Information trends as a measure of Media maturity

Media maturity would be a measure of how comfortable a society feels with interacting with a particular medium as an information source and as channel to express themselves. Have you ever thought about where you are reading this article? Whether its on printed material or electronic media. If on printed, whether it is in an early morning edition, midday edition, or a weekly magazine.

Similarly on an electronic media, whether it is from a technology site, a blog or emailed newsletter. Why is media maturity important? Well if you are from the marketing profession then you’ll need to know what sort of media delivers to the kind of audience you are looking for. However understanding media maturity for everyone else, does not have a straight forward justification.

One overarching reason: When you interact with media that is not mature your opinions derived may tend to become skewed.Unfortunately there are no clean and simple methods of measuring media maturity. My recommendation would be to triangulate the results of a few different methods .

One method is to find out what the consumers of a particular media are actively seeking through that media. On Printed media look out for the classifieds or types of advertisements, while on electronic media look at search results or key words responses.

A simple result to show you how media maturity differs based on geographic location. A knee jerk interpretation would show that people in India have a higher sexual appetite (yes, we do have a large population but is not a well grounded reason), which is not true. In my opinion this difference shown in the images are based on the fact that electronic media is not mature in India.

I’m sure that those of you who have made this far with my reasoning would have numerous other factors that play into electronic media being not so popular in India.An apt question at this point would be to ask whether other media such as newspaper or television have higher incidence of carnal content at their early stages?

Using media technology as a focal point for discussion, how does media maturity affect media technology. The rather obvious affect for media maturity is the network effect, i.e. a more mature media would entice more people to use that particular media and in turn, the more people that use a particular media, the more is the usefulness of that particular media is to a single person. In other words particular media would more successful (read mature) if it has access to more people, i.e. “touching more people”. Lets take an example of the cell phone. If the cell phone media is not mature then there would be less cell phone users because they would feel that the information they receive through the cell phone is not sufficient or appropriate.

This would stagnate the growth of this media and in turn would reduce the number of people who put ads or write (content generators) and hence reduce the people who read or see these ads (content consumers).Keep in mind this does not affect you calling your friends or family through the cell phone.I guess I should have started this article by saying, “where should phone companies (any media company) look towards when moving up the valuing chain of handling information”

So, is measuring media maturity just about getting the information to a consumer? What about end consumers creating content? Isn’t the whole idea about Web 2.0 for ordinary people being able to share their content to the public? Could we use this as a measure of media maturity?

The second measure for media maturity: The more easy it is to share content on a particular media to the general public the more mature that media is. Would you say that the mobile phones are a mature media in this respect?
The last measure of media maturity that I’d like mention is mass customisation. Though this is debatable, the ability of newer media to customise messages or content more cost efficiently leads to more consumer engagement. So as compared to a regular newspaper article, if this article appeared in your email or mobile phone and started with “Dear Mr , I think this article may interest you because of your interest in IT and media.” I’m sure you will read the article with more interest.

Though mass customisation is based on need for more precision for content generators, it does provide a window into the different types of information that is possible for a particular media to handle.

So what do you take away from this small article? Mine would be: try to look at what others around me (society) are trying to get out of a particular media. If there is a wide variety of information ‘seeking trends’ then the media is a mature one.I eagerly look forward to your interpretations of what media maturity means to you.

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