Evaluation of Contemporary and Earlier Forms of Media

Free «Evaluation of Contemporary and Earlier Forms of Media» Essay Sample


Communication has evolved significantly over the years. In particular, communication channels and the media have changed considerably owing to the ubiquitous technological advancements experienced around the world. According to Gauntlett (2014), media constitute the outlets through which information is disseminated from one party to another. Prior to the innovation of the Internet and computerised technology, various forms of media such as prints, television, music, video games and the telephone have already existed. Logan (2010) says that these communication tools facilitated the transmission of information, provision of entertainment, and connectivity in a limited scope. However, the rise of the Internet and computerisation remarkably transfigured the global media. Siapera (2011) affirms that new forms of connectivity were developed integrating social interaction with technology. As a result, global networking has been improved incredibly owing to the development of social media.

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Social media encompasses digitalised means of creating and conveying information using computer-related applications and websites. Some examples include Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and others. Compared with earlier forms of media, contemporary social platforms are quite distinct in several ways. Hence, the evaluation of various dimensions regarding connectivity, outreach, efficiency, and convenience among others distinguishes contemporary social media from its earlier forms.

Comparison between Contemporary Social Media and Earlier Forms of Media

Current forms of social media are similar to its earlier forms in that all of them are involved in conveying information between different parties. However, they are dissimilar in other aspects such as the nature and the composition of information, the capacity of geographical extent, the speed, the effectiveness, and the reliability as described in the sections below.


The earlier media such as prints, movies, radio and television broadcasting differ from social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on the facets of outreach. For instance and in accordance with Fuchs (2014), the information contained in prints can only be accessed by those who are in a position to purchase them and those only in regions where they were available. Similarly, films and music videos can only supply information to those who can access them and within a given range. Besides, the information relayed via broadcasting television and radio stations is limited due to confinement within specific geographical boundaries. In particular, only those who are tuned in at that particular moment are the ones who can receive the relayed information (Hartley 2011). Considering these implications, the earlier forms of media have little outreach as communication was based in a specific locality and on a limited scope. However, the Internet has enhanced the outreach of these media in recent times since it facilitates global broadcasting through streaming services.

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On the other hand, social media including Twitter and Facebook demonstrate widespread outreach regardless of geographical barriers. In light of the social media’s dependence on the Internet, communication over these media occurs around the world as many people can access the same piece of information simultaneously by just connecting their devices such as smartphones and computers to the Internet and using their accounts to gain access (Warburton & Hatzipanagos 2013). Consequently, new forms of social media are associated with greater outreach capacities compared with its earlier forms. In this regard, current media is different from its precursors.


Efficiency levels differ conspicuously between earlier and new forms of media. The efficiency of an entity refers to its coherence in usability and application. Regarding the old forms of media, they have their levels of efficiency. For instance, large volumes of data and information are stored in the print form, videotapes, and other tangible storage devices for electronic components like televisions and radios (Potter 2012). Consequently, retrieving the information from its storage is quite procedural and takes some time. However, new forms of social media are equipped with advanced storage and retrieval systems. For instance and according to Hendricks (2010), the feature of cloud computing facilitates convenient storage, manipulation, and retrieval of data and information in an intangible form. The advantage of new forms of media is that the information stored is significantly large, and there is no maximum limit to its capacity. Moreover, the network storage promotes multiple users to access the information at the same time, and the speed of retrieval is remarkably high (Ayanso & Lertwachara 2014). In this regard, the new social media are different compared with earlier forms in the concepts of efficiency levels.

