For the nearly 100 years of television development, the medium has developed along the contemporary media history as an important broadcasting and video communication tool. Though the invention of television is believed to be the work of many individuals since the late 19th century, Scottish engineer John Logie Baird was called the father of television because he invented the first working television system in 1925.
Since the creation of television, it serves the functions of entertainment, education, propaganda and advertising, etc, and these functions are still major nowadays. Living in mass culture, audience involuntarily spend more leisure time in front of television. Entertainment is probably the most popular function of television as people expect to enjoy themselves after one stressful and nervous day. However, as one of the most direct communication tool of our contemporary civilization, television needs to serve more influential function such as education. Any negative television picture, audio and language can potentially have a bad influence on people as television is faced with a large audience. Propaganda is another function to persuade and incorporate audience with certain information that television operators want them to know. Politicians are keen on utilizing television as an effective communication tool to broadcast their political views and govern people. For example, the 1960 American president selection best demonstrate television’s function of propagandizing political events as J.F. Kennedy’s good command of television propaganda. For other functions, D.McGarry holds the view that advertising is a special form of propaganda and it is a mere extension of personal selling techniques to the television (1958). Advertisement is one of the major source for TV studios to make money till now.
As a revolutionary communication medium combined audio, video and image, the impact of television on people’s life is no less than movies although they have a lot in common. It breaks the boundary of physical space and creates new scenes which augment people’s virtual experiences. However, from the perspective of entertainment, television is now confronted with the impact from Internet industry as streaming service offers a more convenient and diversified option for people. Internet has also changed the ways people participate in political events, resulting in the decrease of the influence of television. Social media played a central role in shaping political debate in the Arab Spring. It distributed information about real time protest activities that gave motivations to others to take action (Davidson& S., 2015). Television has a weak real-time function although news can be played live, compared to social media. The revolutionary-ness of television is absolutely overtaken by nowadays’ technological communication medium driven by Internet.
Emergent Online-social-mobile communication technologies have developed revolutionarily in recent 10 years. An obvious transformation of communication is the new content structure resulting from the interactivity of Internet technology —— personalized information, instant messages and social community. Audience are no longer a container passively accepting information. They started to become users proactively selecting media and content, at the same time producing and passing information. The boundary between senders and receives became blurred. Wearable networked devices, as the recent developments in communication technology, enhancing the interactive experience in social media life. For example, the new-released Apple Watch Series 4 revolutionarily added new function of fall detection to monitor users’ health problems. This new innovation extends the relationship between networked device and human body itself, deeply connecting human and the world with a more intimate medium via Internet. Therefore, the revolution of wearable networked technology is to further extend the sensory and feeling of human, making the media to become more interactive and intelligent.
Talking about social media revolution, one area we cannot skip is social movements. Of course, social media has facilitated movements and engaged more people to participate in them no matter where they are and when it is. The good thing about social movements is that voice can be heard easily now. Due to the rapid dissemination of information, #Metoo became the number one social media movements on the Internet this year. Victims could expose their experiences and receive help easier than before. However, this movement also contains disadvantages as in the virtual world, the effects of spiral of silence can be enlarged. If someone put forward a point which is against the so-called-correct view, he will suffer more violent criticism and protest, and the opinion will be submerged by the views from another side rapidly. In the movement of #Metoo, when some French actresses raised questions of the definition of sexual harassment in French social context, which is not identical with the mainstream voice, they got attacked by the Internet mobs quickly.
For me, though the contemporary stage of online-social-mobile media revolution is making huge contributions to the progress of human society, it also faces problems of unbalanced development and the gradually deeper gap of information. The world needs a new communication order to promote the balanced communication between different countries and regions. This modern Internet space is also shaped by the “hacker-geek” culture which symbolizes innovation and emerging things. More and more people become concerned about the development of technology, declaring the core value of “Technology and innovation change the world”. It is this spirit to explore unknown areas that drives the world to develop the prosperous Internet world.
Mcgarry, E. D. (1958). The Propaganda Function in Marketing. Journal of Marketing,23(2), 131. doi:10.2307/1247829
Davison, S. (2015). An Exploratory Study of Risk and Social Media: What Role Did Social Media Play in the Arab Spring Revolutions? Journal of Middle East Media, (11), 1-33. doi:10.12816/0023480