Department of Communication and Media, DA-IICT University, Near Indroda, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
Received Date: March 31, 2012; Accepted Date: April 20, 2012; Published Date: April 22, 2012
Citation: Kaul V (2012) The Changing World of Media & Communication. J Mass Commun Journalism 2:116. doi:10.4172/2165-7912.1000116
Copyright: © 2012 Kaul V. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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For whom and for what should we mobilize communication and media to address the complexity of current global conditions? Because communication has an ambiguous potential, the assumption that it always does good needs to be problematized. On the one hand, if and when understood and framed as a social right and a dialogic practice, communication can facilitate the recognition of others, enable meaningful social attachments and afford what Paulo Freire once called ”the practice of freedom”. On the other hand, in line with media’s role as central component of the deployment of neoliberal capitalism, communication can break people apart, ignite conflict and promote increasingly individualized and consumerist forms of existence. What is the implication, if everything ‘important’ is discussed in the media? How do communities change if we are connected via the social web? And what is the impact of all these media taken together? Questions like these are reflected when discussing the mediatization of our present life worlds. The core argument is that we have to grasp our present ‘worlds’ as being ‘mediatized’. The increasing ‘mediation of everything’ impacts the way we articulate cultures and societies on various levels: our everyday living and community building, the way we entertain ourselves, how we live religion, the forms of our political participation as well as our constructions of ethnicity. Such a mediatization of life worlds has to be understood as something transmedial: It is not solely related to ‘mass communication’, but includes at the same time various other forms of mediated communication; for example, communication via the Internet, mobile phones and newer forms of ‘intelligent’ communication systems. This means we have to develop an integrative approach which considers the different forms of media communication in their relevance for articulating present cultures and societies. Conceptualising ‘mediatization’ in the frame of ‘mediatized worlds’ means that present cultures and societies are mediatized in the sense that media are constitutive for them and that their reality construction is highly ‘moulded’ by various media. This also entails that media are articulated as a ‘cultural centrality’: what counts as important within these cultures are the things which are communicated by the media - not only as celebrities, but also in everyday life. However, mediatized worlds are highly dispersed, which is the level where we can carefully investigate them. To do this, we have to look not only at the communicative and social networks people build across various media, but also at the communicative figurations build in total.
Media; Communication; Mediatisation; Community building; New media technology
Methods of media and communications have come a long way since the grunts of the early cave men, but every new innovation can bring its own problems. Ever since the dawn of time, and that’s a really long time ago, people have been communicating with each other. Whether by grunting “your dinner’s in the saber tooth tiger” or by drawings on the walls of caves “three easy steps to killing your first dinosaur,” man has had something to say, to anybody that is willing to listen. Nothing much has changed there then. So why does media and communications sound so modern? Why does it sound like a 20th century phenomenon? Communications and media are an area of science and technology that is under constant advance. It often seems that as soon as one new technology is born, the next big thing is already being planned.
Our grandparents didn’t really know what ‘media and communications’ was, but they spoke to each other, they read the newspaper, they listened to the radio and they watched the television. They were in a constant state of media and communications and didn’t even know that they were doing it! For many decades, media and communication have contributed substantially to our general knowledge of international conditions and processes. The media is at the heart of cultural, social, political and economic events throughout the world. But now modern media and communications take on a whole new life and have posed unique challenges. No dimension of human life has been unaffected by the developments in communication; family life, business, religion, education, recreation, international relations—all these and more have been influenced by the capabilities that media provide. The field of Media and Communication is undoubtedly very progressive and dynamic, developing in tandem with technology development. The advent of new media with practical and ideological changes of traditional media has impacted social change and subsequently transformed the world communication landscape. Therefore, there is a perpetual need to understand and evaluate the impact of media communication that is increasing in line with technological development. Likewise, as the audiences now are more proactive in seeking information, they have the power to voice out their desire and have the capability to create space for social and cultural change in society. Transformation, in a nut shell, is inevitable and demanding agility, adaptability, and efficiency from communication professionals worldwide.
