internet. World of Warcraft (WoW, for short) is the most popular MMORPG of all time, with over 12 million subscriptions and counting. Although these guilds do occasionally meet up in real life, most of their time together is spent online for hours per day (which amounts to quite a bit of time together), and some of the guild leaders profess to seeing real-life improvements. On the contrary, they may even be called social video game players, judging from the general responses given by players as to why they enjoy the game.
Jackson and others, “Does Home Internet Use Influence the Academic Performance of Low-Income Children?” Developmental Psychology 42, no. As a result, after 16 months of Internet usage, only 16 percent of the participants were using email and only 25 percent were using instant messaging services. Putting a corporation on Facebook is not without risk; any corporation posting on Facebook runs the risk of being commented on by over 500 million users, and of course there is no way to ensure that those users will say positive things about the corporation.
As a result, the cross-fertilization of pop culture from around the world has become a commonplace occurrence. As a result, many journalists file both “regular” news stories and blog posts that may be updated and that can come at varied intervals as necessary. Their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show was seen by 73 million people, or 40 percent of the U.S. Whether through newspaper advertisements, live television broadcasts, or integrated Internet marketing, media industry “tastemakers” help to shape what we care about.
Similar in some ways to the media gatekeepers discussed above, tastemakersPeople or organizations who exert a strong influence on current trends, styles, and other aspects of popular culture.
In the 1880s, when George Eastman developed the Kodak camera for personal use, photography was the realm of professionals.
In the traditional media model, media companies set aside large advertising budgets to promote their most promising projects.
Many cities and towns had just three television channels, one or two newspapers, and one or two dominant radio stations.
The Internet appears to be eroding some of the tastemaking power of the traditional media outlets. For example, the media establishment has been surprised by the success of some self-published books: First-time author Daniel Suarez had his novel manuscript rejected by dozens of literary agents before he decided to self-publish in 2006. Part of the point of Reichl’s experiment was to find out how ordinary people were treated in restaurants.
One study found that a handful of Amazon users were casting hundreds of votes, while most rarely wrote reviews at all. The critic visits a restaurant several times, strives for anonymity and tries to sample every dish on the menu.”Donald G.
Ed Sullivan’s wildly popular variety show in the 1950s and 1960s served as a star-making vehicle and a tastemaker extraordinaire of that period.
She bought another Sidekick, logged onto her account and found that the old phone was being used. Personal and social characteristics influenced when farmers adopted the use of hybrid seed corn; younger, better-educated farmers tended to adapt to the new technology almost as soon as it became available, whereas older, less-educated farmers waited until most other farms were using hybrid seed before they adopted the process, or they resisted change altogether.
Sales dropped on days 2 and 3, suggesting that demand for the device dipped slightly after the initial first-day excitement. For most people, the names probably mean very little because these were all flash-in-the-pan technologies that never caught on with mainstream consumers. Hampered by its large size compared to more recent equivalents (such as the PalmPilot) and its cost—basic models cost around $700, with more advanced models costing up to $1,000—the Newton was also ridiculed by talk show comedians and cartoonists because of the supposed inaccuracy of its handwriting-recognition function. Viewers who wanted to watch a disc an unlimited amount of times could pay to convert it into a “DIVX silver” disc for an additional fee. Microsoft expected sales of Bob to skyrocket and held a big advertising campaign to celebrate its 1995 launch. As more media content becomes available on new technology such as the iPad, the iPod, and the various e-readers available on the market, it appeals to a broader range of consumers, becoming a self-perpetuating model.
Some people remain resistant to new technology, however, which helps to control its development. In addition to the spread of American culture throughout the world, smaller countries are now able to cheaply export culture, news, entertainment, and even propaganda.
Teams of software programmers in India can have a website up and running in very little time, for far less money than it would take to hire American counterparts.
Because Google has complied (albeit uneasily) with the Chinese government in the past, this change in policy was a major reversal. Google’s compliance with the Chinese government did not help it make inroads into the Chinese Internet search market—although Google held about a quarter of the market in China, most of the search traffic went to the tightly controlled Chinese search engine Baidu. The different ways that Politico reaches out to its supporters—blogs, Twitter feeds, regular news articles, and now even a print edition—show how media convergence has even occurred within the Internet itself.
