Media Evolution: A Theoretical Approach to the History of New Media

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The article that I analyzed is written by Rudolf Stober, a Communication studies researcher. His article aims to confer the factors that led to transition from “Old Media” to “New Media.” I chose this article because it provides essential supplemental information that equates well with the course readings on the History of Media.

Stober contends that media evolution is not just about “technical inventions”; rather, it encompasses the invention as well social instutionalizing of the medium. He suggests that only when we have time to reflect on past developments of media do we come to terms with the motivations and societal impacts of the old media. Stober’s formulated hypothesis combines aspects from Joseph Schumpeter’s contrasts of invention and innovation as well as Evolutionary Theory.

Schumpeter believes that media stays stagnant; the audience of the media adapts to the media and changes their attitudes once they have adopted it. Schumpeter’s theory breaks media development into invention (technological process) and innovation (innovation). Stober has built upon this theory, as he believes that media does evolve after a period of social institutionalization. Lobe’s hybrid encompassing theory suggests that evolution in media manifests itself through invention, innovation, and diffusion. He states that first stage of invention new media improves on something old. He uses one example of the Radio telegraphy as an invention that through second stage of innovation is improved and transformed in Broadcasting. He suggests that every “new media encloses older media.”

He subcategorizes the innovation stage into improvements in new media; new economic models; and, in innovative legal models. He states that the innovation phase is heavily dependent on experimentation.

The finally stage of evolution is diffusion in which society uses Choice Theory in order to determine the cost benefit analysis of adopting a new medium. The diffusion period entails...
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