The New Institution

egypt

Word: Social organisation and collaboration

Note: this blog post works in conjunction with last week’s entry regarding framing and transversality.

Media is changing dramatically. Given the content I’ve posted throughout this blog page, this shouldn’t come as a shock. Even the medium that I’m using at this very moment – the blog – is working to shift what we know, what has been institutionalised as the media. More specifically, it works to transform the top-down, hierarchical approach to media that we have become so accustomed to.

The greatest product of this phenomena, I argue, is that of the ‘global media event’. This concept has been discussed in one of my earlier posts. We, as a public, are now longer static and we are no longer individuals subjected the institution of mass media. Rather, we are now subjects through whom news is received, interpreted and more recently, created. Social media, along with various other recent media technologies including online blogger, has played a significant role in propelling us into this new world. As mentioned in my previous post, already established frameworks of news media along with the and social practices of news consumption are being challenged with the notion of transversality (the crossing of lines). The greatest examples of this has to have been the media-induced Occupy Wall Street movement and the media-propelled Egyptian unrest.

As discussed previously, a media event works to ““intervene in the normal flow of broadcasting and our lives…Television events propose exceptional things to think about, to witness, and to do.” But what happens when television quickly becomes outdated and is no longer the primary means through which information is gathered? For both the events mentioned, they were formed and took shape using new mediums including social media and online streaming. Only after it had taken off online, did television grab hold of the events, understand how to interpret and broadcast said events and gather necessary foundational information and footage.

Despite existing debates regarding the demise of television and mainstream broadcast media to the so-called ‘unsophisticated’ and ‘unreliability’ of the online world, people need to wake up and understand that together, these two mediums, and the ability to re-assess and re-develop existing frameworks are crucial in order to guarantee that neither are undermined and neither are sacrificed for the other. Governments must also understand that the emergence of these technologies will affect how their governance is interpreted and accepted. With increasing focus on open-forums and transparency, not only government to public communication, but the government structures themselves must change, and change fast.

References:

ABC. 2011. ‘Don’t trust the web’. Accessed May 1 2013 <http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/dont-trust-the-web/3582912#transcript&gt;

Nieman Journalism Lab. 2011. ‘How Egypt’s uprising is helping redefine the idea of a ‘media event”. Accessed May 1 2013 <http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/&gt;

Verso. 2011. ‘McKenzie Wark on Occupy Wall Street: ‘How to Occupy an Abstraction”. Accessed May 1 2013 <http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/728&gt;

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