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The feature of global connectivity became more pronounced in the recent years as a result of technological advancements. Earlier forms of media facilitate minimal connectedness, and this occurs particularly between people who are present in the same geographical location (Banerjee 2015). For instance, the telephone used cable connectivity before the introduction of wave transmission. This limited the range of connectivity as connections could only be provided in a limited scope. People physically interacted to effectively communicate with each other. Regarding contemporary social media, they offer a platform that enhances intensive global connectivity (Humphreys 2016). For example, websites such as Myspace, YouTube and Instagram enable people to connect with each other from different parts of the world through sharing digitalised content including photos, videos, and podcasts. Similarly, applications such as WhatsApp and Snapchat enable people to interact further through the instant messaging and video calling features that promote enhanced connectivity among people worldwide. Therefore, new forms of social media are quite distinct from earlier types in the dimensions of connectivity.

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Effectiveness and Reliability

When it comes to effectiveness and reliability, there is great diversity between the two forms of media. For instance, earlier forms such as the telephone, the television and the radio broadcasting services are less effective and reliable in conveying information. Concerning the telephone, issues to do with connection due to weak signals and voice clarity hinder communication since one can perceive different information from what is being relayed from the source (Gauntlett 2014). Additionally, television and radio broadcasting services experience challenges regarding physical barriers such as the terrain of the land, which significantly affects the communication signals (Banerjee 2015). Considering that many people do not access most print media, the latter are less effective in facilitating communication. In this regard, earlier forms of media are less efficient in reliability and effectiveness.

Contrary to the earlier media forms, contemporary social media are remarkably reliable and effective. Owing to the efficiency of the Internet and its service providers, Petrescu (2014) contends that information is always completely conveyed through social media to all individuals who can access it globally. Hence, they are fast and reliable in communication. In addition, convenience is ensured as the digital content can be retrieved from servers upon erasure or deletion from devices (Lee 2014). Consequently, new forms of social media are more effective, convenient and reliable compared with earlier types.

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In the context of dynamism, the two categories of media are dissimilar. Old media is static as the forms used to facilitate communication are the same throughout. The room for dynamism is minimal as little modifications can be made on prints, videos, and broadcasts. However, current forms of social media are dynamic in nature. Since technological advancements are ubiquitous, new forms of websites and applications are developed frequently (Humphreys 2016). These are attributed to modifications in the nature of interfaces that facilitate communication. In this respect, dynamism depicts a difference between contemporary and old forms of media.

Educational Capacity

The media is an important contributor to educational advancements by facilitating the communication of educative content between different parties. Earlier forms of media promote educational services in limited capacities. For example, prints can only be accessible and relevant to those who are literate (Fardouly, Pinkus, & Vartanian 2017). Moreover, information is mostly distributed within a given location. Media such as televisions and radios broadcasters reach individuals who are in a position to receive the signal effectively. As such, the educational capacity of earlier forms of media is significantly limited. On the other hand, current social media are imperative in providing educational services globally. For instance, websites such as LinkedIn offer a platform through which educational communication can be effected. In addition, video calling aspects of WhatsApp and Snapchat among similar applications provide interactive interfaces for enhancing educational services whereby learners can communicate with their teachers or instructors (Atzmueller 2011). As a result, the modern social media is instrumental in ensuring extensive educational capacity compared with the old forms of media. Consequently, the two categories are distinct in this aspect.

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Business Relations and Business Value

The media is of utmost importance in not only enhancing business relations but also ensuring business value by promoting business-client relations and interaction. Nevertheless, old types and new social media demonstrate differences in the business world. Hughes, Kapoor and Pride (2014) argue that prints such as business journals and magazines facilitate marketing, advertisements and reaching targeted audiences, in this case the professionals in the corporate business. Thus, the business value maintains constant and with little exposure to new customers. Additionally, these media provide a platform that simplifies only one-way conversation, namely from the organisation to the customer (Mahoney & Lang 2017). As such, the customer’s feedback on the quality of goods and services is not readily supported.

