Media Structures attract, create, control, shape, demand, are inflated by, result in, anticipate, fulfill, and thwart consumer behavior.
#3793 Created 01/06/2016 Updated 10/25/2016
We readily see the content of media, but we must step far back from the meaning of that content in order to understand the media structures that deliver that "content" to our view.
"Structures" is a wonderfully vague word for things which are specifically substantial. Economic "structures" encompass not only the fundamental pressure of capitalism -- that wealth itself must earn to survive, and "progress" is proportionate to the gaining and reinvestment profits in a free market -- but also capitalism's instrumentality in the chain of human relationships, from investment through production to the consumer's authoritative consumptive position in the marketplace.
A great deal of attention is paid to the effectiveness of media in attracting and holding consumer attention, and delivering successful outcomes to investors, publishers, advertisers and sponsors. That attention reflects the critical role that media plays in the success and failure of myriad commercial products and services that are promoted through (and by) media.
In practicality, there is no definite boundary between "the media" and other areas of human business. The felling of trees, the manufacture of wood furniture, the transportation of those products to market, the consumer interaction at the place of business, and the residential delivery are as inseparable parts of the ultimate consumer transaction as are the integration of media artifacts and products through every step of the process. Media not only informed the consumer purchase, but carried forward that entire process from the leasing of the forests for logging, to the placement of advertisements in the local paper.
The media concept, of necessity has at least three periods of human action in time, and three basic components of structure.
1. Content is first conceived with intent; at the minimum, the human intent is that the content of media be consumed by other humans.
2. The media is wraught by human action, and made to appear (often through manufacturing and distribution) for consumption.
3. The media is observed by humans, and possibly consumed.
philosopher Simon Blackburn, structuralism is "the belief that phenomena of human life are not intelligible except through their interrelations. These relations constitute a structure, and behind local variations in the surface phenomena there are constant laws of abstract culture".
The campaigns to understand human relationships to media have been underway for more than a century, playing out both in the real world circus of market research and experimentation, and in the academic crucible of research and study. Millions of dollars have been poured through Universities and Corporations in pursuit of this "Holy Grail": how to influence consumer behavior through media consumption.
It is, after all, Media's first question: how can we get your attention? (The second question is, of course, "How can we get your attention again?").
The commercial and academic study of media over the preceding century became the study of a moving target, as media enterprises jumped to adapt to the continuously changing technological landscape. Change in technology is significant, for it usually alters the fundamental subscription/consumption relationships with consumers.
That relationship has always been morphological. The very terrain of the media has been constantly reshaped by the incremental upheavals and erosions of technological change, and its subsequent subsequent reshaping of advertising, marketing, content production, product manufacturing, and distribution.
foucault usage of "discourse" stresses power relationships. power expressed through language and bEHAVIOr
todays consumers have multiple agreements with vendors at all levels (equipment providers, banking services, communications services, net access, content providers, protection subscriptions, communications sites, mobile services, location services, etc.).
The morphology of media reveals three "discourses" that are "the media" as they interplay.
THEORIES THAT LOOK AT STRUCTURE AND BEHAVIOR
-- Adaptive Structuration Theory -- AST is a viable approach for studying the role of advanced information technologies in organization change. "Adaptive Structuration Theory views groups or organizations as systems with ("observable patterns of relationships and communicative interaction among people creating structures"). Systems are produced by actions of people creating structures (sets of rules and resources). STRUCTURE AND BEHAVIOR WITHOUT CONTENT. dd Relevant example of behavior creating structure.
-- Altercasting -- A tactic for persuading people by forcing them in a social role, so that they will be inclined to behave according to that role. STRUCTURE AND BEHAVIOR. dd Is social media a variant on altercasting?
-- Social Identity Model of Deindivuation Effects. The social identity model of deindividuation effects (or SIDE model) is a theory developed in social psychology and communication studies. SIDE explains the effects of anonymity and identifiability on group behavior. It has become one of several theories of technology that describe social effects of computer-mediated communication. The SIDE model provides an alternative explanation for effects of anonymity and other "deindividuating" factors that classic deindividuation theory cannot adequately explain. The model suggests that anonymity changes the relative salience of personal vs. social identity, and thereby can have a profound effect on group behavior.
-- Social Network Theory -- A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. Social network analysis views social relationships in terms of network theory consisting of nodes and ties (also called edges, links, or connections). Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. The resulting graph-based structures are often very complex. There can be many kinds of ties between the nodes. Research in a number of academic fields has shown that social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals. In its simplest form, a social network is a map of specified ties, such as friendship, between the nodes being studied. The nodes to which an individual is thus connected are the social contacts of that individual. The network can also be used to measure social capital – the value that an individual gets from the social network. These concepts are often displayed in a social network diagram, where nodes are the points and ties are the lines.
