What is Media?

During seminar 1 of media audiences we were asked to define media. Now this, is seemingly harder than you would expect. In your head you completely understand the term and what ‘media’ entails. Yet changing thoughts into words and creating a sentence which actually makes sense creates a difficult task.

Definitions from myself and the other students included “a form of mass communication revolving around technology”, “a form of expression”, “a platform for communicating in various forms” etc. But yet even after writing them ourselves all of us confirmed that these weren’t actually correct or anywhere near the thoughts in our heads.

The problem is that as soon as your write something down or try to define it, it creates limitations. Media as a thought has basically no limits. This possibly suggests why you could argue that every definition is incorrect in some way or another.

Media is not only a way of communicating through technology but it is inclusive of many different platforms. This therefore implies the range of different technology involved; including the internet, which can then split into different genres including: social media, online shopping, online advertising etc. All these can then be split again and again until you reach singular websites. However, it could be argued that you can split this even further into pages such as the home page, the about page etc and so on and so forth. All of this is media, every single bit and really the amount of technology involved with and within the media has no limits, someone will always come up with a different type of technology that could be classed as media.

Another limitation included within a few of the definitions (some are mentioned above) was the fact that media is a mass communication. Is it? If you’re classing every single little part of media you can think of as one, then yes, I suppose you can class it mass because everyone in the world is somehow involved with some sort of media. If you’re classing media as technology such as TV then again yes, it could be classed as mass because a lot of people consume television. However, if you really think about it, not every part of media is mass communication. What about punk radio or TV shows like songs of praise? They are part of media are they not? Or do they not count because they do not have a mass audience?

There are so many other complications with defining media. That is what makes it such a difficult task. So, what is media?


Please feel free to comment, I will be interested to see if anyone believes they can define what media actually is!


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