Mass Communications Research Paper
Between the eighteenth and nineteenth century eras, Foucault has come to discover one of the most important discoveries in our society, and that is the “disciplinary societies.” These societies have reached their true potentials in the twentieth century according to Deleuze (1992). The author described these disciplined societies as societies that were enclosed in big spaces (Deleuze, 1992). In these enclosed spaces, the individual does not stop moving from one enclosed space to another. These spaces were characterized by their laws. As an example, Deleuze (1992) has reimagined it to be family first. Then school (when one is no longer with the family); then the factory (when the individual is no longer at school and is working). Although these fully illustrate what it means to be in a disciplinary society, prisons are the most rational model of these enclosed spaces. Another industry that closely resembles the quintessential point of an enclosed space is the factory. According to Deleuze (1992), Foucault has made a vital analysis of the factory as a disciplined society. The factory whose aim is to order in time; distribute in space; create an efficient force within the elements of the given space and time is greater than the total of all its forces. However, according again to Deleuze (1992), Foucault was not able to recognize the passing or temporariness of this type of society. Since Napoleon’s rule, the world has become different and has exercised the functions of freedom and was different to what was known as a disciplined society.
Although Deleuze’s study has attempted to discuss the present condition of the societies moving from disciplinary to controlled, Hardt (1998) still deems it necessary to provide depth in the interpretation of these societies. In his paper on the “Global Society of Control,” Hardt (1998), has expressed his great desire to articulate more the control that goes on in society. According to Hardt (1998), the simplest way to describe the transition from disciplined to controlled society is the abolished walls from environments. This event only means that the long established divisions between the inside and the outside is no longer distinguishable. The world that people have today is characterized by the end of the division of civil order and natural order. This fact creates the obvious notion that the world today is best summarized by one word; which is postmodern (Hardt, 1998). Postmodernism signifies the end of nature when the world has fully transitioned to becoming modern. Because of such modernity, what was then known and familiar to us as public spaces have now become privatized. The area of space, where public demonstrations are held, are now enclosed in buildings, malls, metropolises and gated communities that make it difficult to penetrate by others; thus limiting public access and interaction.
Linked to Deleuze’s and Hardt’s studies, McLuhan has his take on understanding the media. Through this study, it was revealed that media has become an extension of humankind that broke the barriers of one’s inside environments making it indistinguishable from the outside. It cannot be denied that it has been centuries since the time of the industrial revolution and years since the time that we first sent men to space. And as of today’s current state, people have discovered more and more ways to be nearer to things that were never thought of before. McLuhan (1994) discusses that the people have extended their central nervous systems to a global embrace, removing the elements of time and space as far as the world is concerned. According to McLuhan (1994), the people have already attained the final stage of the extensions of humankind and that is the technological model of consciousness. This occurrence means that the process of knowledge will be collectively known to society thus making ourselves extended to society through various sources of media. In this culture that people have now, they have become used to the division and partition of all things as a way to control. The consequences of the extensions that are awarded to people illustrate that the social and personal outcomes of any medium result from a new measurement. This measurement is presented into our affairs by each extension of humankind or by any means of technology. As with automation, it is the quintessential example of the negative effects brought about by the extension of ourselves; jobs that were usually done by man are eliminated and are replaced by something complex. Automation has now become the introduction of information and electricity to people from all walks of life. Automation has destroyed the dichotomies existing in the world today. Gone are the divisions that separate technology from culture, art from commerce and leisure from work (McLuhan, 1994). This scenario that the world has today has moved farther away from the mechanical years of division where leisure has always been a distinguishable aspect of life that is defined differently from work. According to McLuhan (1994), leisure has always been an established time where there is the absence of work. However, because of the access to information and the lack of dichotomies between concepts, work and leisure has overlapped as a general phenomenon (McLuhan, 1994). As this day and age demand the maximum simultaneous use of the people’s abilities, they learn that they are resting at the most when they are heavily involved in leisure. This fact is true as with all the artists from all walks of life and different ages who find leisure in their work. For the very reasons stated in the former, the age of automation and electricity is utmost considered as the age of enlightenment. As compared to light that was once in its existence just a form of information and energy, automation has also joined different aspects of work into one. The electronic automation age was able to combine consumption, production and learning through a complicated system.
Despite its many benefits, it cannot be denied that the age of automation has also brought along with its advantages some effects that have been disadvantageous for people. With the simultaneous use of our faculties, having specialized tasks is no longer in existence. In the words of McLuhan (1994), the automated machine may have its specialty. However, it is no longer limited to just one task. Like the hands of a person that is capable of doing many things, the machine combines in its system the power to adapt. This adaptive capacity is what was lacking in the earlier days during the time of the mechanical process (McLuhan, 1994). Just as the point of automation is to use different faculties simultaneously and to do all tasks assigned, it can only be concluded that learning is the main task. Learning has become a requirement that is needed to be accomplished in this day and age (McLuhan, 1994). Learning itself has become the major type of consumption and production. Because of such a case for workers, many are threatened by the fear of unemployment. Corporations and businesses have become a battleground for professionals who are in a contest of credentials. Paid learning has become the major player in employment and has also become the source of money in this society. This scenario is now commonly known as the role of men in this society. The divided jobs during the mechanical age are now obsolete, and employees are no longer specialized in different fields. Specialist slots for applicants and labourers no longer have meaning in the automation realm (McLuhan, 1994).
