Internet and the new media
“Media” is a word that is used a lot but not always understood.
Before the internet, the media consisted of print publications such as newspapers, magazines and books, and radio, television and cinema.
Media are defined as any means of mass communication for purposes of information or entertainment.
Media bring us news of what is happening in the world around us.
Media educate us about our world.
Media provide the means for us to be entertained with stories, movies and sport.
The development of the internet over the past 25 years has greatly expanded the means by which mass communication can take place.
Established media have expanded operations to include online delivery.
Newspapers and magazines have web-based versions.
Books can be downloaded as ebooks. Radio can be listened to through the internet. Television can be accessed through subscriptions, apps and websites with an amazing variety of channel choice.
The internet has also allowed the creation of many other methods of mass communication.
These include video and image-sharing services such as YouTube, social media such as Facebook, blogs, wikis and other publications that exist only in online form.
Most of these media are characterised by enhanced interaction, the ability for the public to respond instantly to content and to have a more direct input.
The nature of the internet also means any person or organisation can very cheaply and easily engage in media-like activities.
Anyone can create a website and try to inform or entertain the world.
They don’t have to be a trained journalist and there is little accountability for the truth of what they communicate.
The internet is also responsible for creating the illusion the media are free.
Because we can surf the net and find whatever information we are looking for at no cost to us, we assume we shouldn’t have to pay for information.
For example, movie piracy has increased many times because of how easy it is to download films illegally for free.
But information and entertainment have never been free.
A lot of investment goes into equipment, resources, time and personnel to create media content.
A lot of time goes into making sure the information provided is accurate.
The funds to make media happen either come from advertising or subscribers or both.
Being willing to pay for news and entertainment is one way to ensure these services continue into the future.
At the very least, we shouldn’t complain about advertising when it interferes with our consumption of media content.
If it wasn’t for advertising there would be no media to consume.
Responsible and accurate media are essential to our world.
That is one thing the internet will never change.
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