The American Psychological Association (APA) coined this concept the “Internet paradoxThe contradictory proposition of the American Psychological Association that says that the supposed social service of the Internet is actually making children antisocial. The fact was that teenagers spent much more time on the Internet than adults, due to their increased free time, curiosity, and familiarity with technology. Again, he suggests that “involvement in any new, self-absorbing activity which has opportunity for failure can increase depression,” seeing Internet use as just another time-consuming hobby, much like learning a musical instrument or playing chess.Joseph M. As a social tool and as a reflection of the way younger people now connect with each other over the Internet, Facebook has provided a comprehensive model for the Internet’s effect on social skills and especially on education.
In fact, 90 percent of the participants in the study reported that high school friends, classmates, and other friends were the top three groups that their Facebook profiles were directed toward.


The study concluded that they could “definitively state that there is a positive relationship between certain kinds of Facebook use and the maintenance and creation of social capital.”Nicole B.
Since a university email address was required for signup, there was a certain level of trust.
The fear among many was that children would go into chat rooms and agree to meet up in person with a total stranger, and that stranger would turn out to have less-than-friendly motives. There are Meetups for politics (popular during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign), for New Yorkers who own Boston terriers,Amanda M. The game is inherently social; players must complete “quests” in order to advance in the game, and many of the quests are significantly easier with multiple people.
This type of play certainly points to a new way of online interaction that may continue to grow in coming years. Another reason researchers suggested was that because “African-American culture is historically an ‘oral culture,’” and 83 percent of the participants were African American, the “impersonal nature of the Internet’s typical communication tools” may have led participants to continue to prefer face-to-face contact. This statistic is a strong indicator that social networks are quickly becoming one of the most effective ways for people to sift through the ever-increasing amount of information on the Internet. This allows them to stay up-to-date with breaking news without necessarily sacrificing the next day’s more in-depth story. Even in our era of seemingly limitless entertainment options, mass hits like American Idol still have the ability to dominate the public’s attention. Tastemakers are encouraged to buzz about “the next big thing.” In untraditional models, bribery and backroom deals also have helped promote performers or projects.
Advertisers, critics, and other cultural influencers had access to huge audiences through a small number of mass communication platforms. No longer are the traditional mass media the only dominant forces in creating and promoting trends. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, and microblogging services, such as Twitter, are another source of late-breaking information.
One key indicator is the fact that many singers or writers who first make their mark on the Internet quickly transition to more traditional media—YouTube star Justin Bieber was snapped up by a mainstream record company, and blogger Perez Hilton is regularly featured on MTV and VH1. Through savvy self-promotion via influential bloggers, Suarez garnered enough attention to land a contract with a major publishing house.
Instead, the wisdom of the crowd would make or break restaurants, movies, and everything else. Online reviews also tend to skew to extremes—more reviews are written by the ecstatic and the furious, while the moderately pleased aren’t riled up enough to post online about their experiences.
Evan began getting dozens and then hundreds of sympathetic emails from other people who had lost phones and understood his frustration with Sasha. In some ways, the movement of the lost cell phone story from Evan’s website through The New York Times through MSNBC through Clay Shirky’s text through my book on understanding media and culture is symbolic, as we will see, of the multitude of flows between media and culture. In the 1960s and 1970s, during the height of television’s popularity and the emergence of computers, he became an international celebrity. Sometimes culture is defined in a very narrow sense as “the arts” or some sort of fashionable refinement. How do changes in communication technology influence what we can concretely create and apprehend?
Launched in 1998, the DIVX system was promoted as an alternative to traditional rental systems with the promise of no returns and no late fees.
Instead, the product failed dismally because of its high initial sale price, demanding hardware requirements, and tendency to patronize users. Technological flops such as Microsoft Bob and DIVX result from skeptical late adopters or laggards refusing to purchase innovations that appear unlikely to become commercially successful.
Communicating with these teams is now as simple as sending emails and instant messages back and forth, and often the most difficult aspect of setting up an international video conference online is figuring out the time difference. However, Google’s departure from China would be a blow to anti-government forces in the country. Yet one of the most remarkable shifts has been in the establishment of online-only news sources. The interactive nature of its services and the active comment boards on the site also show how the media have become a two-way street: more of a public forum than a straight news service. Yet the show’s sketch comedy style also seems to lend itself to the watch-anytime convenience of the Internet.
Its two parent companies, News Corporation and NBC Universal, are two of the world’s media giants. However, even as 30 Rock shifted time slots mid-season, its viewer base continued to grow through the NBC partner of Hulu. The results of this Facebook study, still relatively current in terms of showing the Internet’s effects on social capital, show that not only do social networking tools not lead to more isolation, but that they actually have become integral to some types of networking.
