Media in the digital age


Media has always been one of the most powerful ways to influence the masses. Even with regard to Hitler’s days, his use of media to consolidate his power was very effective. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get away from the media, whether it be radio, newspaper, television, social networks or advertisements on bus stops. Media combined with the digital age is somewhat of a phenomenon, there has never been a time when media could be shared at such unprecedented levels. As of 2013 there was 757 million daily users on Facebook (Protalinski,2014). Media is one of the main means of mass communication, social outlets like Twitter and Facebook allow for this mass communication to flourish in the digital age.

I think one of the best ways to look at media and how it has developed in the digital age is to take a look at its past. Take Stalin in the 1930’s, he developed a cult of personality through the use of mass media, to consolidate his power. His propaganda regimes were initiated through the use of mass media (Borade,2014). Similarly, Hitler used a great deal of mass media to gain support for his Nazi Party and to infiltrate German society, brainwashing the masses, through radio and loud speakers. He even appointed a propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who was in charge of radio, theatre, cinema, anything that influenced the masses, and ultimately secured the continuity of the Nazi Party. In some ways the use of media in those totalitarian states can be linked with media today in the digital world.

We are constantly “consumers”, even without knowing it. We are being virtually followed on our phones and laptops, to find out our interests, what we look up, what we buy, what companies we’re liking or retweeting. Advertisements and “deals of the week” are thrown at us everywhere we go. We are constantly being updated on the latest political scandal, celebrity pregnancies, stock exchanges, what the government want us to know. What ‘gives’ us cancer?, what ‘doesn’t give’ us cancer?, what to eat , what not to eat, “you should avoid carbs, not sugar, actually we change our mind, no sugar”. It’s okay though, because we will listen to them, we tend to trust the media, and it has never been easier for the media to influence the masses in the digital age.

If you take boybands as an example, in recent years the power of digital media has enabled Boybands like One Direction to have such a broad fan base so early on in their career. Having done no promotions in places like Japan, the power of social media enabled them to perform to thousands of Japanese fans on their first visit in 2013(they played to 120,000 this year in Japan).They have played to thousands in Indonesia and Dubai, places the Beatles did not even play. Since The Beatles were most prominent in the sixties, they did not have the power of digital media that these newer bands have. Media is no longer confined to radio and newspapers –the combination of the digital age and media is revolutionary in itself, the power it has over public opinion and society is growing rapidly.

Since the digital world has developed into a ubiquitous source of news and information, the question arises of the long term viability of printed newspaper. Will more traditional forms of media still remain reputable in the near future? Or will digital media continue to grow and influence the masses?



-Borade, G. (2014), Stalinism and the Use of Propaganda by Joseph Stalin, url : Accessed on the 29th of October 2015

-Marshall, J. (2015), Digital Media Consumption Is Booming as Investment Floods In, url : Accessed on the 29th of October 2015

-Protalinski, E. (2014), Facebook passes 1.23 billion monthly active users, 945 million mobile users, and 757 million daily users, url : Accessed on the 29th of October 2015

-Picture - Accessed on the 29th of October 2015

Emoticons and our emotions

emojis oct

Over the years there have been many abbreviations within the English language, “for example” to “eg”,” post scriptum” to “PS” and of course you have the introduction of text talk abbreviations, don’t feel like typing see you soon,”cya” should suffice. In the digital age we live in we are constantly looking for short cuts to our exsisting short cuts. We want everything at the tip of our fingertips, so the idea of little icons to express our emotions is very appealing .The first emoticon (which represented facial expressions using various keys on a keyboard) was said to have been used in 1982 but since then advancements have been made and Emojis (a small digital icon) were introduced. Emojis are universal and can be understood by all languages. Even Hermann Melville’s classic, Moby Dick has been translated into an emoji version entitled Emoji Dick (Robb,2014).

I think I would be an occasional emoji/emoticon user, I do feel as if they have added another dimension to the written word. I mainly use them to express an emotion, happiness, excitement, anticipation, fear, everything is covered. Emojis are also integrated into the keyboards on iPhones, which is nearly suggesting all your texts or interactions should include these friendly digital icons. It is then made even easier for the user by having your recently used emojis pop up (some of mine include, the laughing crying face, the smug smirking face, the salsa dancer and the unamused face).So, my phone is telling me these are the top emotions that I have shared with people (or have sent to myself), although in person I was not nearly half as expressive. Take the crying laughing face for example, I use this around five times a day, and I am probably not “crying laughing”, at most, I might have sniggered.