-- Social Presence Theory. Social presence theory classifies different communication media along a one-dimensional continuum of social presence, where the degree of social presence is equated to the degree of awareness of the other person in a communication interaction (Sallnas, Rassmus-Grohn, & Sjostrom, 2000). According to social presence theory, communication is effective if the communication medium has the appropriate social presence required for the level of interpersonal involvement required for a task. On a continuum of social presence, the face-to-face medium is considered to have the most social presence, and written, text-based communication the least. It is assumed in social presence theory that in any interaction involving two parties, both parties are concerned both with acting out certain roles and with developing or maintaining some sort of personal relationship. These two aspects of any interaction are termed interparty and interpersonal exchanges (Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976). Social presence theory was developed by John Short, Ederyn Williams, and Bruce Christie, although its main thesis and major points would appear to have been first described twenty years previously in the 1956 Isaac Asimov novel: "The Naked Sun". As computer-mediated communication has evolved a more relational view of social presence has emerged. Social presence has come to be viewed as the way individuals represents themselves in their online environment. It’s a personal stamp that indicates that the individual is available and willing to engage and connect with other persons in their online community. Social presence is demonstrated by the way messages are posted and how those messages are interpreted by others. Social presence defines how participants relate to one another which in turn affects their ability to communicate effectively (Kehrwald, 2008).
-- Soviet Media/Communist Theory -- the sole purpose of mass media was to educate the great masses of workers and not to give out information.
-- Two Step Flow Theory -- In the early 40"s, before the invention of television, Lazarsfeld, Berelson and Goudet conducted an American survey on mass campaigns. The study revealed that informal social relationships had played a part in modifying the manner in which individuals selected content from the media campaign. The study also indicated that ideas often flowed from the radio and newspapers to opinion leaders and from them to the less active sections of society. Thus, informal social groups have some degree of influence on people and mold the way they select media content and act on it.
THEORIES THAT LOOK AT CONTENT AND BEHAVIOR
-- Agenda-Setting Theory -- Agenda-setting is the creation of public awareness and concern of salient issues by the news media. Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw in 1972 in Public Opinion Quarterly. CONTENT AND BEHAVIOR. Example of structure patterning content.
-- Hypodermic Needle (Magic Bullet) Theory -- the mass media had a powerful influence on the mass audience and could deliberately alter or control peoples' behavior. (Klapper: "functions through a nexus of mediating factors and influences. These mediating factors render mass-communication as a contributory agent in a process of reinforcing the existing conditions".) selective exposure, selective perception and retention. dd and then on to the old two-step. CONTENT AND BEHAVIOR.
-- Knowledge Gap. (navigation, search) The knowledge gap hypothesis explains that knowledge, like other forms of wealth, is often deferentially distributed throughout a social system. Specifically, the hypothesis predicts that “as the infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, higher socioeconomic status segments tend to acquire this information faster than lower socioeconomic-status population segments so that the gap in knowledge between the two tends to increase rather than decrease".
-- Libertarianism of Free Press Theory. This movement is based on the right of an individual, and advocates absence of restraint. The press should be seen as the Fourth Estate reflecting public opinion. "Every citizen may speak, write and publish freely." Out of such doctrines came the idea of a "free marketplace of ideas." George Orwell defined libertarianism as "allowing people to say things you do not want to hear". Press ownership under libertarian system is likely to be private and should be free from defamation, obscenity, impropriety and sedition.
-- Meaning Theory. Media experiences mold meanings by putting things in a particular framework. Does "NYPD Blue" depict the real world of New York City police detectives? Questions like this are coming from a Meaning Theory focus on media.
-- Media Richness Theory. Richer, personal communication mediums (media?) are generally more effective for communicating of equivocal issues than leaner, less rich media. Information richness is defined by Daft and Lengel as "the ability of information to change understanding within a time interval".
-- Media Dependency Theory -- Developed by Ball-Rokeach and DeFluer, the key idea behind this theory is that audiences depend on media information to meet needs and reach goals, and social institutions and media systems interact with audiences to create needs, interests, and motives in the person. The degree of dependence is influenced by the number and centrality of information functions and social stability. Some questions that this theory raised were : Do media create needs? Do people turn to media to achieve gratification and satisfy needs? Are media needs personal, social, cultural, political, or all of these? "The media are our friends"?
-- Modelling Behavior Theory -- Behaviors which are modeled from media experiences can become habitual if found useful and/or if they are reinforced in the environment. This is not about violent or criminal behavior.
-- Osgood and Schramm Circular Model -- The participants swap between the roles of source/encoder and receiver/decoder.
-- Theory of Planned Behavior/ Reasoned Action Attitude toward behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, together shape an individual's behavioral intentions and behaviors. According to the theory of reasoned action, if people evaluate the suggested behavior as positive (attitude), and if they think their significant others want them to perform the behavior (subjective norm), this results in a higher intention (motivations) and they are more likely to do so. A high correlation of attitudes and subjective norms to behavioral intention, and subsequently to behavior, has been confirmed in many studies.