This fear led to law enforcement officers posing as underage girls in chat rooms, agreeing to meet for sex with older men (after the men brought up the topic—the other way around could be considered entrapment), and then arresting the men at the agreed-upon meeting spot. Players often form small, four-to five-person groups in the beginning of the game, but by the end of the game these larger groups (called “raiding parties”) can reach up to 40 players. In other words, social interaction on the Internet can only happen if your friends are also on the Internet.
It also suggests that people are content to get their news the way they did before the Internet or most other forms of mass media were invented—by word of mouth. New cell phone technologies allowed viewers to have a direct role in the program’s star-making enterprise through casting votes.
It is often distinct from more formal conceptions of culture that take into account moral, social, religious beliefs and values, such as our earlier definition of culture. For example, The New York Times’ restaurant and theater reviews used to be able to make or break a restaurant or show with their opinions. For example, the Payola Scandal of the 1950s involved record companies paying the disc jockeys of radio stations to play certain records so those records would become hits. However, by the end of the century, the rise of cable television and the Internet had begun to make tastemaking a much more complicated enterprise. Instead, information can spread across the globe without any involvement of traditional media.
When Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest in 2009, “RIP Michael Jackson” was a top trending topic on Twitter before mainstream media first reported the news. And with so many self-published, self-promoted works uploaded to the Internet every day, how will any work—even great work—get noticed? The Internet, which has turned everyone with the time and interest into a potential reviewer, allows those ordinary people to have their voices heard. And while traditional critics are supposed to uphold ethics, there’s no such standard for online reviews. Whatever your vantage point, it’s clear that old-style tastemaking is still around and still valuable—but the democratic review is here to stay.
Next, find a website that also deals with popular culture and ask yourself the same questions.
And she became the subject of a public shaming ritual only possible by today’s media in today’s culture.
Sasha’s mother came forward and said she had bought the phone for $50 on a subway platform and given it to Sasha.
Looking back over time, McLuhan found that people and societies were shaped by the dominant media of their time.
How do groups in society struggle over the definition of what is real?”James Carey, “A Cultural Approach to Communication,” in Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society.
In this section you will read about the cycle of technology and how it is diffused in a society. However, many mainstream consumers (the early majority) are waiting to find out just how popular the device will become before making a purchase. For example, many consumers buy the latest digital camera and end up using just a fraction of its functions. A prime example of an idea that was ahead of its time, the Newton was the forerunner to the smaller, cheaper, and more successful PalmPilot, which in turn paved the way for every successive mobile Internet device. However, its introduction coincided with the release of DVD technology, which was gaining traction over the DIVX format.
When Windows 95 was launched the same year, its new Windows Explorer interface required far less dumbing down than previous versions, and Microsoft Bob became irrelevant.
Especially for electronic services such as software, outsourcing over the Internet has greatly reduced the cost to develop a professionally coded site.
This idea of a truly globalized culture—one in which content can be distributed as easily as it can be received—now has the potential to be realized through the Internet.
Since Baidu has a closer relationship with the Chinese government, political dissidents tend to use Google’s Gmail, which uses encryptedA process in which information is encoded to protect it from being stolen. In fact, the online television service Hulu carries a full eight episodes of SNL at any given time, with regular 3.5-minute commercial breaks replaced by Hulu-specific minute-long advertisements.
In many ways, this was a logical step for these companies to take after fighting online video for so long. Barnum promised Lind an unprecedented thousand-dollar-a-night fee (the equivalent of close to $30,000 in today’s dollars) for her entire 93-performance tour of the United States.
Another example is Ed Sullivan’s variety show, which ran from 1948 to 1971, and is most famous for hosting the first U.S.
George Eastman’s advertising introduced the very idea of photography to everyday Americans. While The Ed Sullivan Show regularly reached 50 million people in the 1960s, the most popular television series of 2009—American Idol—averaged around 25.5 million viewers per night, despite the fact that the 21st century United States could claim more people and more television sets than ever before.
In the mid-2000s, websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor boasted hundreds of reviews of restaurants, hotels, and salons provided by users.
Savvy authors or restaurant owners have been known to slyly insert positive reviews of themselves, or have attempted to skew ratings systems.
Are there differences between the traditional media’s and the new media’s approach to popular culture? For example, McLuhan argued, people and societies of the printing press era were shaped by that medium.
In this broader sense, culture is a particular way of life and how that life is acted out each day in works, practices, and activities. The process and factors influencing the diffusion of new technology is often discussed in the context of a diffusion model known as the technology adoption life cycleModel that explains the process and factors influencing the diffusion of new technology..
