Evolution of Digital Media Technologies Communication Theories

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					Evolution of Digital Media Technologies:
Communication Theories

    Kathy E. Gill
    10 October 2006
Our Brave New World
 We’ll set the stage for the quarter
  with EPIC2015
Overview of Tonight
   Issues From Readings
   Communication Theories
   “New Media” Discussion
   Proposals, Papers
Issues, Questions        (1/5)

 Adoption
   What factors affect acceptance (or
    rejection) of new devices?
   How do we judge probability of
 Crystal Ball
   What is the next big thing?
   How will DM change traditional media?
Issues, Questions       (2/5)

 Profitability
   How do we get there?
   How do changing costs impact all parts
    of an industry sector?
 Standards
   Role in adoption, such as HDTV or
Issues, Questions        (3/5)

 Societal Impacts
   Digital Divide …. by age, by access
   What can we learn from prior
    technological shifts?
   A biggie: DRM
Issues, Questions        (4/5)

 Technology Use
   How much is too much?
   How do we make it usable?
   What are the impacts on traditional
   Time Shifting
   eVoting
Issues, Questions   (5/5)

 Did I miss any?
 Technology
 Communication
What is “technology”?
 tech-nol-o-gy 1: technical language;
  2a: applied science b: a technical
  method of achieving a practical
  purpose 3: a totality of the means
  employed to provide objects
  necessary for human sustenance and
Technology, Simply Put
 Knowledge used to solve problems
  and extend human potential
 Technology is about enabling change
  and amplifying its direction.
 Think of it as facilitating the journey
  not (necessarily) setting the
Let’s Look At A Few Charts
 Multimedia Adoption Trends (1920-
   Chip Griffin points out that cable TV is
    leveling off at 70% penetration… what
    are implications for broadband, he asks.
    What about rural America?
 From the WSJ (pdf)
 Two from Forrester Research:
       The Net’s Wealth Of Content Appeals To Younger,
       More Tenured Consumers (1/2)

September 2006, Trends “More Consumers Look To The Net For Content”
    The Net’s Wealth Of Content Appeals To Younger,
    More Tenured Consumers (2/2)

September 2006, Trends “More Consumers Look To The Net For Content”
Technologies Facilitate
 Dominance of any technology is a
  function of many things (later!)
 The ones we care about have an
  impact on   communication
 A process in which participants create
  and share information with one
  another in order to reach mutual
  understanding (Rogers, 1995).
 Two forms:
   Mediated or Face-to-Face
Technology and Media: An Evolution
   Caves in France
   Paper and charcoal/ink
   Printing Press
   Telegraph et al (radio, television)
   Computer mediated communications
Part 1 : Medium
 A go-between/intermediary in the
  communication that binds the sender
  and receiver
   Considers symbolic and cognitive
    theories of the psychology of
   Considers theories of meaning in signs
    and symbols (semiotics)
Part 2: Channel
 The physical/technical transmission
  as well as any device needed for
 May encompass advertising channels
  (direct mail) or news (TV)
 A one-to-many, one-way channel is
  typical of mass media
Mass Media
 Mass media communication
  traditionally encompasses these
   Newspapers, magazines (print
   TV, radio (electronic technologies)
 Facing the industry today: what,
  exactly, is “news”?
New Media     (1/2)

 Term has been used since the 1970s
  by researchers conducting social,
  psychological, economic, political and
  cultural studies of information and
  communication technologies (ICTs)
New Media     (2/2)