With society moving into the electronic age, more people are communicating in cyberspace not only to access more information, but also to create a reality of their own (Parks, 2005).There is a revolution occurring in virtually every corner of the world today – the media delivery revolution! Children of today and tomorrow will likely not remember broadcast, radio, music, or any type of information or entertainment media being limited to one device, one screen, or one delivery system. The computer may have changed the 80’s, but communications and media are changing how our world discovers information today The advent of new media and communication technologies have brought about a profound transformation in the way people communicate and share knowledge and information. These new technologies offer vast new opportunities for public participation and engagement and have the potential to expand media use even further. Media and Communication is the world’s fastest growing industry and is an area of rapid and continuous technological, political, economic, and social change. Much of the recent explosion in the stock of human knowledge is linked with developments in media and communication. Communication has been around for a long time as a paradigm in development theory but as the times are changing, so are the communications for social change paradigms. In recent years, the world has witnessed the fastest transformations brought about by advancements in communications technology. People are increasingly mobile and urban. Geographical, political and social landscapes are changing. All of these have impact on the way we communicate. These changes have posed valid questions to the existing paradigms in communication for social change. Where is the discipline headed? What are the prospects that have accrued from the changing times? What kind of social change can we expect from all this? Are we to experience a more just world anytime soon?
Communication is like lever which drives the modern world, across every sphere of life, and the media, is the fulcrum, that connects, opines and influences society, through its evolution. Media no longer involves astronomical costs which led to centralized one-to-many dissemination of messages and content. Today, anyone with a computer and an internet connection has the potential of being a key media influencer and a mass media agenda-setter themselves. The past generation has seen a blizzard of mind-boggling developments in communication, ranging from the World Wide Web and broadband, to ubiquitous cell phones that are quickly becoming high-powered wireless computers in their own right. Firms such as Google, Amazon, Craigslist, and Facebook have become iconic. The change has been rapid as digital technologies remove the barriers associated to the traditional media. The format, location, distance and time are no longer considerations, the transfer of content and information can be instantaneous and to anywhere in the world. Immersion in the digital world is now or soon to be a requirement for successful participation in society.
This is the age of communication, and the current information revolution is dramatically increasing the potential for sharing information across the globe. The information revolution we are witnessing today has been compared to the invention of moveable print in the fifteenth century or to the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society in the nineteenth century. Economic liberalization has concentrated ownership of the global media in the hands of a few large companies, but the communication environment in developing countries is changing nevertheless. Technologies and media are becoming more appropriate for conditions in rural areas. Democratization, government deregulation policies and pluralism have encouraged the decentralization of information production away from central governments while horizontal, people-to-people processes are replacing vertical, traditional lines of communication. Participatory approaches have paved the way for community-based ownership and use of various communication media, for example rural radio
The field of Media and Communication is a relative young discipline; many of us have first-hand experience of its gestation and birth. The study of media and mass communication has evolved steadily since the 1950s. Changes in contemporary political systems, the cross-fertilization or conflict of different cultures, the development of social institutions and organizations, not to mention new information technologies, have influenced the development of the discipline significantly. The number of scholars in the field of Media and Communication Research has increased dramatically during the last decade, and some excellent research communities have been created. But, there are aspects that arouse some critical reflections – most of which concern whether and to what extent the work in our field raises relevant questions about the relations between media and society.