By the time most technology reaches mainstream consumers, it is more established, more user-friendly, and cheaper than earlier versions or prototypes.
Technological laggards may be the reason that not every new technology becomes a mainstream trend (see sidebar).
Consumers feared that the choice between DIVX and DVD might turn into another Betamax versus VHS debacle, and by 1999 the technology was all but obsolete. While some political and social barriers still remain, from a technological standpoint there is nothing to stop the two-way flow of information and culture across the globe. The time listed for an SNL episode on Hulu is just over an hour—a full half-hour less than the time it takes to watch it live on Saturday night.
In other words, even though the study cannot show whether Facebook use causes or results from social connections, it can say that Facebook plays both an important and a nondestructive role in the forming of social bonds. Essentially, the service (which charges a small fee to Meetup organizers) separates itself from other social networking sites by encouraging real-life interaction. Ever the savvy self-promoter, Barnum turned this huge investment to his advantage, using it to drum up publicity—and it paid off.
In 2009, AT&T estimated that Idol-related text traffic amounted to 178 million messages. Kodak became a wildly successful company not because Eastman was good at selling cameras, but because he understood that what he really had to sell was photography. The proliferation of television channels and other, competing forms of entertainment meant that no one program or channel could dominate the attention of the American public as in Sullivan’s day.
Amazon allowed users to review any product it sells, from textbooks to fertilizer to bathing suits.
In order to get an accurate picture, potential buyers may find themselves wading through 20 or 30 online reviews, most of them from non-professionals.
Lawyers and police officers contacted Evan about property law and told him how to approach the police.
Wired magazine listed him on its masthead as “patron saint.” In universities, however, McLuhan was often dismissed, perhaps because of his celebrity, his outlandish style, and his broad and sweeping declarations. Thus, we can talk about Italian culture, Javanese culture, or the culture of the ancient Greeks. Uribe is a self-confessed late adopter—he still uses dial-up Internet service and is happy to carry on using his aging Dell computer with its small amount of memory. Sullivan hosted musical acts, comedians, actors, and dancers, and had the reputation of being able to turn an unknown performer into a full-fledged star. Mobile applications like Yelp allow consumers to get individual reviews of a restaurant while they are standing outside it. Consider these Amazon user reviews of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”: “There is really no point and it’s really long,” “I really didn’t enjoy reading this book and I wish that our English teacher wouldn’t force my class to read this play,” and “don’t know what Willy Shakespeare was thinking when he wrote this one play tragedy, but I thought this sure was boring! The story appeared in The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune and was broadcast on MSNBC and other outlets.
Some people will turn on the television and watch a weather channel, cable news, or Sports Center.
Yet as media continued to develop in ways anticipated by his writings, McLuhan again found an audience in media studies. Another communication theorist, James Carey, elegantly captures this expansive view of culture.
Companies frequently reduce the price of technological devices once the initial novelty wears off, as a result of competition from other manufacturers or as a strategy to retain market share.
Google’s threat to withdraw from China raises the possibility that globalization could indeed hit roadblocks due to the ways that foreign governments may choose to censor the Internet. However much time these groups spend together on or off the Internet, one group of people undoubtedly has the upper hand when it comes to online interaction: World of Warcraft players.
The BBC helpfully pointed out that there was plenty of paraphrenalia for true fans to spend their money on: “T-shirts, sweat shirts, turtle-neck sweaters, tight-legged trousers, night shirts, scarves, and jewellery inspired by the Beatles” were all available, as were Beatles-style moptop wigs. Comedian Jackie Mason compared being on The Ed Sullivan Show to “an opera singer being at the Met.
Blogs make it possible for anyone with Internet access to potentially reach an audience of millions. It was a modern morality tale caused by, and then made possible by, the intersection of media technology and culture.
Congress was adjourned during Lind’s visit to Washington, DC, where the National Theater had to be enlarged in order to accommodate her audiences. Some popular bloggers transitioned from the traditional media world to the digital world, but others became well known without formal institutional support. Your classes likely employ various types of media from course management software to PowerPoint presentations to DVDs to YouTube. You may return home and relax with video games, television, movies, more Facebook, or music.
American Idol’s Simon Cowell had similar influence as his show helped turn unknown local performers into international stars. Television hosts and comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert can be understood as tastemakers of progressive national politics.
Understanding media will not only help you appreciate the role of media in your life but also help you be a more informed citizen, a more savvy consumer, and a more successful worker.



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