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Conceptualizing personal media

Lüders, M. 2008. Conceptualizing personal media. New Media & Society 10, 683–702 (available on-line:, accessed 10 April 2010).
The digitalization and personal use of media technologies have destabilized the traditional dichotomization between mass communication and interpersonal communication, and therefore between mass media and personal media (e.g. mobile phones, email, instant messenger, blogs and photo-sharing services). As private individuals use media technologies to create and share personal expressions through digital networks, previous characteristics of mass media as providers of generally accessible information are no longer accurate. This article may be situated within a medium-theoretical tradition, as it elucidates technical and social dimensions of personal media and revises the distinction between mass media and personal media. A two-dimensional model suggests locating personal media and mass media according to an interactional axis and an institutional/professional axis: personal media are de-institutionalized/de-professionalized and facilitate mediated interaction. The implementation of digital media technologies has important consequences for social networks and fits well within a theoretical discussion of the post-traditional self.

• A useful article which focuses on reviewing existing models (by Luhmann and also Thompson) that distinguish between personal media and mass media in the light of convergence and digitalised media
• Citing Hutchby, amongst others, Lüders argues that it is necessary to “acknowledge the materiality of technology […] without losing sight of the discursive practices through which we understand it.” (p687). She develops a three level model of media that incorporates media technologies such as the internet or the telephone, which allow media forms such as blogs or telephone conversation to develop. For the third level of media genres, she argues that “Media forms with near-naturalized, socially-implemented characteristics at this level constitute points of departure for more specific types of the same media form, that is, the development of different genres.” (p687)
- This is a useful way of looking at the types of media available
• It concludes that there are more overlaps now than before – e.g. a letter was between two people, whereas an email can be strictly symmetrical and interpersonal, or in effect delivered to a mass audience.
• It proposes a model that outlines the continuum that is present – the axes are institutional/professional vs the opposite, and symmetrical/mediated vs asymmetrical/quasi-mediated
• It notes the relevance of a network analysis, in that the types of interaction enabled by media differ and affect the types of communication and potential formation of strong and weak ties.
• It notes the increasing use of personal media forms by the mass media, to generate interest and loyalty amongst the audience. This underlines the increasing blurring between these two areas.

Please note - these are rough notes only, based on a first reading. They may be useful to someone interested in a considered perspective on this paper.
However, these notes do not necessarily represent a final opinion, and are subject to revision in the future.

Trends in New Media Research: A Critical Review of Recent Scholarship

Pavlik, J. V. 2013. Trends in New Media Research: A Critical Review of Recent Scholarship. Sociology Compass 7, 1–12 (available on-line:, accessed 1 February 2013).
Trends in new media research are examined. These trends revolve around four dimensions, including citizen engagement, organizational innovation and adaptation, mobility and content computerization. The following article critically examines this shifting terrain in new media research and its implications for future scholarship.

• Claims to be an overview of some recent research in "new media", but it focuses almost entirely on journalism. As such it has some useful data with regards to readership, advertising spend, decline of newspapers and so on.
• Argues that there may be "a paradigm shift, in the domain of new media" - but this is not carefully argued. This paper mostly presents material from other papers without theoretical or careful critical discussion
• Citizen engagement:
- highlights the Arab Spring and the mobilising potential of new media
- Osama bin Laden and the way in which news breaks very fast on line; "in the networked, mobile, digital 21st century, scoops are almost non-existent, at least for long or for more than a few ?eeting seconds"
- "citizen journalists" (p2) are important, and journalism is changing to adapt to this, e.g. by becoming "curators" (p3)
• Organizational innovation and adaptation
- "alternative ownership structures for established and start-up news organisations." being proposed
- Some evidence that this may be viable e.g. South Korea's OhmyNews
• Content computerization
- This is a better section of the paper, highlighting the role of computers and databases in changing journalism, and tracing this trend back to "computer-assisted journalism" as developed from 1952
- "Locative media is a term that refers to media forms that utilize geographically tagged or encoded content"(p4) - being used more, e.g. by - "not so much storytelling as fact reporting" (p5)
- Diakopoulos - highlighting data-mining as the future of journalism; Berners-Lee (2010) - "Data-driven journalism is the future"
• Mobile augmented reality and journalism
- Also an interesting section, though somewhat narrowly focused on journalism and ignoring other aspects of augemented reality
- Noting how "'Most of the innovation is happening outside news organisations' (Bocskowski 2004; Bradshaw 2010)" (p7)
- NYT's paywall introduced in 2011 has become a standard
- p8: various statistics on state of news industry in USA
- Growth of "Hyperlocal web sites [which] serve principally local residents, and tend to be produced by local reporters or residents" (p9)
• Overall, useful for some up to date data on the USA news industry and new media. Poorly edited with typos and grammatical mistakes.

Please note - these are rough notes only, based on a first reading. They may be useful to someone interested in an alternative perspective on this paper.
However, these notes do not necessarily represent a final opinion, and are subject to revision in the future.