Today, the media industry has been punctuated by a very small number of very sharp and very important junctures. Media and Communication have been facing stiff challenges due to digitization and, in particular, due to the internet, which can be seen as the most important platform for convergence developments and as a driver of numerous changes in the communication and media industries. In the world of multilevel governance with private and public actors media landscapes and media cultures are undergoing fundamental and far-reaching metamorphoses. Not to mention the ramifications of phenomena like ICT, media convergence and global media structures. We are witnessing the erosion of a previous communicational paradigm and the emergence of a new one. Such an emergence has implications for the economy, for our daily lives and for the balance of power that the media provides to political, economic and cultural actors of our societies. This communicational change might be witnessed in a series of events and transformation in practices and representations towards media and their role in society. Examples are diverse and can be found in more visible trends as sharp falls in the sale of newspapers, the growing proliferation of P2P distribution of audiovisual content, the increasing presence of advertising on the Internet, or in the less visible as the role of social networks on the daily routines of citizens and organizations, the sometimes competing and occasionally symbiotic relationship between journalist and citizens on the coverage of events twittering in twitter or other micro-blogging sites, the appropriations of Open Access, Open Source and Open Science practices by scientists and the decommodification of media production for online sharing.
What exactly do we mean by new media and how has it changed the media environment? How has this in turn impacted upon different parts of the globe given the reality that power is not distributed equally amongst all nations who are at different levels of development? Most technologies described as “new media” are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible, impartial and interactive.[How to bridge the digital – or more correctly – the knowledge divide is a topic of considerable attention even for media researchers. The main question is the gap between north and south. The gap between the rich and poor still prevails as a result of disparities in access to resources, knowledge and technology, especially in rural areas. But, the divide is also reproduced within virtually every country of the world and often reflects other gaps – those between income groups, the sexes and ethnic groups. Believing that it is possible to empirically argue that the changes witnessed in communication go beyond a simple reconfiguring of the mass communication model, by adding the Internet to a set of practices and representations already present, I would like to argue that as the communicational model of the industrial model of development was we are now witnessing the building of a new Mass Communication with communicational model taking place under the informational model of development in our societies. So we should consider that Networked Communication is slowly, but steadily, replacing Mass Communication and its communicational paradigms in our societies. Such replacement, of Mass Communication by Networked Communication, occurs with different nuances in the different cultural backgrounds and different media systems around the world, [1-6] but at the same time keeping in common a set of features that give it the consistency of argument that we are witnessing a global change in models of communication.
In the rapidly changing global environment, there is a need for a conceptual frame that takes account of the wide range of theories and explanations for developments in media and communication, which also encompasses drivers like globalization, individualization and the growing importance of the market economy as a reference system. We need to better understand how media and communication may be used, both as tools and as a way of articulating processes of development and social change, improving everyday lives and empowering people to influence their own lives and those of their fellow community members . The communicational change results from the transformation of media consumption, that is, entertainment, communication and provision of news and information, but also knowledge creation in general, including the scientific dimension. Because the education system is based on the communication of the produced knowledge and, in turn, the scientific system depends on knowledge production, a change in the communication paradigm is also felt in the scientific dimension - therefore influencing also all society. In this digital age it is easy to marginalize traditional media as radio, newspapers, journals and books, and fail to confront critical issues such as the lack of media freedom in many parts of the world, the rising global concentration of private media ownership, the absence of media legislation and the challenges facing public service media In a world where consumption is no longer entirely driven by media companies and begins to be shared by participants, through the availability of technology, this dimension of communicational change is also a change of cognitive character, that is, it also surfaces in tensions within the educational system, that is, through oppositions like: the face to face vs. the distant in real time; the expositive lecturing vs. the interactive lecturing; the multimedia presentation vs. oral communication “plus” writing on the board.
Instead of seeing the consequences of global mediation in purely dichotomic terms, as either homogenization or heterogenization, we start seeing both of them on different levels (global, national, regional, urban, local) and the struggles between and inside them. We start forming new concepts such as ‘hybridization, not complete resistance, autonomy  and new formations, things we cannot yet identify or name. We recognize that social relationships are increasingly mediated and individuals in different locations within and between nations and states are connected to each other through media and communications. As Roger Silverstone  wrote: ‘We have become dependent on the media for the conduct of everyday life. They have become the sine qua non of the quotidian. Bu they are also inexplicable and insignificant without the everyday, without in turn their being resources for thought, judgment and action, both personal and political’. Hence, the increasing use of media and communications is one of the most striking features of our age and defines the ways we live. Globally, outside our homes, as Castells puts it, established hierarchical social and political structures have given way to networks Castells. These networks (and here is the major intersection with globalization theories) are non-isomorphic with nation states and increasingly enable individuals to communicate across the borders from their homes. In this way, the private and the public are connected not only to each other but created new plural virtual private and public spaces we have never seen before.
