The media may simply refer to tools of modern communication. In the past the media was less developed and communication was so limited. With the various technological advances, the media developed and made it possible for people to share social, economic and political information from different parts of the world. By so doing, it reduced the world into a global village. Brian Winston gives an explanation of how the media was born and how it developed over time to be what it is today. However, his explanation has attracted so many critics who have found that whatever he advocates for is contrary to the common belief.
Brian says that technologies are not neutral. They actually embody ideas, imaginations, needs and possibilities from specific places and periods. From this, one can easily infer that the technologies that we have today have been developed so that they can advocate the beliefs of a few individuals at the expense of others. It seems that the media has its own selfish interests that it is out to pursue without necessarily considering the entire public. The media does not therefore report facts as they are since doing so might make it loose sponsorship from the moles who sponsor them so that they can advocate what they want. They end up being biased unnecessarily (Winston 1998).
It provides solutions to specific problems. However, the solution that they provide is not the only solution and there might be even better solution than the one it has provided, Brian seems to be arguing that the solution that they provide may not be the best since they have their own interests to consider and fulfill. They propose solutions that they know will benefit them even though the recursions of the proposed solution might adversely affect the society. People should therefore take time to examine their own unique problems and find the best solution for the problem knowing that there are so many social, economic and political differences among societies.
Technology can actually be used to define the various historical periods; Iron Age, industrial age and the postindustrial society. Technologies have a number of histories. The Issue about technology has been very controversial and many different accounts try to explain the technological changes. Winston explores the various theories that account for the change in technology. He says that technological changes have been due to causality; one phenomenon is automatically followed by another. The changes have been due to the cultural advancements that have taken place in various societies. As culture gain strength, there was need for technology to advance so that it could keep pace with the rapidly changing cultures and actually help in spreading it to various people. The media for instance is to benefit the society. If it is still advocating for cultures that are long outdated it will have no meaning to the present society. Due to this, technology had to advance bringing about so many other forms of social media.
Media technologies developed through their own momentum (Marris 2000). It gained this momentum from an inevitable logic of its own. This account holds that the media developed independently without the influence of any external force to become what it is today. However, this seems not to hold the waters for it is very hard for anything to just develop independently. It is believed that there must be a force behind any development. The media does not exist in a world of isolation and therefore there must be a force behind its development. It is the development of the media that brought about other technological changes. Changes in the media were therefore the first step in technological changes that took place.
The other approach argues that social and economic factors are the main factors that block or support utilization of technologies (Marris 2000). Social and economic forces determine whether technology will develop or not. When these forces make use of technologies, the technology will develop. The forces offer moral and financial support to technology. When the technology is not utilized in the social and political arena, it will definitely perish. This raises the question of whose interests does the media pursue and what social and economic losses or benefits accrue from the various technological advancements. The media is supposed to pursue the interests of the public but this has not always been the case. It is being manipulated by various authorities so that it can pursue their interests for their own benefits.
Technological determinism is a very powerful. It is now a large orthodox view of nature of social change. Through an internal process of research and development, new technologies are discovered. Technology was seeking to acquire power or strength. This then sets the conditions for social progress and change. Progress is how the inventions created the current world while the inventions were the simply acts performed by technologists and scientists. One good example of a media that developed in this manner is the cinema. It simply utilizes the idea of projection. Della Porta came up with idea but used very simple tools (Winston 1998). Later Germans developed the projector. It was therefore the refinement of Della’s idea that brought about cinemas that are currently used as a means of communication in various parts of the world.
The media should address the issues that face the society. However, this has not always been the case. Some people have used it to maliciously pursue their own interests at the expense of those of the public. The development of the media is still not clear as some argue that it developed independently as it tried to gain prowess while others will argue that it developed due to the social cultural changes. However, the society constantly conditions technological changes. It is therefore evident that the media is a force within the society’s control and it should act for the best interests of the society. It is the social contest that determines the content of communication forms. Since the society contributes to the de3velopment of the media, the media should also contribute to societal development.
Marris, P., & Thornham, S. (2000). Media studies: A reader. New York University Press, Washington Square, New York.
Winston, B., & Winston, B. (1998). Media technology and society: A history : from the telegraph to the Internet. London: Routledge.