In opposition to the earlier forms of media, the contemporary one has taken the business world to an advanced level characterised by expansive marketing and interactivity. These media promote business marketing globally through the online websites such as Amazon, which, as well as other similar sites, constitutes an online platform that encourages advertising and marketing campaigns aimed to create awareness of a business and its services (Tuten & Solomon 2014). The new social media also promotes efficient business relations by enabling producers and businesspeople to interact two-way with their clients through video-conferencing, whereby the latter can give feedback on the value of the products and the services offered to them in real time (Dijck 2013). Besides, upcoming businesses are in a position to gain new clientele rapidly owing to the connectivity aspect provided by the social media. These factors thus depict the differences between earlier media and new social media forms, particularly in the business field.

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The old forms of media are different from contemporary social kind in the aspect of cost-effectiveness. In the case of old media, for one to receive information, an individual has to purchase the prints, music and video tapes, and the devices that receive broadcasted signals such as radios and televisions. Considering that these components are costly, the old forms of media are less cost-effective. On the other hand, new forms of social media are quite opposite. For instance, a person is only required to connect to the Internet to gain access of these media (Lee 2014). In light of the fact that the movies, music and articles present in the social media are intangible, acquiring them does not incur any costs unless upon subscription in some cases which is rather cheaper than purchasing them. Consequently, new forms of social media are more cost-effective compared with earlier forms.

Research Activities

Scientific research activities in the fields of agriculture, medicine, environmental studies, astronomy and astrology among others require comprehensive data collection to foster the achievement and the realisation of study objectives. In this respect, the media plays a significant role in gathering the necessary data and information. Earlier forms provide data on scientific researches in specific locations (Okazaki 2012). Hence, the demographics and the observations obtained are only limited to a particular geographic location. Moreover, researches from old forms of media rely majorly on secondary data available from published articles and other prints. However, new forms of social media promote timely access to these research parameters and, therefore, enhance research activities on a global scale. Social media prompts researchers, for instance weather forecasters, to share their findings accurately on aspects such as climate change, thereby encouraging appropriate planning (Okazaki 2012). Besides, they provide real-time data that is imperative in analysing trends in academic researches. Thus, the two forms of media differ in the aspect of facilitating research activities.

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The activities that constitute the two types of media are different regarding public involvement. The earlier forms engage the participation of people in a passive perspective. For instance, those who access information from printed books, movies and television and radio broadcasts do not readily react toward the source as there are no feasible means of participation. However, contemporary social media enhances mass participation by providing extensive interaction between the source of information and the recipients (Potter 2012). For instance, the Facebook website encourages people to reply to others’ thoughts and views that can be publicly viewed. Consequently, people actively participate by expressing their concerns, reacting on certain issues, and giving their opinion on the information received. In this respect, the earlier forms of media are distinct from present social type in the aspects of facilitating passive and active participation between the source of information and the recipient.

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Social and the earlier types of media are also distinct in the realm of transparency regarding the information provided. Regarding traditional media, the information delivered through prints, videos and broadcasts is taken by the recipients the way it is. There is no room for evaluation or analysis to establish any controversies related to the delivered information. Hence, the old media is characterised as promoting closed communication systems with little or no transparency. Current social media, on the contrary, enhances transparency by facilitating open systems that enable the scrutiny of the information communicated by the recipients. The source can be easily identified and the material facts established as valid or false (Rao 2017). For example, information shared over Twitter can spark contributions from people in all parts of the world. This fosters the transparency and promotes the credibility of information upon communication. Therefore, earlier forms of media manifest diversity in the dimensions of transparency.


The media constitutes an important part of every individual’s life considering that it facilitates communication that is necessary for fostering coexistence. The earlier forms of media existed before the introduction of social media. As noted, these two categories exhibit distinctive features in a variety of perspectives. For instance, they have differences in aspects such as efficiency, scope and outreach, connectivity, business application, educational capacity, research, participation, and transparency. Earlier forms of media are characterised by less efficiency in storage and retrieval of information, low connectivity, minimal scope, and limited educational capacity as discussed. However, contemporary social media portray improvements by promoting widespread participation, extensive research activities, enhanced business relations, and increased transparency. Considering these variations, earlier forms of media are distinct from the current social type.

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