Essay: Media Worlds These Four Readings

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[. . .] The interconnection of personal communication ultimately rises up, on the societal level, to vast new amounts of information. But the Internet does not help in terms of correlation or transmission of information. In some sense, the democratizing function of the Internet makes it harder to correlate valuable information with nonsense -- to take one example that fits with Lasswell's function of communication as "correlation" between different components of society, we might point to the phenomenon of "Morgellons." This demonstrates the power of ordinary people (laymen) to organize socially around a perceived epidemic disease, which professional people (medical doctors) have declared is a fictional and hysterical epidemic -- an epidemic of people who read too much on the Internet and allow their imaginations to run away with them. The greater ease of communication -- even between these two sectors of society (laymen and medical doctors) -- does not resolve the question. And finally, the Internet is in its infancy so it is hard to see in what way it can allow for the transmission of social inheritance -- instead it seems to allow for the widespread communication of misinformation, and does not seem to have given anyone the notion that things of permanent value will come from it, which will be necessary to communicate to future generations. Nonetheless, the Internet is changing things rapidly -- and has a tremendous influence that could hardly have been guessed at by Lasswell, or the other writers under consideration in this week's readings.

For example, Lazarsfeld Berelson and Gaudet (1944) examine the effects of the most obviously available mass media in the U.S. Presidential election campaign of 1940 -- radio and the printed [END OF PREVIEW]

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