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The 21st Century Media (R)evolution

Emergent Communication Practices, Second Edition

Jim Macnamara

The emergence of what are called ‘new media’ and ‘social media’ is one of the most discussed topics in contemporary societies. Because media and public communication are mostly analyzed within particular theoretical frameworks and within specific disciplinary fields, polarized views have been created with cyberoptimists and celebrants on one side and cyberpessimists and skeptics on the other. Thus we lack an understanding of the interdependencies and convergence between disciplines and practices.
The second edition of this book expertly synthesizes competing theories and disciplinary viewpoints and examines the latest data, including international research from fast-growing markets such as China, to provide a comprehensive, holistic view of the twenty-first century media (r)evolution. Dr. Macnamara argues that the key changes are located in practices rather than technologies and that public communication practices are emergent in highly significant ways.
Engaging and accessible, this book is essential reading for scholars and professionals in media and communication and an invaluable text for courses in media studies, journalism, advertising, public relations and organisational and political communication.
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Chapter 11. The Future of Community and Culture


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While Marshall McLuhan has been criticized on the grounds of technological determinism, his aphorism “the medium is the message” (1964, p. 7) reminds us that media have effects beyond those of messages in their content. Media often lead to broad-based social change unrelated to the specific messages that they communicate. For example, television changed dining habits, created a new category of packaged food (the TV dinner), spawned new teaching methods in schools and led to the rescheduling and even restructuring of the rules of sports, such as nighttime Formula One Grand Prix and World Series cricket. A key question then is: what will be the social impacts of emergent media beyond the immediate effects of their content?

Some changes are readily visible in the classroom, at home, in the shopping mall and on the street. Education and pedagogical practices are changing substantially because of the internet, with students now routinely researching online, often submitting assignments online, and sometimes engaging in fully online learning termed e-learning. Shopping is changing, with product research and price comparisons regularly done online and some products such as airline tickets now routinely purchased online. Mundane changes include the disappearance of photo albums and personal diaries, as these become replaced by digital images posted to Facebook, Pinterest or Flickr and carried on tablet computers. At a broader social level, mobility will continue ← 391 | 392 → to become a feature of societies, triggering...

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