interpersonal and mass communication

Consumers can have real-time communication with producers of an array of cybermedia content. The interactivity offered by most online media producers can be virtually instantaneous or leisurely, depending on how quickly the parties respond to each other. Whether such communication is considered mass media depends on the nature of the interactivity. For instance, a consumer who sends a complaint to a television network via the Contact Us feature on the network’s website is engaging in interpersonal communication. But a consumer who sends a tweet to the television network, where an endless number of other consumers can access the consumer, is engaging in mass communication, particularly if the message goes viral.

At times, consumers may inadvertently or purposely take private communication and make it public. The classic situation involves interpersonal communication between a media outlet and a consumer that becomes mass communication when the disgruntled consumer posts it online. If there is enough interest, and the post gets circulated enough through shares and likes, the once-private communication will go “viral” and thus become mass cybercommunication.

The fluidity between interpersonal and mass communication is not limited to social media, though. Chatroom communication can move into the category of mass communication when chatrooms are public. After his 2012 State of the Union message, President Obama invited people to”hang out” with him in a video chatroom to answer questions about his address. The event, part of a White House test of new social networking tools, demonstrated the growing intersection of social media and politics. For 45 minutes Obama took questions at the White House’s Google Plus page.

Writing Prompt

Applying Your Media Literacy—New Audience Engagement

What significance do you see in how cybermedia is changing how people interact with media and with each other?

The response entered here will appear in the performance dashboard and can be viewed by your instructor.


4.3 Jobs’ Historical Model

Study Preview Steve Jobs of Apple, the genius architect of mass media’s new landscape, recognized the current tech revolution, which he stated has moved through three stages. The personal computer (PC) revolution, as he called it, would change the way families functioned. The personal computer becomes the hub of all activity during this stage, and productivity increased significantly. The Internet revolution came next, generating an era of unprecedented human interconnectivity on a worldwide basis. Jobs referred to this as interpersonal computing, since personal computers could now be connected via a network, allowing computers (and operators) to communicate. Jobs predicted the third stage would be the digital lifestyle, where a digital existence was the norm.

Stage Years Impact Personal Computer Revolution 1980–1984 Faster Productivity Interpersonal Computing Revolution 1994–2000 Worldwide human interconnectivity

Digital Lifestyle 2000–present All aspects of life are facilitated digitally

Learning Objectives By the end of this module you will be able to:

  1. 4.3.1 Characterize the Computer Revolution as a part of the Jobs Model
  2. 4.3.2 Describe the period between 1994-2000 according to the Jobs Model
  3. 4.3.3 Characterize a digital lifestyle according to the Jobs Model

4.3.1 Computer Revolution

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