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The Concept of Time & Space for Media Platforms

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Sociology Assignment
Lloyd John Philip Bonello – 9 January 2018

Sociology is the study of human interaction and social change, how groups and individual people cope with life. With the evolution and increase in popularity of the internet, a social shift in how humans interact and communicate with each other has developed at an increasingly fast pace, with online human interaction being established through media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The general concept behind the use of social media platforms was to model communication between people (sociology) with the use of a medium (technology) other than face-to-face. Conversing through online platforms in the public eye has made the involvement between inner circles and outside parties possible. This purpose has changed over time, creating other reasons to partake in social mediums, such as advertising, video & photo sharing as well as conference calls and location sharing.

The benefit of social media is the fact that it allows people to communicate with others in the comfort of our own lifestyle by using the internet. Social media has created a world that mirrors the culture of immediacy in our society which allows the public to solve problems at an increasingly fast rate making communication much more effective. Technology, although very important for the two way communication system, only serves as a connector which supports and allows users to connect with others in a very personal and compelling way, with the use of conversation which only used to be possible on a physical human interaction level.
The Relationship Between Sociology & Technology
Sociology is “The science of human society.” The main attributes with regard to technology found in the sociological are human roots, organisational skills and the development of society. Society has benefited greatly in achieving objectives with the advancements and increase in information which technology has introduced over the years and upcoming future. Relationships are a major aspect of completing or reaching a goal. In the current day an age, people are seen to be communicating at an increased level due to the advances in extremely sophisticated technological systems. Users can now interact with a broad number of communication possibilities, and in some cases, extremely creative ways of interactions are visible. The essence of connecting through any medium, being online on face-to-face interactions, cannot be possible without some sort of relationship between a minimum of two humans.
Sociology & Human Interaction
With the forever increasing number of users socialising on the web, it is noticeable how highly influential social media has become. Socialising, within our race is an essential requirement in our society. Communication is a major source of pleasure and satisfaction. The lack of human interaction would result in poor quality and efficiency of life. Engaging in today’s social sites has greatly impacted the way people converse with each using this networking experience which very often effects life and business decisions.The influential aspect of humans should be greatly recognised as well as appreciated by users within a social community. Without this influential structure, the interaction would lack experience. Studies have shown that behaviour in the conscious and subconscious mind has dramatically increased with the involvement of social networking. The undeniable fact is, humans are emotionally dependent, many share qualities, both positive and negative.
Success or Failure 
 The link between human behaviour and technology is critical to the success of any media i.e. A government-imposed restriction on its population to access such media sites, would result in a break down in the link. Therefore, it would be irrational to blame a technological system if a fault had to occur. These responsibilities will always lie within the user. Complying with this statement, when everything runs accordingly, again the user should be the ones who deserve the credit. Therefore any innovation within the social media sector is only as good as its popularity.
Live or Recorded Media
Media can be represented in either a live manner or that of a recorded one. The definition of live media is the means of interacting with other humans, face-to-face i.e. Meeting up with friends, family or co-workers. All users must be present at the same time and place for a ‘live’ event to occur. Other examples of this media type could be seen when a person is physically at an event i.e. Football game. In some cases live events are important. For instance, an office job works better when creational periods are involved, making it much easier for customers and employees to increase their trust between each other. Once an event has occurred, it can only be remembered, but not repeated, this is called being transient. There is a strong quality and effectiveness of a live event, although such an event can be recorded, it will never have the same experience or users as the real deal.

On the other hand, recorded media are permanently available to the possessor i.e. Dropbox for documentation, CCTV recordings, and many other media-related recordings. The main properties of recorded media is that people can access the same material as others at the convenience of their  own time and space. This can also be accessed an unlimited number of times.

Synchronous or asynchronous
Similar to live media, the concept of synchronous technologies allows all users to communicate with each other at the same instance but not necessarily in the same space i.e. place.  Technology is the medium of which synchronous learning is available. This virtually created the image of the space for users to take part ‘live’, without actually having everyone in the same place. Media platforms such as Facebook and Skype are types of this media which allows distributors to broadcast ‘live’, but not while everyone is present.

