From mass communication to new media: a network perspective

Antonio Machuco Rosa


The purpose of this article is to determine the structural form of new online media, with network theory as the main framework of analysis. We argue that this form is a consequence of the shifting of the fixed positions of emission and reception that characterize classical media at a fundamental level. Based on technological, economic, legislative and social aspects, we show that the historical evolution which led to new media may be described by the concept of indifferentiation. This concept characterizes the historical transition between mass media and new media, but also the transition between so called web 1.0 web 2.0. This is a well-known dynamic within the theory of complex systems. Recently, a similar dynamic occurred in the structure of new media. We use these results as a basis to show that the form of new media is identical to that of space of networks, in the sense that this expression is acquired from modern network theory. We then show the social dynamic that determines this form of new media. We conclude that the evolution of new media simultaneously introduces and accelerates a process of social indifferentiation


Classical media • World Wide Web • network theory • power-laws • social networks • social visibility

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