The 10 new paradigms of communication in the digital age

Internet changed most of the paradigms that helped us to describe and understand the public communication ecosystem.

Lettering and photo by @ubq879

1. From audience to user

During the 80’s, the merge of satellite and cable technologies enabled broadcast media the delivering of content to thematic segmented target audiences, evolving from broadcasting to narrowcasting. From the 90’s on, internet opens the way to a next step: from narrowcasting to pointcasting.

2. From media to content

The focus shift from the industrial production constraints (press, radio, television) to content authority in order to define media. National Geographic and CNN, for example, are not a particular kind of media, but brands which represents authority over an area of content (natural life) or expertise in current affairs content management (journalism).

3. From monomedia to multimedia

One of the strongest issues about digitalization is that text, audio, video, graphics, photos, and animation could be arranged together and interactively on a single media for this first time in history. This multimedia identity of the actual environment allowed all media industries to converge online (press, broadcast, movies) and this is the reason why media distinctions related to use of single language (textual, audio, visual) tend to be erased. Online media are multimedia, and multimedia is a new language.

4. From periodicity to real-time

Regular frequency was a strong paradigm of the old scenario to the point the many media were defined in relation to its time constraints (daily, weekly, monthly). Online media (whether they are digital versions of a daily newspaper, or a weekly or monthly magazine) assume that they must to be real time updated to survive in the new environment.

5. From scarcity to abundance

Space for the print media and time for broadcast media ceased to be the limit to content and now the time of the user is the new scarce resource.

6. From editor-mediated to non-mediated

The gatekeeper paradigm was broadly used to explain the role of media editors and the agenda-setting theory and to describe the functions of media in defining the daily issues.

7. From distribution to access

The broadcasting paradigm of one to many unilateral distribution is replaced by both: many to one access and many to many communication. Client-server architecture of the internet started a new model based on the decisions of the users.

8. From one way to interactivity

Far from the single-direction point-multipoint asymmetrical distribution model of legacy media, with the net emerges a bilateral inverse model many-to-one based on the client-server architecture of the internet, but also a multilateral horizontal and symmetrical many-to-many model.

9. From linear to hypertext

Analogue media narrative construction is linear and narrators have the power to control the story organization and tempo. The digital platforms enable narrators to organize content by fragmenting it into small units (nodes) with multiples paths between them (links). Hypertextual narratives empower the user shifting the control of the narrative from the narrator to the reader.

10. From data to knowledge

The extraordinary amount of data available in the Digital Age bring back the strategic role of media as social managers of knowledge, a role to be shared with an increasing number of new players.

Profesor universitario, conferenciante y escritor. Professor, Speaker and Writer. Cultura digital. Digital culture.

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