Monday, November 10, 2014

MassMedia: Info & Interactive Media Tech: Comm/Media Technology & Theory (U9-P2) [VID] Fa14

Where do media technologies come from?  How do they develop?  How and why do they spread in a society?  A variety of technology theories help provide some insight.

What are some key theories related to communication/media technology?

  • Diffusion of Innovations
  • Social Construction of Technology
  • Technological Determinism
  • Winston’s Model Communication Technology Development

Here we'll cover specifically diffusion of innovations and Winston's model

Everett Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations

Diffusion of innovations is “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.”(Rogers).

We can hear of about a new technology through face-to-face or through mass-mediated channels and when we do, we may decide to adopt (get, purchase, etc.) that new technology.  Adopted any new tech recently?

More and more people in a society may adopt the new technology/innovation and the graph of the number of adoptions will grow (see below).

The graph above shows how people in a society over time adopt an innovation.

At first nobody had a TV in the U.S., but over time...

Any thoughts on why a person adopts of new technology or not?

How does this theory help us understand how media technologies develop?  Does it help us understand the future of media technologies?

Winston’s Model of Communication Technology Technology Development

Winston's model explains how media technologies develop from ideas to diffusion.  The story begins at the bottom left of the figure and ends at the upper right of the figure.

According to Winston's model a new technology starts (1) as an idea based on science and then (2) develops into early prototypes.  As a technology develops it faces some social pressures ((3) does society see a need for it and (4) will powerful competitors or the government attempt to repress the technology?).  The technology will then (5) diffuse through a society and may (6) spin-off related technologies.

How does this theory help us understand how media technologies develop?  Does it help us understand the future of media technologies?

Let's focus on the development of an early communication technology, the telegraph.

Winston's model can be applied to the telegraph.  Did you see the process in the video clip above?

Let's highlight certain parts of this process.

See the Winston process in the Empire of the Air?

Source: Media Technology and Society: A History From the Telegraph to the Internet

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