It got me thinking, if over-exaggerating our emotions could affect our interactions and how we express and interpret emotion in real life, how serious should a winking face be taken ;)? Why is there three variations of the tongue face, a winking one, a closed eye one and an open eye one, should I be offended if I receive the closed eye version? I am confused, this would be a perfect opportunity to use the ‘speak-no-evil’ monkey emoji, but maybe someone else would use the ‘see-no-evil’ monkey. Do we feel, perhaps a bit disappointed talking to someone in person who is much more flamboyant and exciting using emoticons/emojis (are we setting people’s level of emotional engagement too high?). Having read an article in relation to emojis and our emotions, I found it interesting when they made a point about the gender divide in relation to emoji usage, based on the ideology that females are more emotional, they tend to use more emoticons(Robb,2014).

There is also the fear that we may not value physical emotion as much as we would have, could this hinder our ability to develop psychologically by not being able to express our emotions properly in real life. Since we are living in a constant virtual reality, it is not that absurd to think of these possibilities in relation to emoticons/emojis and their usage. Since we seem to be throwing happy, sad, angry, confused, crying, frightened icons around, there may come a time when we fail to recognise real emotion if it is not expressed digitally. Of course, these are all possibilities, I would be very interested in researching further into this idea.

Niamh x


Bartlett, Q. (N/A), Emoticons, a Return to “Hieroglyphics”?, url: Accessed on the 26th of October 2015

Marsden, R. (2013), More than words: Are ’emoji’ dumbing us down or enriching our communications?, url: Accessed on the 26th of October 2015

Robb, A. (2014), How Using Emoji Makes Us Less Emotional, url: Accessed on the 26th of October 2015

Seiter, C. (2015), The psychology of emojis, url: Accessed on the 26th of October 2015

Picture: Accessed on the 26th of October 2015

My critical response to #openness


Open access proves to be an extremely controversial topic on many discussion and social media platforms. The idea of openness can be interpreted in various different ways. I was interested to find out my peers’ opinions on this particular topic and more importantly compare them with my own views surrounding open access and the whole idea of knowledge being openly shared. I wasn’t particularly surprised to see that my attitude towards openness was similar to my classmates’. The general consensus was that knowledge should not be available on a restricted basis, or only available to those willing to pay. It shouldn’t be concealed. It was interesting to see people’s different ways of viewing openness, some visualising it as a tangible concept, like a “box” of knowledge, others considering it more as an intangible concept, it is merely information floating around.

It is not until I have come to college that I have started to properly appreciate the importance of other people’s research, how it can be retrieved and how much it costs to get your hands on it. While researching for my assignment for my minor Arts subject I have come across obstacles regarding open access, I have come across a handful of academic articles that meet the specifications of my essay title, but are only available to me (a student who is contributing to this country) for a small fee of 180 euro. I will probably never get my hands on these particular articles, I’m not that upset. However for someone in the medical or scientific field, an article that proves challenging to access could make or break a potential medical advance or scientific discovery. From observing the various “twessays” surrounding openness, the general consensus is that putting a restriction on peer reviewed academic articles or research, inhibits one’s ability to acquire knowledge.

Not only could open access benefit those looking for information but it could also benefit university libraries economically, by not having to purchase subscriptions to as many academic journals. The prices of journals have been described as unsustainable and untenable (Suber,2012).Journal prices are inflating and the average academic library budget cannot handle the financial demands of such journals .Can library budgets meet the increasing cost of journal subscriptions without some form of open access being introduced?(Worlock,2004).

There is also the debate that open access journals (as opposed to costly subscription journals) would undermine important values such as editorial quality (Van Noorden, 2013).The question also arises whether expensive, reputable journals can survive in an open access world. Students are not just seeking out open access research, but research that has been peer-reviewed, this proves to be of huge importance in the science and medical fields. I feel like the most important thing in regards to open access is not just to have a huge quantity of information accessible, but also to have quality information that can be accessed on an unrestricted basis.

In regards to the “twessays” and their content, the topic surrounding the quality of open access such as editing and reviewing was not explored. Open access has its limitations, however the proposed benefits of open access outweigh these limitations. I felt like the benefits surrounding openness were only explored and the limitations were not touched on. You have problems regarding sustainability, quality control and publication fees. However the various benefits of open access which were explored in the “twessays” included the idea of knowledge for all, increased readership and more possibilities for those in third world countries. I was not surprised to find that my viewpoint in regards to openness was similar to my classmates’ opinions. I really enjoyed @jadwiga_98’s idea of openness being a box,and the information inside to be shared on an unrestricted (2)

I also enjoyed @deebrady_dh’s focus on inspiring creativity through open access.

photo (1)

“The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it.”- Aaron Swartz


Suber,Peter (2012),Opening Access to Research,url:

Van Noorden,Richard (2013),Open access: The true cost of science publishing,url:

Worlock,Kate (2004), The pros and cons of Open access,url:

The Internets Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,url:

Moravec,Michelle,Writing in Public,url:

Swartz,Aaron (2008), Guerilla Open Access Manifesto,url: