Media Audiences

Media is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “The main means of mass communication regarded collectively.” Further the Collins Dictionary claims that media is “The means of communication that reach large numbers of people, such as television, newspapers and radio.” Both these definitions have in common that media means communicating a message. Further when we discussed felt that an important part of this definition was also the multi-format/platform element of media and how this is what causes difficulty when trying to realistically implement a definition. If media means conveying a message then do we consider checking our watch for the time a form of media? Further streaming content such as a concert online we felt was clearly a form of media however is this a more valid form of media than being at the concert in person. This we concluded would provide a dilemma when producing research based on media usage as everyone will choose a different definition of what to include or not include when collecting data. This arguably presents a problem in wider terms as data collected is not comparable to each other, we would only be able to compare our results to any predictions or pre conceived ideas we had. In order to see what a general trend may be in media usage we must repeat the research ourselves with the individual guidelines we chose to put in place.

The Oxford Dictionary defines an audience as “The people giving attention to something”. We discussed this in regards to consumption of mass media products. This definition may seem clearer than what we concluded for media however audiences still provides many difficulties within this definition.  Consuming a media product can be voluntary and involuntary, this means that if someone else is watching a television show but you’re still in the room does this mean you are a member of the audience? Further we consume adverts constantly, through sidebars on Facebook and billboards most would argue we are audiences to these therefore generalising that an audience is just someone who consumes the product in any way even involuntarily. Further to be part of an audience do you have to participate and respond to the media? Especially in recent times with developments such as social media it has become easy to respond by following those involved in making the product on sites such as Twitter and Instagram. Following hashtags and pressing the red button on channels such as BBC allow you to interact with the content rather than passively consuming. This divides audiences into types those who passively consume and those who actively participate and respond to what they are seeing.

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