We understand that connectivity is part of global mediation. Mediation is a concept that can be used as a starting point for any analysis of contemporary societies, in the same way as, for example, society or social interactions are used in political science or sociology. The concept is required in order to acknowledge that the nature of societies and social relationships have fundamentally changed and become increasingly mediated through the use of media and communications. This change has broken traditional boundaries of national societies and given birth to new global connections, again characterized by their mediation. Mediation refers to both the material and the phenomenal nature of media and communication . It brings together the study of innovation, technology, production, content and use.
We acknowledge that global mediation is a process in which some have more power than other. My Professor asks ‘what impacts do global media have compared to national, regional or other media upon culture? In a larger sense, what impacts do today’s global media have on people’s identities and how should we understand both those impacts and the identities themselves in this new world? And what impacts to all of these phenomena and have on the structuring of cultural spaces and markets in at local, national, regional and global levels?’ However, we do not understand media affects any more as only a one-way street or as effects. Instead we could turn the question the other way round by asking what impacts identities have on global media. This could free us from our media-centric approach and adopt a new approach in which mediation is seen as an active multi-way process (https://dictionary.oed. com/cgi/).
This is truly the “ICE Age”, Information, Communication and Entertainment is in demand like never-before. There is an “I” (Communication devices) and an “E” (Communication modes) prefixed to everything today. Capitalising on the hunger for ICE, globalisation and development of new technologies every single day, the media industry (print, broadcast, and digital) is on an all-time high.The communicational change results from the transformation of media consumption, that is, entertainment, communication and provision of news and information, but also knowledge creation in general, including the scientific dimension. Because the education system is based on the communication of the produced knowledge and, in turn, the scientific system depends on knowledge production, a change in the communication paradigm is also felt in the scientific dimension - therefore influencing also all society.
We love social media, smart phones and daily digital rituals. It is currently our key to both education and entertainment (not to mention news, our networks and our social calendars). In addition to the latest and greatest apps and gadgets, we also love vintage, antique and timeless tools of communication. It is all because the face of communication has changed dramatically over the past few years. Traditional Telcos, which have historically dominated two-way interpersonal conversations, are increasingly being challenged by new market entrants that use open platforms to meet diverse and rapidly changing user wants and needs.
We are intrigued and constantly awed by communication channels and gadgets of the illustrious past. They were the vehicles that carried stories, traditions, fact and fiction that were passed down generation to generation. There is something extremely romantic and nostalgic about the beautiful curves of handwritten prose, calligraphic ink on paper, tiny photographs-once crisp, now time-warped, the Mad Men-esque click and clack of typewriter keys – antiques are awesome! But for a new generation of digitally aware consumers, Facebook, MySpace and Cyworld, have become primary communication media. Driven by high broadband penetration, maturing “social software” and readily available, affordable Internet enabled multimedia devices, these sites and services are making inroads with enthusiastic users and garnering the attention of advertisers, consumer product companies and enterprises that are using social media to reach their customers, build brand loyalty and communicate with geographically dispersed employees, suppliers and partners.
The Social Lights enjoy a blend of the old and the new – digital invites and handwritten thank-you. Multimedia presentations and inperson explanations. When we are communicating by way of digital devices – we try to add humanizing elements whenever possible – voice, video, photos, quotes – elements that reflect the fact that there is a person behind that status update, that email, that newsletter…not just a monotonous robot or lifeless, lackluster laptop spewing out social media posts. The widespread social networking phenomenon reflects shifts in two long-term communication trends. First, there is a shift in communication patterns – from point-to-point, two-way conversations, to many-to-many, collaborative communications. Secondly, control of the communication environment is transitioning from Telcos to open Internet platform providers, enabled by better, cheaper technology, open standards, greater penetration of broadband services and wireless communication networks.
