Is Mass Communication Getting a Makeover?

When I first began reading today’s texts, I noticed that they were a little dated. When you think about history, 17 years doesn’t really seem like that long ago; however, 17 years for the Internet is a long time ago. Think about it. When President Bill Clinton was in the White House, he only sent two emails, and one of them was to ask his secretary if he was sending it correctly. Crazy right?

In the text, “Convergence and Its Consequences,” the writer asks this question:

“How, specifically, is convergence transforming the nature of mass communication, leading to a reexamination of the term ‘mass communication’ itself?”

The text goes on to describe a time in the future when Internet users would have all kinds of different resources at their disposal. Search engines, hyperlinks, and advertisements would combine to make their Internet experience come alive with options. When I really think about it, this has already happened.

I am currently typing in my iPad. As I type there is a little bar in the top right corners where, if I were so motivated, I could Google my assignment and see what other people have to say about my reading. All of this could happen as I am sitting outside a coffee shop, perfectly connected as I watch this dreary Atlanta Thursday begin. Is this what this author is describing when he talks about the convergence of company and Internet?

The idea that a user could be completely immersed in products with just one click seemed like a really far out idea, but it really has happened. There are ebooks that come alive with products, songs, and maps as you read. Though some would say that this is just supplemental to the reading, it really is advertising. As the character talks about a song she loves, it floods your earbuds, and you soon find yourself purchasing the song through the easy link to iTunes. The J Crew sweater is conveniently hyperlinked, and with one click your are swept away to buy your own sweater. It is truly amazing how much technology has changed, but I am wondering if it has changed the meaning of mass communication.

I don’t think so. In this text, mass communication is described as largely accessible communication and information. This is still true, but there are a few new fun features added. The purpose of the internet and technology is to connect with other people, and we are able to do that now more than ever.

If this is the change that has occurred within only 17 years, we’ll totally have holograms by the time I’m 40.


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