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In this section we review the evolution of mass media. We will also compare the roles of different media and types of power exerted on society.



Time to reach 100 million users worldwide
According to the Boston Consulting Group[1], the time to reach 100 million users for the following technologies is reported as follows (with the year of launch shown in brackets):

  • Telephone: 75 years (1878)
  • Mobile phone: 16 years (1979)
  • World Wide Web: 7 years (1990)
  • Facebook: 4 years and 6 months (2004)
  • WhatsApp: 3 years and 4 months (2009)
  • Candy Crush Saga: 1 year and 3 months (2012).

They also report that for every 100 people in the world, there are:

  • 95 mobile subscriptions
  • 40 internet users
  • 32 active broadband subscriptions
  • 25 social media users.


Evolution of media and power dynamics

Consider the following questions:

  1. What roles do different types of media perform in society?
  2. What forms of power are exerted through different types of media over time? (That is, economic power, political power, military power and symbolic power.)


Construct a table with columns for media type, roles and power example and complete for two media types. See for example table below:

Media Role(s) Power examples
Printed book (invention of movable type) Educational and informational Political power exerted by Catholic Church by introducing censorship in 1487 requiring church authorities to approve all books before publication, for example forbidding printing of the Bible in any other language than Latin.
Political and cultural power exerted during the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther insisting that people should be able to read the Bible in their own language.

Share one interesting example you found by posting a comment on WENotes, for example:

  • <Insert media type> exerted / exerts <insert type of power> evidenced, for example by …

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  1. Dreischmeier, R., Close, K., and Trichet, P. (2015) The Digital Imperative. Boston Consulting Group