We communicate, through models.

23 09 2009

How do YOU model communications? That was the question essentially that our group had to take on today. Sure, there are theories about communications but are they correct? Do they always apply, without fail, in describing the communication process between humans?

We attempted to answer these questions not by agreeing with existing communication models, rather crafting our own. What we ended up with was the “Me”dia Model: The Interactive Wheel of Message Processing. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Basically, we approached the task by noting there are differing degrees of audience participation in message delivery. We took into consideration the McHulan’s Hot and Cool Media theory when crafting our model. Therefore, if the “Hot” pie slice in our corresponding diagram represents messages that are devoid of audience influence, “Cold” is totally dependent on that participation. The middle grounds are represented by pink and light blue, respectively. Having established the differing forms of messages, what about the audience, how do we factor in the users? Are they seen as one homogeneous group? The answer is no. However, the audience in our model is emphasizing the singular “ME” hence our model’s title. As a result of the power vested within the individual we had to acknowledge variation in our model. To do this, the model is constructed so that the outer ring is able to rotate. This outer ring consists of four categories: inactive audience, lurkers, creators and responders. The four groupings represents the differing levels of involvement, more specifically interactivity, by the user in relation to the media content itself. This makes sense when looking at the diagram and the “Inactive Media” portion of the outer ring largely encompasses the “Hot” diagram segments. At the same time, the “Cold” media message pie slice lies within the “Creators” section of the outer ring. Whenever the outer ring is spun and stops, the result represents the interconnected relationships among the message types and their levels of interactivity. Is our model perfect? That depends on one’s definition of perfection. Is the model viable in representing communication processes? The answer is yes. Who knows, maybe we are on to something…