-- Play Theory (Stephenson) -- Play is an activity pursued for pleasure. The daily withdrawal of people into the mass media in their after hours is a matter of subjectivity. The effect of mass communication is not escapism nor seducing the masses. Rather it is seen as anti-anxiety producing, and are regarded as communication-pleasure.
-- Social Learning Theory -- Formulated by Albert Bandura at Stanford University, this specifies that mass-media messages give audience members an opportunity to identify with attractive characters that demonstrate behavior, engage emotions, and allow mental rehearsal and modeling of new behavior. The behavior of models in the mass media also offers vicarious reinforcement to motivate audience members' adoption of the behavior. Baran and Davis (2000) classify mass communication theories into three broad categories: --1. microscopic theories that focus on the everyday life of people who process information - for example, uses and gratifications, active audience theory, and reception studies; --2. middle range theories that support the limited effects perspective of the media - for example, information flow theory, diffusion theory, and --3. macroscopic theories that are concerned with media's impact on culture and society - for example, cultural studies theory. Theories of mass communication have always focused on the "cause and effects" notion, i.e. the effects of the media and the process leading to those effects, on the audience's mind. Harold Lasswell and Berelson have succinctly expressed this idea. Lasswell's essential question is timeless (1949): "Who says what in what channel to whom with what effects?" Berelson said: "Some kinds of communication, on some kinds of issues, brought to the attention of some kinds of people, under some kinds of conditions, have some kinds of effects." (1949). Wilbur Schramm stated: "In fact, it is misleading to think of the communication process as starting somewhere and ending somewhere. It is really endless. We are little switchboard centers handling and rerouting the great endless current of information.... " (Schramm W.1954) quoted in McQuail & Windahl (1981)
Social Responsibility Theory -- advocated some obligation on the part of the media to society. A judicial mix of self regulation and state regulation and high professional standards were imperative.
-- Spiral of Silence -- Propounded by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, this theory states that the media publicizes opinions that are mainstream and people adjust their opinions according to their perceptions to avoid being isolated. Individuals who perceive their own opinion as being accepted will express it, whilst those who think themselves as being a minority, suppress their views. Innovators and change agents are unafraid to voice different opinions, as they do not fear isolation.
-- Stalagmite Theories. These theories suggest that mediated experiences induce long term effects that are very difficult to measure. The effects are like stalagmite drippings building up over time. Meaning Theory and the Cultivation Theory are two of the most significant Stalagmite theories.
THEORIES THAT LOOK AT STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
-- Argumenation Theor. An interdisciplinary study of how conclusions can be reached through logical reasoning; that is, claims based, soundly or not, on premises.
-- Authortarian Theory. All forms of communications are under the control of the governing elite or authorities or influential bureaucrats. Authoritarians are necessary to control the media to protect and prevent the people from the national threats through any form communication.
-- Gatekeeping. Originally focused on the mass media with its few-to-many dynamic, Gatekeeping is the process through which information is filtered for dissemination, whether for publication, broadcasting, the Internet, or some other mode of communication. Gatekeeping occurs at all levels of the media structure — from a reporter deciding which sources are chosen to include in a story to editors deciding which stories are printed or covered, and includes media outlet owners and even advertisers. Individuals can also act as gatekeepers, deciding what information to include in an email or in a blog, for example.
-- Medium Theory is the name assigned to a variety of approaches used to examine how the means of expression of human communication impact the meaning(s) of human communication(s). Joshua Meyrowitz originated the term in his 1985 book, No Sense of Place. Other scholars with work relevant to medium theory include Marshall McLuhan (1963, 1966, 1988) and Neil Postman (1985). Currently, medium theory occupies a marginal position within U.S. communication and media studies (Croteau & Hoynes, 2003:305). The majority of U.S. communication and media studies place their emphasis on the content of communication (e.g., sex and violence) not the medium of communications.
-- Model of Text Comprehension. This theory describes the complete reading process, from recognizing words until constructing a representation of the meaning of the text. The emphasis of the theory is on understanding the meaning of a text
-- One Step Flow Theory -- This theory simply stated that mass communication media channels communicate directly to the mass audience without the message being filtered by opinion leaders.
-- Shannon-Weaver Model. The Model involves breaking down an information system into sub-systems so as to evaluate the efficiency of various communication channels and codes. They propose that all communication must include six elements: Source, Encoder, Channel, Message, Decoder, Receiver. This model is often referred to as an " information model" of communication. A drawback is that the model looks at communication as a one-way process. That is remedied by the addition of the feedback loop. Noise indicates those factors that disturb or otherwise influence messages as they are being transmitted. STRUCTURE AND CONTENT.
*,Yeah, so, I made that one up.