 Some definitions focus on computer
 Others focus on interactivity
 All are, at their heart, talking about
  digitized communication, what we are
  calling “digital media” (as
  contrasted with analog media)
So, what is new?
 Socially?
 Technologically?
 Three things:
   Scarcity
   Distance
   Time
Concept of Scarcity
 Gone!
 Bits can be easily shared; atoms
   Implications for intellectual property
    (content owners now use digital rights
   Implications for business models (Skype)
 Potentially devastating for an
  economic system built upon scarcity
 With global networks
   Work becomes independent of geography
     Call centers
   Consumption becomes independent of
     The South China Post
     Al-Jazerra.net
   Social groups become independent of geography
     MySpace
     Wikipedia
   Anything else?
 Time Shifting facilitates asynchronous
     Podcasts
     Tivo, ReplayTV
     E-mail, voice mail (not IM)
     Directly impacts the advertising model for TV,
 For work
   Distributed teams
   24x7 work flow
 Anything else?
New Channels
 WWW, e-mail
 Videoconferencing
 Podcasts, blogs (RSS-distribution)
 Mobile telephony (tension between
  push and pull)
 Social sites for networking, news
     MySpace, Facebook,Tribe.net
     Slashdot, Newsvine, NowPublic, Gather
Mass audience no longer
 From broadcast to narrowcast
 Time-shifting
   Podcasting
     ABC News, NPR
   Jon Stewart on sharing TDS clips
     Of course, now they’re on iTunes
The Keystone Technology
 Hypertext is “new”
   New is a relative term!
 Presents information as linked nodes
 Coined by Ted Nelson; conceptualized
  by Vannevar Bush in 1945
   History
   Hypertext Fiction
One new technology

 Source: http://www.mala.bc.ca/~soules/CMC290/290wk5.htm
Moving To “Why?”
 A theory explains facts or events and
  can be used to predict future events
 An unproven theory is a hypothesis
 Social scientists (that’s us) postulate
  theories to explain why humans act in
  certain ways
Why use a technology?
 Cognitive Needs – Desire (demand) for
  information, knowledge, understanding
 Affective Needs – Aesthetic, pleasurable, and
  emotional experiences
 Personal Integrative Needs – Inner-directed,
  deal with credibility, confidence, stability, and
 Social Integrative Needs – Outer-directed,
  strengthening relationships with family,
  friends, the world
 Escapist Needs – Desire for tension release or
   - Katz, Gurevitch, and Haas, On the use of the media for important things.
   American Sociological Review, 38, p. 164-181.
Communication Theories
 “The fundamental goal of
   communication theories has been to
   explain the relationship between the
   affordances (Gibson, 1979; Norman, 1988) of
   different mediated technologies and the
   communication that results from using
   those technologies.” (Whittaker, nd)
    Linear or Transmission (Shannon-Weaver, 1948;
      Lasswell, 1960)
    Circular (Osgood and Schramm, 1954)
Shannon-Weaver (1/3)
 Theory of signal transmission
   “Transmission model of communication”
 Focus on communication technology
 Information theory is “exceedingly general
  in scope, fundamental in the problems it
  treats, and of classic simplicity and power
  in the results it reaches” (Shannon &
  Weaver, 1949)
Shannon-Weaver (2/3)
Shannon-Weaver (3/3)
 Redundancy is used to offset noise in
  a channel
 Noise increases uncertainty
 What is noise in today’s digital
Lasswell Formula (1/2)
 Another transmission model of
 Focus is on mass communication,
Lasswell Formula (2/2)
 Who (sender)
 Says What (message)
 In What Channel (medium or
 To Whom (receiver)
 With What Effect (impact)
Osgood and Schramm (1/2)
 Importance of “meaning”
 One person can be sender and
  receiver (feedback)
 Stresses social   nature of
Osgood and Schramm (2/2)
 Digital media differ from traditional
  mass media:
   Time, Space
   Bits v Atoms
 Comm theories attempt to explain the
  how and why
   Linear transmission models do not reflect
    the non-linear nature of most digital
New Media Discussion: VoIP
 How many had used Skype before
  this article was published? How many
  are using some kind of VoIP today?
 What are the pluses & minuses to the
  consumer of using VoIP? (adoption)
 What tools of suppression are being
 If you were the head of AT&T …
Proposals, Papers
 Handout
 On 3x5 card: “elevator description of
  your research project”
 Small groups for feedback,
Next Week’s Assignments
 Review
 On 3x5 card (anonymous unless
  you want feedback from me)
     Feedback on the readings this week
     One thing you learned tonight
     One thing you would change
     Any concerns you have about the quarter