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Rooted in a larger diffusion of innovations (DOI) approach that dates back to the early 20th century, media diffusion research first rose to prominence in the 1960s, focusing on media’s role in spreading ideas throughout a given social system. With the proliferation of new communication technologies in recent decades, this work has expanded to include the spread of media technologies themselves, bringing diffusion studies into conversation with an increasingly diverse range of research traditions. This entry examines the history of media diffusion research, the relation between new ideas and new media, communication networks, the adoption of new media technologies, and directions for future media diffusion research.

Diffusion of Innovations

Most accounts of diffusion research place its origins with the work of sociologist Gabriel Tarde. In 1903, Tarde ...

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