This book offers an introduction to communication theory that is appropriate to our post-broadcast, interactive media environment. The author contrasts the 'first media age' of broadcast with the 'second media age' of interactivity. Communication Theory argues that the different kinds of communication dynamics found in cyberspace demand a reassessment of the methodologies used to explore media, as well as new understandings of the concepts of interaction and community (virtual communities and broadcast communities).

Introduction–A Second Media Age?

Introduction–a second media age?

In the last few years … widespread talk of ‘cyberspace’ has brought new attention to the Idea that media research should focus less on the messages and more on communication technologies as types of social environments.

(Meyrowitz, 1999: 51)

In an essay, ‘Learning the Electronic Life’, written just before the ‘widespread talk of cyberspace’ that accompanied the so-called ‘Internet Revolution’ of the 1990s, James Schwoch and Mimi White (1992) set about to describe a typical day's activity for their American family–from waking up, to putting in hours as teachers in the education sector, to trying to relax in the evening.

At first light they relate how they are woken by the baby monitor which links their room to their son's. Next ...

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