The current situation that is faced by the people today is enough proof of the widening reach of technology in our society. Computers for one, have become vital parts of the people’s routine across the globe. As Howard-Jones (2011) has observed, he states that the people living in this time are deeply involved in the advancement of technology. Many of the people’s means to communicate is now done online or electronically. Leisure and the entertainment that people give themselves also come from the utility of technology through video games and the internet. Many of the people in this generation also find it as a necessity to have their mobile phones with their sides. This event is part of communicating with their family and friends and as an important way to organize their tasks within the day. Because of the hegemony of technology and the internet, people are freed from the dichotomy that was the central idea of a disciplined society. It can be noted that the world is at present revolving from the perspective of the society of control where the central premise allows people to do whatever they want; whenever they want. It does sound appealing as the society of control presents itself as a type of freedom or sovereignty. Who would not enjoy the perks of being free from enclosed buildings like those of a factory or a school? People at present are now given opportunities to finish their education online. The adults are given the time or the day to work from home. This liberty to do work and to study anywhere does appeal to people who want to spend more time doing other things to fulfill the goal of simultaneously using their faculties to fulfill different tasks. However, automation only seems to present itself like freedom. What people do not notice is that it distributes responsibility in all aspects of life. Working from home does sound appealing and a bright idea for some individuals. However, since this scenario is the current trend, people are now expected to respond to the pressures of work even when away from their companies and offices. People are now expected to reply to any email as soon as possible. Although people are liberated from the tight office spaces, the pressures of work now permeate every little aspect of their lives.
Even before the coming of age of internet and tablets, academics such as McLuhan, Deleuze, and Hardt have foreseen the effects of having quite an intelligent race. The people have managed to break through barriers and have created a world that unites them with different environments. Such is the job of social media. Social media for a fact has become one of the greatest discoveries in today’s technological field. Many have enjoyed its benefits through the use of different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Email models. Because of its wide scope, social media has more importantly become a complex system of networks. Social media is best known today as a group of online media designs that shares conservation, openness, connectedness and participation (Mayfield, 2008). Not only does it share these types of features but social media also creates an environment where all thoughts are acknowledged. Truly, technology is continually reaching its peak and its reach as evidenced by social media. In Canada alone, Sherpa Marketing (2012) says that 64% of Canadians have a social networking profile, and 50% of Canadians are registered to more than one social media platform. Most of its audiences in the country are those who are under the age of forty-five. According to Statistics Canada, in 2010, 94% of this age group are listed as users of the internet (Dewing. 2012). In addition to these internet users, 86% of the Canadians ages 18 to 34 were found to be registered in one or more social media platform. This number is compared to the 62% of those with ages 35 to 54 who were found to have at least one social media profile. In terms of gender, 92% of women were found to have registered in Facebook creating their profiles. This outcome is compared to the 75% of men who were listed to be online internet users (Dewing. 2012).
Since it lists the majority of the media’s audience, the social media has continued its development to reinvent itself in order to fit the needs of the population. Social media has been found to have great utility in education, business and politics. According to Deschamps and McNutt (2014), the social media has changed how the third sector serves its circle. From a business view, social media can increase the presence of the community and improve profitability. On the other hand from a social point of view, the social media can create inclusions and may strengthen the stakeholders participation (Deschamps and McNutt, 2014). Of course from an educational perspective, the social media can create greater participation that can come from both the teachers and the students.
According to the Education Digest (2014), many agencies at present are creating more efforts to communicate well and engage more with classroom leaders; schools; parents and students. Of course, a variety of tools is explored to achieve this goal. These tools involve meetings, direct contact, forums and most especially the social media. The Reform Support Network and Survey of State education agencies in the United States have found that 95% of their district and state organizations have plans of using Facebook or Twitter to increase involvement. On the other hand, eight out of ten plan on using YouTube for educational materials and more than half of these educational agencies are currently using blogs (Educational Digest, 2014). For the very reason of reaching a wider audience, universities as well have started to explore the benefits of involving social media in their strategies. Marketing the University for one through the use of social media has opened doors for many universities to reach a large number of potential students. According to Alexandru (2014), because of the fast-paced lifestyle that people are accustomed to, current students have turned out to be quite demanding when it comes to getting answers to their questions. These students want a faster response to their queries that could help them save time, and that could enable them to use their preferred means of communicating. This scenario is the very reason most universities consider using social media for it considers its students as their major shareholders. They want to indulge their students in the fancies of enabling them to maintain connections with their fellow students in their university and to make them feel like they are involved in a community (Alexandru, 2014). Medical education as well has been changed because of social media. According to Sherbino and Frank (2014), one example of an online platform that has changed the ways of traditional medical education is the success of the Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org). The Khan Academy has become a free resource for learning online. Following the model of the Khan Academy, the major ideas are discussed and introduced to students through online social network platforms in advance before their face-to-face classes.
