Televisions Influence On The World – Sociology Essay
Television is not a new word in the 21st century, it has became a must-have electronic device for the majority of society. This invention has greatly influenced the world technology and society development. This essay aims to illustrate the technological development of television under different social background, as well as discussing
the social and cultural changes that brought about by the incorporation of this particular media form.
Firstly, in order to discuss deep into the influences brought by television, the brief history development of Television in both social and technological should be pointed out. The invention of television combined numbers of countries and individuals hard work through the history. According to Martin Clifford’s(1995) study about early television, in 1900 the word “television” has appeared. German Paul Nipkow developed a rotating-disc technology to transmit pictures over wire in 1884 called the Nipkow disk. This was the very first electromechanical TV scanning system. Nipkow’s system was abandoned early in the history of TV for the electronic systems developed by later inventors. In 1925 Scottish John Logie Baird has been considered as the father of television for his new invention. (Martin, Clifford 1995, Electronics Now, Vol. 66, Gernsback Publishing Inc.)
Then the technology of television continuously developed, and also became widespread in Europe and America. However due to the war history, it was not as successfully developed as in the beginning. Becker argues that pre-World War Two was the wrong time for the television to take off as a domestic technology. He pointed out that: “Television was promoted as more than just a scientific development. Rather RCA tried very hard to emphasize its positive values. “(Becker, Ron ‘Hear and See Radio’ in the World of Tomorrow: RCA and the presentation of television at the World’s Fair, 1939-1940′ in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Oct 2001, v.2, issue 4, p.361) There were also Surveys taken at the time demonstrate an ambivalence of the audience towards television as well as skepticism by media commentators on its potential. It did not infiltrate successfully into the American home until the 1950’s (Kato, Hidetoshi ‘Chapter 13: Japan’ in Television: An International History, ed. Anthony Smith with Richard Paterson, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 169-181). Currently the main consideration about television technology is digitalized. All the information includes news, entertainment and knowledge can be shared simultaneously world-widely. Until now, there are still revolutions in the television industry.
From the brief history above, we could understand that the development of television technology is closely related to the changing society environment. Hence secondary we would discuss the social and cultural changes brought about by the incorporation of this media form. In the last two hundred years, the invention of television has totally changed our day-to-day life. It is a multi-media form that combines visual, acoustical and psychological effects. Therefore television has become the most penetrating and widespread media form in the general media industry, and the influences brought by television are individually and collectively.
Television has significant influences on individuals in both advantage and disadvantage ways. For example, it has become our chief means of obtaining information. There are general information such as weather report, stock prices, world news and entertainment information. Because of television, the world has become much smaller and things and people that used to be strangers are now familiar to us. Hence, audiences are thousands of times more informed than our ancestors, individuals are trained and thought in a multilayered way by sharing instant information.
The sharing of simultaneous information using television would also have great impact on social behavior. Studies carried by Stanford University pointed out that: “Television is a medium that we take for granted as part of everyday life. We usually get caught up and involved in the programs we watch and the medium itself merges into the background.”(Stanford University Press, 1994. pp. 107-143) The self-involving effect has made television become a tool to interact and learn from the society, it also become education tool for younger generation. It is argued that there could be inappropriate information received by certain generation such as violence, terror and erotic. These negative influences may alter the social behavior, and cause disadvantages such as increasing teenager crime and school violence.
Looking at the influences on individual and society, we could further argue that television has such significant power that it will eventually affect a country’s domestic culture. In an advantage way, the society may develop into a more civilized and harmonic way. However there could be disadvantages. For example, it could not be denied that the over-spreaded America information through television has potentially influenced world cultures. For example, when we are watching popular America soap operas, we are receiving the American culture, thinking and habitudes. Then we may alter our thinking in the American way in our real day-to-day life, and if we look at it in a radical way, collectively the whole society has a potential becoming same as the American society, while losing its own domestic culture. Hence television would influence the individual and society in both good and bad aspects, it depends on how the information is shared and controlled by individual, families and government.
In conclusion, television has become part our life. It has gone through many years of development in technology and it is still improving. As one most popular media form, television has influenced individual and society in lifestyle, habitudes and culture. It is critical that we receive the information and manipulate it properly, to use the media form as an advanced tool, and consequently benefit the daily life.
Part 02: New Media-Theory and Practice
In this section there would be illustrating the understanding of new media concepts based on medium, cultural interfaces and screen. The section would also include how the theory is examined and practiced in the final assignment.