The combined effect of these trends is altering the competitive landscape in communications and giving rise to emerging business models that include:
• Open and Free – This model features companies that offer oneto- one communication services, but through an open Internet platform and at no – or very little – cost. These services potentially threaten profitable traditional services, such as long distance calling and mobile roaming.
• Gated Communities – Companies using this model focus on many-to-many communications, rather than point-to-point, within telecom-controlled environments. They are, essentially, a “walled-garden” for operator-led collaboration services and are likely to appeal to users and enterprises that desire secure and reliable communication environments.
• Shared Social Spaces – This rapidly growing model facilitates collaboration on the open Internet. Key players include social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. These providers have the potential to become de facto integrated communication platforms, bringing together social networking, voice communication, e-mail, instant and text messaging, as well as content. They are drawing attention away from traditional Telcos and contributing to the fragmentation of the market. Beyond gaining audience share, these services pose an operational challenge to Telcos as they “piggyback” on the existing communications infrastructure, imposing network capacity issues and increased costs for the network providers.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, “globalization” has become an increasingly important paradigm in social science fields. There is practically no globalization without media and communications. Yet this relationship is so obvious it is often overlooked. Media and communications has played a vital role in globalization by being an enabler of globalization and a transformation agent of social, cultural, and political structures. The word globalization which is now used critically or uncritically by almost everybody was hardly used by anybody in the early 1980s. The first groundbreaking research was mainly done outside media and communication studies but in fields related to it such as sociology, geography, anthropology and political science, was considered a major paradigm change from one way of thinking to another. There are two possible futures for the media and communications component of globalization: the commercialization of media sectors and outputs creating media and communications products or fulfilling more human needs and rights through media and communications. The latter is least likely to occur unless a more balanced distribution of power amongst the multilateral system, government, private sector, and civil society is established working to promote the human rights agenda. The scholars suggest that international institutions should use the global media framework to put the needs of people first, and so reforming the structure of global governance is necessary to change the way media and communications is governed towards a more social direction.
Media globalization cannot be stopped. It is a result of new communications technology. It is also the prerequisite and facilitator for all other forms of globalization. Multi-national media is critical to global industries. Many feel that we ought to enjoy the benefits of media globalization, such as global communication, rather than fearing and attempting to avoid the consequences - which ironically include hindrance of free speech. Traditional media theories also do not have the analytical capacity and explanatory power to make sense of the new media and communications phenomena, but we may usefully apply concepts from globalization to understand these new forms of the local and global. Indeed research and theoretical approaches to media and communications are being increasingly internationalized .
The media and communication industries are a leading sector in facilitating overall globalization. In the first place, the role of telecommunication is critical to globalized production strategies. It is inconceivable that the pace and depth of globalization could have been sustained over the past decades in the absence of sophisticated telecommunications networking. Furthermore, content (or “copyright”) industries, such as television, music, video, film and the Internet, directly through advertising and indirectly through the promotion of consumerist and individualistic lifestyles, are at the forefront of cultural preparation for consumerism, an essential precondition and accompaniment to the opening up of new markets for a huge variety of products, and to the breaking down of cultural and other barriers.
Directly in their role as enablers of globalization, the social consequences of the media and communication sector are primarily mediated through the sectors that they facilitate. For instance, the social consequences of facilitating the emergence of globalized financial transactions and manufacturing industries are ultimately a function of the globalization of these sectors, while the social consequences of the opening of markets for “lifestyle” products, such as fast food and cosmetics, are a result of the growth of these sectors. But these impacts bring us beyond the main focus of this presentation.
