Do Media In Cyberspace Raise New Questions About Social Forces Affecting The Media?

Introduction

Do media in cyberspace raise new questions about social forces affecting the media? This issue requires thorough investigation. It is known that information and communication technologies are effective tools that have changed the role of traditional media and raised questions regarding the application of certain rules and regulation in the virtual world. Social forces embrace “anything humans create that influences or pressures people to behave, respond, or think in certain ways” (Ferrante, 2014, p. 3). New technologies can be viewed as social forces as they maintain and foster freedom of speech. Other social forces that may affect the media include social structure, social ideology, social relationships, racism, sexism, industrialization, unemployment, urbanization, etc. According to researchers, information carried out through the Internet resources is shaped by social forces (Ferrante, 2014). Each of these social forces is generated by human activities and has a strong impact on life experiences of individuals. Undoubtedly, the media in cyberspace is affected by these social forces in some way or another.

The role of the media in cyberspace

The characteristics of the new media environment have been changed throughout the 20-th century. According to researchers, “the new interactive media have a ‘vulnerable potential’ to enhance public communications and enrich democracy, which can be realized only through appropriate policy support and imaginative institution building”(Blumler & Gurevitch, 2001, p.1). Currently, the political communication system is reflected by the Internet, while certain implications are related to the public obligations of conventional media, including open accessibility to new media platforms, and establishment of the so-called civic communities in cyberspace (Blumler & Gurevitch, 2001).

Besides, the media in cyberspace facilitates the democratization of information and computers because new computer and information technologies are available both at home and in public places. Computers are considered to be a democratic technology as they provide an opportunity to promote two-way communication. The users have a chance not only to receive messages, but also to express their ideas and share them with others online. Conventional media provide one-way communication. For example, watching TV is a one-way communication because the viewers remain passive while receiving the message. Hence, computer technology reflects interactivity and requires active participation of the users throughout the world. This fact means the media inn cyberspace is more influential than conventional media (e.g. printed media, TV, radio, etc.) (Toulouse & Luke,2013).

New questions raised by the media in cyberspace

There are many new questions raised by the media in cyberspace, most of which refer to the effects of social forces on the media. According to researchers, new information and communication technologies have created unprecedented controversies and conflicts of law in areas as diverse as freedom of expression, respect for religion, invasion of privacy through internet surveillance, as well as intellectual property regulation by harmonization” (Eko, 2012, p. 103). As a result, the media in cyberspace is focused on information control and censorship practices. The media have become an effective tool of social activism, opposing authoritarian approaches to the delivery of information to the public. In general, the media tools in cyberspace, presented in the form of information and communication technologies, have fostered human rights through communication processes at the global level.

As a matter of fact, the media in cyberspace tends to raise new questions regarding the effects of social forces because of the availability of new approaches to information sharing. It becomes clear that the growth of popularity social media platforms has provided millions of the Internet users with the “opportunity to create and share content on a scale barely imaginable a few years ago” (Romero, 2011, p.18). Due to active participation of the Internet users in social networking, the media in cyberspace provide a large number of opinions on different social problems, political and economic news, product and service reviews that can be found in posts on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and others. Hence, the new questions raised by the media in cyberspace about social forces affecting the media include legal questions, human rights-related questions and free speech-related questions (Romero, 2011).

Furthermore, the ideas and opinions expressed and shared in the media sources attract attention of the wider user community. According to researchers, “in spite of the seemingly chaotic fashion with which all these interactions take place, certain topics manage to get an inordinate amount of attention, thus bubbling to the top in terms of popularity and contributing to new trends and to the public agenda of the community” (Romero et al., 2011, p. 18). These new trends are related to the establishment of new ideologies in different areas of human activity, including politics, economics, international relations, cultural development and others. The Internet is controlled by the governments, but in some cases, there is no opportunity to provide absolute control over the content. As a result, there may be some misunderstandings which can lead to banning of certain information posts (Romero et al., 2011).

The significance of the impact of social forces on the media

It is very important to highlight the significance of the impact of social forces on the media. It is known that the conventional media in real space differs from the media in cyberspace in a number of ways. As a result, social forces affect the media differently. The new media environment that can be found in cyberspace is more accessible and easy to control due to the emergence of new technologies. Anyway, certain laws and regulations are applied to shape the content of communication both in the cyberspace and in the real space. According to researchers, “the digital law of the Internet has shaped the law in as much as communication law has to constantly strive to keep abreast of technological innovations” (Eco, 2012, p.104).

The increased amount of information that can be found in the media depends on social forces because the social networks communities rely on the users who send their messages online. According to recent study on the information propagation within Twitter platform, “the majority of users act as passive information consumers and do not forward the content to the network”(Romero et al., 2011, p.18). 

Various social forces affect the media in different ways, either positive or negative. For example, new technologies contribute to active participation of the users in political discussions or debates. Social structure affects the media through fostering certain social activities which support the development of media sources. Social ideology as one of influential social forces has a strong impact on the issues discussed in the media. Social ideology involves not only political views that play an important role in voting during elections, but also different life experiences that help to maintain cultural traditions. Social relationships as a social force contribute to the development of online communication which unites people of different races, colors and religions. The users are involved in close relationships due to social media networks, which are developed to provide support to different forms of social interaction.  Racism and sexism, two important social factors, have a significant impact on the media system. It is clear that the growth of racial and ethnic inclusiveness leads to the formation of diverse society. Racism and sexism contribute to the rise of class communication in a diverse environment. The media explain how people of different races and sexes can interact effectively, avoiding conflicts and promoting equality. The growth of class communication results in the interplay of new media technologies, as well as continual demographic division of the broader audience in the media. Industrialization is another social factor that affects the media in its own way. It is clear that the industrialization of society has a great impact on social organization and labor force. As a result, many people have an opportunity to use the Internet at home and at work. Unemployment is a social factor that has a negative impact on the media because it stands for the general economic welfare decline. At the same time, the media pay a large amount of attention to the problem of unemployment. For example, there are many stories in the media sources that show how to deal with this problem. Besides, the media provide information about the unemployment rate in the country and at the global level, as well as explain how unemployment affects people’s daily life. Urbanization affects the media through easy access to media sources and the Internet, changing the ways people interact with one another.

Conclusion

Thus, it is necessary to conclude that the media in cyberspace do raise new questions about social forces affecting the media. These questions are related to the changed characteristics of the new media environment, which provides an opportunity to enhance public communications and foster democracy. Undoubtedly, the proper governmental policy support and relevant social structure are essential in addressing the new questions raised by the media in cyberspace, including legal questions, the questions of human rights and free speech violations.

References

Blumler, J. G. & Gurevitch, M. (2001) “The New Media and Our Political Communication Discontents: Democratizing Cyberspace,” Information, Communication & Society, 4(1): 1-13.

 Eco, L. (2012) New Media, Old Regimes: Case Studies in Comparative Communication Law and Policy. Lexington Books.

Ferrante, J. (2014) “Why Focus on Globalization and Glocalization?” in Sociology: A Global Perspective. Cengage Learning.

Romero, D. M., Galuba, W., Asur, S., Bernardo A. Huberman, B. A. (2011)“Influence and Passivity in Social Media,” Machine Learning and Knowledge Discovery in Databases, 6913: 18-33.

Toulouse, C. & Luke, T. W. (2013) The Politics of Cyberspace. Routledge.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]
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