Throughout my academic and literary journey, I have taken critical looks at the evolution of written word being to people. In addition to books, magazines, and newspaper, news broadcasts and radio shows are often scripted. They are written first, then transmitted to an audience. So how has the implementation of technology affected the delivery of the same analogue material? Further, how has it changed the desired outcome?
Early mass media is considered television, radio, and newspaper. “During the 1960s two ideas which are now considered basic to any marketing and media strategy caught hold in the advertising community: audience or market segmentation and media reach and frequency. An emphasis on segmentation suggests placing advertising where it is most likely to be seen by members of the target market rather than choosing media vehicles that merely deliver the largest number of people” (Barnes & Thomas, 1988). This idea of segmented media fits perfectly today in the a la carte approach to available information on the internet.
In the past, desired action on an advertisement included calling a phone number, shopping at a different store, or switching brands often long after the advertisement was viewed. Perhaps people then had better memories and attention spans than today’s highly stimulated generations. Remembering to call the number after the show was over might have been common place versus the scroll-and-forget culture of a digital society.
Mobile tools created a shift in buying and selling. The development of online commerce and offering the same variety of products on a website as in the physical stores shifted how companies advertise today. Instead of a viewer having to stop watching TV or listening to the radio to make a phone call and purchase the product of interest, they now can continue tapping on their touch screen to make the purchase.
Today, streaming services have replaced scheduled television and their commercial interruptions. The same can be said for radio with the rise of podcasts and other audio streaming services. By charging a small fee to millions of subscribers, such services have no need to sell outside advertisement spots that might draw the user’s attention away from the desired action: using the service. Now, all mobile communication services such as social media and streaming services, have a desire to retain the user. Marketing departments closely monitor “bounce rates” to track how long a user spends on a site before leaving. This allows web developers and marketing teams to find what features keep the users attention. A New York Times article, once only available in print, can be filtered through and read within a social media platform. Once the user is done reading the article, they are driven right back to the original social media site.
In my personal use, the introduction of technology into communication has enhanced my experience of mass media. “In most cases, the role of the mass media focuses on national or regional territory and their role is of social and political importance in the formation of public and public opinion. With the development of modern information communication technology, these boundaries have become dissolved as the ‘post-mass media’ functions allow the dissemination of information on a global scale” (Piatkiewicz, 2011). Many people are confined to a sociological bubble made of up people like themselves. While my time in the military helped me break away from this, a college education facilitated by the internet opened the door for me to break away from false beliefs while social media gave me a practical community to validate my new views on subjects of racism, sexism, and bigotry.
I consume most news from social media. I have never made a habit of sitting in front of the television to watch the news, nor do I frequently read newspapers or listen to public radio. If anything, I am far more aware of worldwide happenings than I ever have before.
Barnes, B. E., & Thomson, L. M. (1988). The Impact of Audience Information Sources on Media Evolution. Journal of Advertising Research, 28(5), 50.
Piatkiewicz, P. (2011). The Romanian Media Landscape: Evolution, Frontiers and Post- Mass Media Functions. Eurolimes, 12, 88–106.