Media and Communication 1

In our first lesson on Media and Communication we tried to find a definition of “media”. The discussion we had was really philosophical at times and we came to the conclusion that the term “media” is indeed very flexible.

I’ll give you a short summary on our findings anyway:

  • a medium is always a communication carrier ( here’s a little memory hook: medium is the middle value like in “small-medium-large”, so media is what stands between you and the communication (information) meaning it’s the bridge bringing the information someone gave to you)
  • The effect of media depends on the experiences and background knowledge one has (Let’s assume you show a documentary on steel factories to a tribe living in the jungle. They’ll probably take it as something one can see in a vision rather than information on steel working processes, since they do not know what steel is but they do know visions.)
  • Since everything communicates in a way we have to define media more precisely. Let’s take a doorknob for example: When you see it you know “Aha. I can open the door when I use this knob.” So basically the doorknob is a communication carrier giving you the information that you can open a door with it. But does that mean it’s a medium? Sure, the designer of the knob communicates with the user through a certain appearance he gave to it. Is it a knob one has to push or pull or turn? And what if it is old and rusty? It tells you exactly this: “I’m an old doorknob.” But see, it cannot give you any other information except about itself.  And that’s where media helps out. Its most basically defined as an object that has the ability to tell you more than just what it is. So if you buy a paper and every page is printed with “I’m a paper. You can buy me, you can read me, you can burn me etc.” than it would have no value as a medium anymore!

All points I gave you are of course still in the rough, since we only tried to find a definition 🙂 More on the topic, next week!

Oh right, we got our long-term homework: Pick a medium you like and give a presentation with a concluding discussion round. Additionally we have to document everything, writing about it on the internet is allowed, too 😉