Thursday, September 15, 2011

The goods and...well...mostly goods of the matrix media era

I thought about using a clever cliche title involving the "goods and bads of the new matrix media era" but I opted out because to be honest, I love technological advancement.

Curtin defines “matrix media” as a process “characterized by interactive exchanges, multiple sites of productivity and diverse modes of interpretation and use.” In my opinion, that definition is a little complicated. To me, matrix media is a way to maximize technology and increase the audience’s ability to view various forms of media. It is an evolving strategy for industries to maximize profit more easily and gain popularity. The main technological shift that led to the development of matrix media is the advancement of the internet. In my opinion, the internet has both helped and hurt the media industry. For example, it has essentially killed the newspaper print business and has shifted big-name newspapers to reporting information online. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed having my newspaper in print and in front of me (I always thought it was easier to read the Major League Baseball standings) but I think that is partially because that’s what my parents always preferred; we’ve had a Chicago Tribune subscription for over 20 years. The internet has also hurt the elderly population. I try not to connect schoolwork with my family too often but I feel the need to do so again. My grandma cannot figure out how to use a computer and hates that she has to get the majority of her information that way.

However, despite its flaws, the development and shift of the internet has had a positive influence on the new matrix media era as well. Information is delivered faster – often times immediately – through social media sites such as Twitter. I had to get a Twitter account for my Digital Technology class in the spring of 2011 and I just haven’t gotten rid of it because I love how “in the know” I feel with it.

The matrix media era has helped and hurt the media industry and therefore has to be depended on as well as feared. On the negative side, the matrix media has to be feared because it is driving some industries (such as print news) out of business and it is shifting the focus of the news to a younger population. But it also broadens the horizons for companies to expand. One example of this that Curtin provides is NBC’s web services and how the network utilizes the internet to expand its influence. Big networks like NBC as well as the average human being depend on these services to receive up-to-the-minute information. With the increase in web traffic, NBC can now open their doors to increased advertising and generate more revenue. In my opinion, the new era seems to be a cycle that excludes old technologies but also utilizes the new ones to spread information as quickly and easily as possible.

One final example that Curtin provides that I’d like to touch on is the Top Chef reference in the article. In addition to having an informative, yet exciting, cooking show on cable television, the audience can actually communicate with the competitors and judges by using blogs online. The new matrix media era can not only expand its shows but it can also allow the audience to feel connected to a show at more personal level, which I think is extremely beneficial.

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