Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Wither Mass Communication

Back in my Telecom days, it was relatively routine to have conversations about what we were called. This happens when you sound as if you are the phone company, as someone at IU quipped.

Here they have pondered this, too. The School of Journalism merged with the Department of Communication to become the School of Journalism and Communication, which last year became the School of Communication.

Most days I feel like I study mass communication. But the mass is fading away. And somehow, for some reason, communication does not seem like the key variable of interest. I got a graduate student discussion question today really taking two articles to task for not being about communication. They were more clearly about mediated information. And in my academic pedigree, we care about this. The phrase I was taught by my advisor -- which she may or may not have coined -- was: "Is it live or Memorex?" So mediation matters.

This seems more important to me every day, as mass audiences dwindle, and I grow more interested in new technologies, such as webshots.com, myspace.com, and facebook.com. I was never a new media person, until I started to see some fundamental differences within new media. So now I am trying to figure out how to meaningfully study these beasts.

Now I am off to give a mid-term.


Blogger Ashley said...

Have you thought about using social network analysis as a component in your analysis of things like facebooks and online communication networks? It provides you with a way to analyze online communities. It's a really good technique, try reading Monge and Contractor's book and Stan Wasserman's book. You could also get involved with Socnet, just put it in google.

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