Do consumers shape media spaces or do they shape consumers. Discuss this notion alongside the concept of mobile lives.
Nowadays, media spaces play an increasingly important role in shaping consumers in the digital age with the rapid development of media and advanced science and technology. This paper includes an exploration of how media space shape consumers in a modern way of life which is called mobile live. Technological revolution has hit the media industry in the world. During the past decade, the form of media has changed a lot. It is no longer confined to the traditional media like television and newspapers just unilateral transmit message to the public. The rise of new media provides the multiple media forms and the fast growing of media space. It is an undeniable fact that the advent of the mobile phone is a turning point for the development of media space. Especially media space brings a huge impact on the attitude or behavior of consumers, when mobile technologies and digital create a new kind of mobile life.
Media spaces and the concept of mobile live
Media spaces define new methods of communication, with novel and unforeseen uses and potentialities. Communication through a media space is more than an approximation of face-to-face communication — it has a richness and complexity all its own. Media is the most significant element of the information transmission. Media spaces can be seen as information spaces which can unlimited expansion. Media spaces including material spaces that shaped by traditional media and material conditions like schools, libraries, homes and so on, and also including the virtual spaces that shaped by multiple digital media forms. Nevertheless, traditional media were not meeting consumers’s need any more. Now the media space mainly developed by the virtual cyberspaces. Media spaces are established on the interactive connection between public and information of the new media. Electronic settings in which groups of people can work together, even when they are not present in the same place and time. In a media space, people can create real-time visual and acoustic environments that span physically separate areas (Stults 1986). In some ways, media spaces make people have new understanding toward time and space, which can across the distance between time and space. In the new media age, media more like a carrier in the virtual spaces to transmit information to the public. In fact, the virtual cyberspaces shapes the everyday life of people and real life with the mobile lives more than the traditional media in material spaces.
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According to Urry and Sheller (2003) “All forms of communication have been reconfigured by new technologies and the new spatio-temporal patterns of social life through which they are made effective.” Discuss the concept of mobile lives with media spaces, the development of mobile technologies influenced spatial and temporal distance and the boundary of private space and public space to create a new mobile life. Mobile lives are built on the advent of mobile phone, laptops or other latest digital technologies. Then the advent of wireless networks also pushed the development of networks and mobile technologies forward greatly. The good thing is Wi-Fi make computers no longer need to rely on cable broadband network and the phones also no longer need to spend lots of cost to supply network. Consumers are able to use the Internet become more convenient on the mobile phone and laptops because of Wi-Fi. Technology is implied as bringing modernity to any place and to anyone, no matter how remote, serving as an equalizer of opportunities in an emerging and peaceful global civil society (Caletrío 2012). In the digital mobile lives, the places have no longer as a reason to limit the use or search of the information in media spaces to public, whether you are at home, at school or on the way. Also people can get everything they want from the Internet in the current era of big data. Mobile technologies more yield the greatest effects on investment with the Internet.
How media spaces shape consumers
Mobile technologies have an intimate relationship with media spaces in everyday life. People can consider every smart phone as a media space and every smart phone has a consumer to some extent. Nowadays, it is incredible that how fast the messages transmit to consumers with cyberspaces.
1.0 Advertising and consumer behaviors
Advertising is an indispensable part of media space, which is a propaganda to constantly transmit the messages to the public. Generally, advertising will impact or even change the behavior and attitude of consumers for the products or brands. Many consumers can feel that advertising is ubiquitous to occupy their space any time and anywhere, whether while they using any social Apps at home, play mobile games on the ways or surfacing the websites in working places. Although maybe sometimes you just ignore the advertising when you saw them. Nevertheless, advertising is the most important element to shape consumers in media spaces.
1.1 The encoding and decoding theory of Stuart Hall
Stuart Hall is a sociologist and pioneer in the field of cultural studies whose work explored the concept of Britishness. Some people address him “godfather of multiculturalism”respectfully. In his notion of a mass communication theory – Encoding and Decoding, encoding is the process of creating a meaningful message according to a particular code, while decoding is the process of using a code to decipher a message and formulate meaning (Brian & Robert 2014). Hall define that encoder is the sender that can be seen as producer and the decoder is the receiver that can be seen as consumer. Every consumer maybe will have the different thinking with the same message which send from the same producer.
According to Hall (1980) “The process in terms of a structure produced and sustained through the articulation of linked but distinctive moments – production, circulation, distribution/consumption, reproduction ”. This theory is appropriate for advertising. The occur of an advertising is able to shape the behavior of consumers. H&M can be a good example to explain it. Production is the first step to create the advertising for the public. H&M company start using many super model over the world to advertise their new style products in the world market, such as world-famous Chinese model Liu Wen.
