TED Conversations

Vanessa S

Student, London School of Economics and Political Science

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What are your ideas for the future of media?

From the first black-and-white TV box, to the latest HD 3D Internet TV technology. From the phonograph cylinder invented by Thomas Edison to the Apple iPhone made famous by Steve Jobs. From static showcased TV programmes, to on-demand and user-generated content. From traditional hardcopy newspapers, to instant-access digital publications.

Our media consumption patterns are continuously changing at an accelerated pace. The advent of the Internet has triggered a radical transformation of the old media principles. We are at a crucial point in time where our input can shape media standards, policy, and the almighty payment method.

How do you think the evolution of media unfold? What will media look like in 10-20 years? How will it be consumed?

What are your ideas for the future of media?


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  • Mar 5 2012: Media is the plural of medium. Although it describes more the vehicle for the content, (such as paper, film, tape, streaming video, etc.), the Fourth Estate have purloined the term to describe the purveyors of "news". The Fourth Estate terminology was apparently said in jest by Edmund Burke to compare the newspapers view of themselves to the existing three estates of the realm in Britain. These were defined as a class or order regarded as forming part of the body politic, one of the three groups constituting Parliament, now the Lords. The three estates are; Spiritual (the heads of the Church), the Lords Temporal (the peerage), and the Commons.

    Blogging, wikis, social networks, personal web pages — in short, the Internet, and more specifically the World Wide Web have added more power to the Commons and made the peerage more accountable. The church is only beginning on this journey.

    The unfortunate thing happening with mainstream media, particularly text, is that crowd mentality has reduced it to the lowest common denominator, in the same way that marketing has removed the consumer from discerning the best attributes of a product for themselves. Psychology and accounting tricks manipulate the consumer.

    I feel that at some point in the next 10-20 years the content will once again triumph over the delivery. TEDtalks already do, as they are of varying length, credibility, research and comprehension level, yet they all are ideas worth spreading, even if just to generate thought and debate.

    In the future quality, quantity, accessibility, price, delivery, ownership, authenticity, timeliness will all be juggled by media magnates as they seek not to inform, not to balance debate, not to publish well researched stories, not to provide well written articles, but to be first, to shock, to grab attention, to gain monopoly and to sell the most copies for the least input.

    Content will be immediate and lower itself to little more than gossip. Be discerning now!

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