The second special characteristic of the globalization of the media and communication sector is as a powerful agent in the transformation of social, cultural and political structures. This is, of course, partly the flip side of media and communications as a means of opening new markets and softening up cultures for consumerism, although there is more to it than that. It is this set of (often unintended) side effects of the globalization of media that have the most impact of all, namely the evolving cumulative impact of the gradual commercialization of media and communications on critical social functions, such as the formation of individual and community identity, cultural and language diversity, the capacity to participate in the political process and the integrity of the public sphere, the availability of information and knowledge in the public domain, and the use of media for development, educational and human rights purposes.
These areas, the vital functions that media and communications must play in a society that respects democracy, human rights and economic, social and cultural needs, are the focus of this paper. The paper therefore highlights the major risks that are involved in the current process of the global commodification of media outputs and productions, and the commercialization of the dynamic that drives them. Priorities are also suggested for avoiding these risks in the context of international institutions and civil society.
Gone are the days of typewriters, rotary phones and snail mail… of dial-up, phone books and dusty dictionaries. Now it is new media technology offering -Smart phones, emails in rapid succession, texts, DMs, status updates, push updates, check-ins, and incessant email checking… It is time to embrace these new tools of communication, because before we know if they will be gone and the next newfangled gadget will be even more cutting edge and innovative than we can even imagine! Although it seems as if these new technologies and platforms are crowding our daily lives, when we stop and think about it, they are truly saving us time and energy – making us more efficient and productive than ever before. When we talk about the impact or effects of new media technology, there are a host of effects that we might potentially contemplate. Computers and the World Wide Web have certainly changed the way we behave in many domains. People shop online, trade stocks online, get their news online, initiate friendships online, and so forth. Children spend time playing the latest computer games. The exponential rate of technological change that has transformed media and communication structures globally is reflected in the degree of attention paid to the convergent media nexus by the international community. With the rapid growth of new media technology including the Internet, interactive television networks, and multimedia information services, many proponents emphasize their potential to increase interactive mass media, entertainment, commerce, and education. Pundits and policy makers also predicting that free speech and privacy will be preserved and our democratic institutions will be strengthened by new communication opportunities enhanced by digital media. This is because access to and use of digital media technologies such as PCs, the Internet, computer games, mobile telephones, etc., have become a normal aspect of everyday life in the world community country.
What is all of this new technology doing to us? One thing that it is doing is encouraging traditional media effects scholars to ask new questions and design new research paradigms. One of the old labels used in media curricula at various universities is “mass communication.” If you think about some of the new technologies that are emerging today, it seems clear that they challenge the traditional concept of mass communication. According to the old definition, the source of a mass communication message was a large organization. The message was sent out to large, heterogeneous, scattered audiences. Today, single individuals use the Internet to set up Web sites that millions can view. Some sites get huge amounts of traffic, but other sites may get none. All of this seems to blur the lines between the traditional notion of mass communication and the new communication environment.
Complex technology is now widely available and commonplace, with new developments emerging almost every day. So how are we to keep up with and make sense of technological changes behind media and communication systems? Do new technologies change society, or are new media the products of social forces? While these new media are displacing long-established business models and corporate strategies, they also provide new and exciting opportunities for companies to improve customer relationships and expand businesses through strategies that adapt to this constantly changing new media era. Although we have no crystal ball, we predict that the times are bound to change even more. But we are far from apprehensive.
There is plenty of evidence demonstrating the power of digital communications and new media. Most marketers know this. They also have the first-hand experience of the diminishing returns from traditional techniques. And yet, once again, changing their behavior just seems too hard. This is why many organizations seem to be waiting for the digital revolution to come. They know intellectually it’s going to impact them. But perhaps tomorrow, not today. A day which never seems to arrive – until it’s too late. By then their competitor has seized the initiative and dominated them in digital. Until they get the wake-up call that their competitor is first in search, has higher and more qualified web traffic, gets better conversions, which lead to improved sales, lower costs and higher margins.
But by then it’s too late. They’ve been outmaneuvered. They weren’t bold or willing to change, so when the market shifted they were left behind. It was easier to continue as they were. After all, it could never happen to them. Could it?