Circulation is how people receive the message. H&M put the advertising on subway, Internet, television, billboards and many other media places to communicate the consumers. Also H&M company will release some information about the new style products on the social media. The H&M ads spread across the world market via those advertisements.
And for distribution and consumption, individuals will have different understanding for the same information or advertisement. Hall suggested three hypothetical interpretative codes or positions for the reader of a text (Chandler 2014). Dominant readings are produced by those whose social situation favours the preferred reading. Negotiated readings are produced by those who inflect the preferred reading to take account of their social position. Oppositional readings are produced by those whose social position puts them into direct conflict with the preferred reading (Northumbria university n.d.). Linked to the example of H&M, dominant is that some consumers will have interested in those H&M new products and have a strong desire to buy them. Negotiated is that some consumers will maybe think those new products are looking good, but they should consider the price and if they have free time to shopping. And oppositional is that maybe some consumers will hate the design of those new product and they do not want to buy them.
The last step is reproduction which is about the consumer’s action after they receive the message. Reproduction for H&M is their advertising related to the sale of new products that decide consumers will take action to go to store browse and purchase or not. Consequently, this theory is described how advertising impact consumers behavior step by step.
1.2 Consumer capitalism
Moreover, consumer capitalism is also an essential factor why advertising can affect the consumer behavior. Most commonly, consumer capitalism refers to the idea that consumption drives the capitalist economy through corporate manipulation of the consumer to purchase (and continue purchasing) material goods. The entire consumer capitalist framework is predicated on the idea that the value of a product is determined by the desire of the individual, regardless of the actual need of the product (Schrader n.d.). Propaganda means of Apple Inc is a very successful case as consumer capitalism. Apple enhanced their awareness through bombard users with advertising and word of mouth. It is made consumers believe the products of Apple are representing the top-class electronic products and top digital technologies. Apple succeed to lead a spending spree over the world to buy their IPhone, IPod and Macbook because of the consumer capitalism. Apple let most consumers believe that if you are use Apple’s products, you are the most fashionable people. It is certain that always media lead fashion instead of consumers lead fashion.
1.3 Dual coding theory
Dual coding refers to information retained as conjoined being and words. This creates a stronger impression upon the reader of such information (Northumbria university n.d.). Generally for most people a product has images and slogans simultaneously are more help consumers to remember. For instance, the biggest Chinese micro-blogging Weibo typically use the dual coding theory. Every time if you close the app in the background on the phone, you will see the image and slogan of Weibo when you reopen this app. The image of Weibo is a icon represent people’s eyes and the slogan of Weibo translate to English is “find something new anytime and anywhere”. Although there are thousands of Apps on the smart phone now. But not too much Apps trying to do this. Weibo use the creative image and slogan simultaneously can catch up some consumers attention to some extent.
2.0 Mobile Lifestyle
In the digital age, today’s society have already emerged a mobile life in the world. Most people even cannot imagine a life without mobile and the Internet.
In the Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) conducts annual surveys and interviews in 2008, a student respondent illustrated the broader trends borne out of the data: “I don’t look at it as ‘getting on the Internet.’ The Internet is a part of life. It’s a lifestyle”. Mobile lifestyle influences the everyday life of consumers in many ways in media spaces.
Media spaces have great influences to the interpersonal relationship. Particularly the mobile media spaces totally change the development of relationships between people. The interpersonal relationship can better develop and communicate through multiple media forms for mobile lifestyle, such as social media, email, phone call, SMS, video call and so on. It makes you keep in touch with your friends have no more need of face-to-face communication. Facebook always let you find some people who you have long time no see or long lost, even you can find your primary school classmates. It is good that Facebook build a more close connection with you and your friends or just people we know. Also the new media create many new interpersonal relationship. Some people are trying to date online, some people maybe have many online friend but never meet. Now the human relationships become more diversification because of media space.
2.2 Globalized Communication ways
The advanced mobile technologies make the media spaces coming to globalization, which is a goal traditional media cannot accomplish. The almost all functions that consumers’ needs have included in a smart phone. Because media space is no longer have the distance of time and space, and the media communication ways remove the restriction of the region.
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For consumers, they can communicate everywhere over the world. Undoubtedly, media space is a space without borders that similar to the theory of cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism is a western notion that epitomizes the need social agents have to conceive of a political and cultural entity, larger than their own homeland, that would encompass all human beings on a global scale. The Internet has brought about the possibility of a transnational imagined virtual community: a decentered cosmopolitan crowd, synchronized by cyberspace, interacting on real-time, and engaging in global commercial, cultural and political exchanges (Ribeiro 2001). If media spaces combine with the theory of cosmopolitanism, It will be different with the reality space that every consumer is equal and there is no nationality, regional or social class limitations. For instance, consumers of smart phone can use multiple social media to connect with the people in almost any countries in the world if they want. The latest figures from Facebook suggest that the number of people actively using social media each month has now passed the 2 billion mark over the world (Kemp 2014). Those social media support a huge number of globalized social media users to exchange and transmit the information in media spaces.
