Is the #function of traditional #mass-media and so-called #personal-media different? #WEB206

In what way do you see the function of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?

The function of traditional mass media and personal media are increasingly becoming aligned. As Lüders recognised in 2008, it was important to explain the “…technical and social dimensions of the concept of personal media and to revise the distinction between personal and mass media” (p. 685). Reading Lüders’ paper in 2015, I fully concur with her notion that personal and mass media are discernible “…if not always technically, then at least socially” (p. 685). However, the boundaries that were more easily identified by Lüders in 2008, have become increasingly blurred. The persistent and rapid evolution of technology and its impacts on both personal and mass media has enabled the two to merge in ways that make the function of previously traditional mass media embrace and, in some ways, absorb the other.

The news media provides a good example in this instance. Conventionally, the news media functioned from a top-down approach. Journalists would be sent out locally and internationally to write and report on the news and the public would consume whatever was published in the paper or on television if they chose to do so. While we can still see these methods evident in this area, our current notions of news media have changed. We can be citizen journalists via a blog, or even merely by being one of the first witnesses on the scene of an event that would be considered newsworthy, armed with our smartphones and their digital cameras to film or take pictures as the event unfolds.

The way that the two media are still different, in my opinion, is that, taking the news media as an example again, mass media is increasingly primarily motivated by prestige and capital. News in personal media may be consumed passively for increased access to knowledge, actively shared and passed on with one’s personal opinions and reactions added (e.g. blogged or micro-blogged via social media tools like Twitter), or even curated and/or manipulated and remixed for a variety of reasons.

Then again, having stated that, I cannot completely escape my personal perception that the two media are increasingly and subtly blending together, so the differences between the two functions will be less and less apparent. I’m on a George Orwell kick this week… I am referring, in this instance, to the notions of newspeak, the Thought Police and propaganda, which is evident in the news media today.


Lüders, M. (2008). Conceptualizing personal media. New Media & Society, 10(5), 683-702. doi: 10.1177/1461444808094352

Orwell, G. (2003). Nineteen eighty-four: a novel (Centennial ed.). New York, New York: Plume.

A nice response – yes the two a starting to blur quite significantly. We increasingly are searching for the personal in the traditional framework as it adds ‘sensation’ or emotion. But it is an interesting balance. If we take the recent shootings in Oregon we need dispassionate reportage so that we understand what happened and how, but it also seems like a betrayal to not be outrage to not be emotional about such a thing. One thing of note is the increase in journalists, particularly news anchors and hosts having emotional responses on air. When news media and/or traditional media is top-down perhaps this is less likely to occur.

P.S. FYI – I don’t think we are ever passive when consuming media. This is an argument I have been having with web101 students 🙂

Yes, indeed! I used “passively” incorrectly. It sure have been a while since I completed WEB101 – either my poor memory is active, or I’m approaching the statement frequently used throughout my youth-to-older adult growth period. LOL

I must say… your comment wants me to fish out all the readings from WEB101 to refresh my memory! Eeek!


About Maha @ Uni

Studying online, and want to keep a record of my progress and experiences...
This entry was posted in #WEB206, Blogging, Blogs, Blurring of Boundaries, Citizen Journalism, Curation, Digital Media, George Orwell, Internet, Mass Media, Media, Media distribution, Newspeak (Orwell), Online News, Participatory Media, Personal Media, Propaganda, Remix, Social Networks, Thought Police (Orwell), Traditional Mass Media (Function), Twitter, Web Publishing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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