Firstly it would be necessary to introduce the background of my main theme in the assignment. It is required that we make a multimedia educational work. Since I am in a foreign country, I would like to create a project that would help the foreign audiences to get some information about my own country and my hometown. This program would provide a glance of how China looks like and what is special about Chinese culture. It would also help the audiences to learn some common conversation in Chinese.
Secondary, after decided the theme and purpose of the project, I will have to make a decision about interface. There are two related new media concepts while I studying how to create an interface. Interface is created on screen and it is communicated and interacted on screen too. According to Manovich’s (2001) study, the idea “Screen” has become an idea of Visual culture framing, it will frame what the audience see as well as separate the audience from the virtual world behind the screen. Although the physical size of a screen is small, it would create enormous contents. The screen is a communication device that delivers enjoyment, happiness, success, sadness, anger and ambitions. It is a boundary set up by individuals to divided apart appropriate or inappropriate behavior. It is an educational tool that teaches the audience all the time without being noticed or nominated. Hence, after reading the new theory about screen in current media industry, I realize how important the device is and how further it has gone beyond the simple word “tool”. If the screen is communicating culture information, it becomes the cultured itself to the audiences. It is the technology development that allows us to use the screen in an interactive way, and to further involving us into the virtual reality world behind it.
Then the actual interface would concern about the direct interaction between the screen and the audience. Most of information communicated by computer screen is designed as a website style, with many buttons and some text illustration link to the button. However, according to Anne (2002): “ while engineers strive to maintain the illusion of transparency in the design and refinement of media technologies, artists explore the meaning of he interface itself, using various transformations of the medias their palette.” (Cranny-Francis. Anne, 2000, pp23—27) After reading her statement, I realized that the purely website style interface only aims to includes certain computer technology in it, it has no designed feature for particular audiences group for particular screen functions. Following the concepts and discussions about television that I have done in the pervious part, I realized that such an educational theme project would be best done by using an interface as television. It would draw audiences’ attention. Additionally, the audiences would subconsciously treat the computer screen into television screen, and would then subliminally realize it is an educational program rather than a computer flash game.
Finally we have to think about how the actual content would displayed on the screen in this particular interface. There were studies by Bolter (1999) and others pointed out that such content would be defined as “Hypermedia”. Bolter illustrated that the term Hypermedia could be characterized by its multiplicity and the ability to bring a combination of all media communication mediums, such as images, sound, text, animation and video. (Bolter, Jay and Grusin, Richard. 1999. pp21—50) The content of the project in the interface would also be a hypermedia. It is designed as a television screen, having three to four channels. These channels are buttons which links to different sub-contents. These include “discovery China”, which will introduce the natural conditions and social customs of China; “Music Channel” which will introduce traditional Chinese music culture.
There would also be a channel called “Let’s speak Chinese”, which would include a educational game about listening, writing and speaking simple Chinese. The advantage of using interactive game is it combines uses of visual, acoustic and writing. It would draw audiences’ attention by its interesting interface, and the game would make the audiences experience successes. Here would be pictures and related Chinese pronunciations first, then after a few words there would be random pictures appears for the audiences to choose the right related pronunciations. It is a play-as-you-learn idea.
After reading the New Media Block course material (weeks 6—9), I had a deeper and more solid understand of how the new concepts of media terms work in practical projects. Also by combining the concepts and the researching in television, it is clear that such fast developing media form would greatly influence individual as well as the whole society. It is critical to use the theory and the media form as a tool to create better and more advanced media form that would mostly benefit the mankind.
Bolter, Jay and Grusin, Richard. “Immediacy, Hypermediacy and Remediation” Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1999. pp. 21-50.
Kato, Hidetoshi ‘Chapter 13: Japan’ in Television: An International History, ed. Anthony Smith with Richard Paterson, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 169-181.
Becker, Ron ‘Hear and See Radio’ in the World of Tomorrow: RCA and the presentation of television at the World’s Fair, 1939-1940′ in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Oct 2001, v.2, issue 4, p.361
Hilf, Bill ‘Media Lullabies: The Reinvention of the World Wide Web’. In online jopurnal, First Monday. Viewed on 13/09/2005
Manovich, Lev. “The Screen and the User” from “Chapter 2: The Language of Cultural Interfaces”. In Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001 pp. 94-115
Cranny-Francis, Anne. “The Anatomy of a Website: Exploring Multimedia Literacy.” Information Technology, Education and Society. Vol 1, No.1. 2000. pp.23-27.
Martin, Clifford, Adventures in cybersound: Early television, 1995, Electronics Now, Vol. 66, Gernsback Publishing Inc. viewed on 14/09/2005.