Furthermore, languages no longer be the biggest barrier of communication if you go to an unfamiliar environment with different language. The use of translation software is a good global communication ways. There was a report said an elderly Chinese couple, which cannot understand and say English, immigrate to Canada. They nearly have not felt any communication barriers. Because they said if they have some troubles when they going out, they always use the translation software to communicate with local people. It is a great example that the communication of consumers getting more simple and easy under the digital media space influences.
2.3 Online Shopping and Travel
Online shopping also is a main activity for consumers in media spaces. The total monthly amount of trade on the large shopping website like Amazon, Ebay and Taobao is an incredible number cannot imagined. Consumers can buy everything you want in those shopping website whether clothes or any electronic products, new or old. Online shopping satisfies whatever needs of consumers. Sometimes It is spend too much time and cost shopping in the shopping mall. Online shopping is cheaper and fast than go window shopping. Online shopping has become a habit for many consumers and maybe it will become the mainstream way for consumption.
In additions, the mobile lifestyle of consumers cannot be without travel.For many consumers, travel is a way to enjoy life. Media spaces make traveling more and more easy because of mobile lifestyle. Today travelers can finish it just use the computers or smart phone at home. Some traveling websites not only have traveling party services, but also provide the reservation for air tickets, railway tickets and hotel accommodation. And almost every airline has their own official website and official App to allow people booking online. Also if you use the smart phone, you can find many apps are providing travel strategies for each country. Media spaces offer lots of convenience for consumers.
3.0 Thoughts of consumers
3.1 Celebrity effects
Companies usually use the media to shape the thoughts of consumers to achieve their goals. Celebrity effects are famous marketing tools in media spaces, which companies use the social influence of celebrity to promote their popularity and brand awareness. Celebrities also have an effect on the charity events and public service advertising. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a successful example take advantage of celebrity effects in 2014. This example can describe through the mass communication model of Lasswell. Lasswell was a well-known American political scientist and communications theorist. Lasswell’s model, one of the first communication models, is summed up in five questions: Who, Says what, In which Channel, To Whom, With what effect.
Who: the person who formulates the message
What: the content of the message
Channel: the medium by which the message is being communicated
Whom: the person or persons who receive the message
Effect: the outcome of the message.
The initiator of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates who is a disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient.
The content is this activity is ALS Ice Bucket Challenge promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. The rules of the Ice Bucket Challenge are either donate $100 to an ALS charity, or dump a bucket of ice water on your head or both. After, you can challenge a few people to join in too (Lecher 2014). For in which channel, Pete Frates post the video first and it through the social media spreed very rapidly. Then many world-famous celebrities, athletes, and tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg, Kobe Bryant, Taylor Swift and even President Obama all taking part in this activity to post their video on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter or donate the money for the ALS association. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is reported by various media forms and lots of countries. This activity became globalization and had a huge impact that the receivers are the people around the world. The outcome of this challenge is raising millions of dollars and let many people pay attention to the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Baudrillard believed that a contemporary society, founded on media and technology, would see the spaces of imagery and reality merge. What follows is a world where the real is not layered with the imaginary. Rather that the world becomes a ‘simulation’ of imagery where the world favours the ‘more real, than real’ (Northumbia university n.d.). Media images, the Internet, online games, mobile games and virtual spaces are taking people usually spend time communicating with a hyper-real world. Many online games and mobile games use hyperreality enable people to be the characters they want to be. When consumers see the world through media spaces under the screen, they usually integrate the real world with the hyper-real world in their mind. Advertising sells the public through strong, desirable images, and many consumers buy into the brand’s point of view and products. The objective of hyperreality in the media is to shape the thoughts of consumers.
In conclusions, this paper explored that how media spaces shape consumers in mobile lives. Some theories show that advertising is constantly transmit the new information to consumers for shaping their behaviors and attitudes of consumption. Also the thoughts of consumers will influenced by the media. Definitely, media spaces changed the lifestyle of people. The exchange between people through mobilities become more and more fast and simple. And consumers have new lifestyles like online shopping and online dating. The rise of an intensively mobile society reshapes the self – its everyday activities, interpersonal relations with others, as well as connections with the wider world (Elliott&Urry 2010). Media spaces always express as different forms all around us, make people feel like being a part of them, and mixed itself with social realities. In the future, media spaces will sustainable growth and keep playing the significant role to shape consumers in the society.
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