Since social media has a growing capacity all over the web, the media industry has also heightened its reach to produce economical benefits for both consumers and business owners. According to Orsburn (2012), historically, advertising by different companies was only a one-way conversation that lasted only for 30 seconds in the television or radios. In addition to some advertisements, some of these product promotions were sometimes done on newspapers, radios and magazines that had no chance for a two-way dialogue (Orsburn, 2012). Because of social media, different ways have been opened to encourage a two-way dialogue between the company and the consumers. Orsburn (2012) also suggests that social media can produce three outcomes that are sure to deliver three features that may enhance a company’s return on investment. These are customer service, marketing and communication.
Politically, Ahmad and Sheikh (2013) have explored the benefits of having more and more citizens online especially the youth who are more involved in different social media platforms. According to the researchers, the fast development of social media has led to the strengthened reactions of participative and concerned citizens. These engaged citizens as observed by Ahmad and Sheikh (2013), can mobilize the masses to battle the barriers managing the status quo. Also, they can create awareness to fight against the political wrongdoings of those in authority. The social media can also help in reaching a diversified audience in many countries in order to broadcast the many alarming news that are present in the environment. Political groups can also use the social media for their campaigns and promoted issues. Lastly, the social media can give the youth more opportunities to say their concerns in order to challenge the political status quo (Ahmad and Sheikh, 2013).
For its many uses, social media has been found to be very beneficial in enhancing the tourism spectrum of Canada. According to the Canadian Tourism Commission (2013), by leveraging their efforts through the different social media types such as Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, they have inspired travellers to consider Canada. Their goal was to establish the country as one of their “go-to” destinations. The social media has allowed the Commission to build the country's tourism image cost-effectively globally. Social media has enabled the Canadian Tourism Commission to reveal the exact images of how Canadians live their day-to-day lives through different posts in social media. Instagram for one has been very useful in inviting travellers by capturing the different landscapes present in Yukon and Alberta. Through this social media platform, visitors from 93 countries were encouraged to view the Commission’s page. In addition to the visitors from these 93 countries, the Commission’s Instagram page has given 3 million likes and 40 Instagram comments on the ExploreCanada account. Through these efforts to portray the Canadian Society in Social Media, 80% of travellers were found to be planning to visit Canada in the next two years (Canadian Tourism Commission, 2013).The Canadian landscape captured in Instagram has given people all over the world the opportunity to look at Canada from a different angle. Through the social media strategy, many consider Canadian officials as quite involved in the issues of the people. The serene landscape captured by the Canadian Tourism Commission has given the country its genteel image in the world; thus increasing interested tourists from the country.
Through the media industry that people have today, mass communications have become an automated vehicle breaking the barriers of the formerly enclosed environments that we have in the past. The Canadian people have been more and more involved in the different aspects of their lives given the number of people online. Work has become more accessible at home and the availability of distance education has reached the masses through technology. Also, because of its openness Canada for one has reaped the benefits of social media because of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s efforts to showcase the best in the Canadian landscape to increase tourists. With the 64% of Canadian people online, mass communication has become cheaper and has become more accessible to the people. News is distributed easily, educational materials are made available by means of sharing and redistributing in different social media platforms and political parties have discovered a better way of reaching the public themselves. Social media has made communicating to different business moguls and to top politicians easier in a manner that is as comfortable as hitting the button “send.”
Ahmad, K., & Sheikh, K. S. (2013). Social Media and Youth Participatory Politics: A Study of University Students. A Research Journal of South Asian Studies, 28(2), 353-360.
Alexandru, D. (2014). Using social media marketing in higher education. Romanian Journal of Marketing, (1), 77-80.
Canadian Tourism Commission. (2013). Helping Tourism Businesses Prosper. Retrieved from Canadian Tourism Commission website: https://en-corporate.canada.travel/sites/default/files/pdf/Corporate_reports/final_2013_annual_report_en.pdf
Deleuze, G. (1992). Postscript on the Societies of Control. The MIT Press, 59, 3-7.
Deschamps, R., & McNutt, K. (2014). Third Sector and Social Media. Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research, 5(2), 29-46.
Dewing, Michael. (2012). Social media: an introduction. Retrieved from Library of Parliament website: http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/lop/researchpublications/2010-03-e.htm
Education Digest. (2014). Developing Innovative Engagement in Your Community.Education Digest, 80(3), 55-59.
Hardt, M. (1998). The Global Society of Control. Discourse, 3(20), 139-152.
Mandiberg, M. (2012). The social media reader. New York: New York University Press.
Mayfield, A. (2008). What is Social Media? Retrieved from http://www.repromax.com/docs/113/854427515.pdf
McLuhan, M. (1994). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Massachusetts, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Orsburn, E. M. (2012). The social media business equation: Using online connections to grow your bottom line. Australia: Course Technology PTR.
Sherbino, J., & Frank, J. (2014). @SirBill: the power of social media to transform medical education. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 90, 545-546. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2014-132868
Sherpa Marketing. (2012). Canadian Social Media Statistics. Sherpa Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/231976490/Canadian-Social-Media-Statistics-Infographic#scribd
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