Asynchronous technologies unlike those of synchronous, encourages users to connect with different media types at different instances. YouTube videos, E-learning platforms, and online discussion forums are all types of asynchronous media. Any user can log onto the desired service and access the recording of choice at any time and place which the user chooses.
Why does this matter?
Communicating and accessing data through online platforms when and where suits the user best is seen to benefit today’s hectic society. It offers more control and flexibility to everyone’s day to day life. Studies have confirmed that users participating in online materials are functioning on a more advanced level compared to those users who aren’t, due to accessing material at any time or place, for as long as it is required. (Means et al., 2010).

In recent research, students have been noted to prefer listening to recorded music rather than tuning in to live radio broadcasts. (Grundin, 2018), (Bates, 1981). This study continues by presenting the benefits of recorded media, as a user has more control over the media at hand to improve the flexibility of the participant i.e pausing and replaying. The user acquired more knowledge from visual recordings which included text and graphics, rather than listening to only audio recordings. Students attention and success rate during a class where they were encouraged to interact and become part of the lesson was found to be an improvement when compared to a class where students were simply lectured to. (Durbridge, 1983).

Necessary changes need to be taken into consideration when scaling from  the two different media technologies. Therefore, although the benefits in recorded media lectures are limitless, with an increase in flexibility and accessibility, educational aspects would benefit more if teaching material were altered to meed the requirements of asynchronous media i.e built-in activities during lectures such as feedback, pauses for research or extra reading.

Although the dominant paradigm is still streaming live footage, being able to access asynchronous media from a recorded broadcast is one of the most valued changes in the history of media. As discussed previously, there are plenty of benefits in live media, but, in order to make full use of their unique advantages, the user needs to access them in a more selective and structural manner.
The Introduction of Media In Malta
In the 1980s, Malta, along with other international countries took part in a media project. This study required context, and other influential material to be able to introduce media education around the islands. The two deciding factors for Malta to be amongst the educational network where to be in aware of church decision makers as well as the political influence at the time. National broadcasting was introduces in 1981 with a major sector devoted to Government propaganda as well as the Catholic Church. Printable media such as newspapers and magazines where also heavily accepted by the public. These documents where filled with political influenced information from opposing sides.

The definite between political parties created a distinct division in Malta’s society. Due to this separation, media users were inclined to listen to and believe they’re preferred politically influenced station. In view of this, the introduction of media education into schools came about, as to inform the public and resist the political manipulation. Media education in Maltese Church schools hadn’t been thought of until 1980, while other countries started adapting to media knowledge from as early as 1963. (Inter Mirifica, 1963). In relation to this, enthusiastic church members collaborated with UNDA in order to advance this striking media situation. Four church schools were assessed on an experimental basis. This number soon increased to twenty-seven, just five years after the experimental period. (Borg and Lauri, 1994). 
Advances in The Way Media is Now Presented
Advances in media have benefited society in an array of possibilities one of which is ‘Media on Demand’. This is an asynchronous way of accessing media, which offers to the user to instantly access any source of media wherever and whenever they please rather than tuning in at broadcasting times i.e the TVM ‘on Demand’ section, where newscasts are presented for the public to catch up on missed information. Another form of asynchronous technology used on a daily base by millions of international users would be video and audio streamable platforms such as Netflix and Spotify.

As a consequence of technological advancements, daily news is no longer as politically influenced as it once was. This is due to the uprising of social networking sites, blogs and other means of accessing information online. The internet has benefited all means of media as well as created advances in society. Information is now accessed in a more instant manner with today’s technology as news articles are uploaded in a matter of seconds with visuals and other necessary data especially when a major event has occurred. Being able to correct incorrect information along with altering outdated ones has increasingly improved misunderstandings in the media when compared to waiting up to a full day for a news article to be updated with the newly noted information.
Conclusion
Media is all about the relationships which can develop from face-to-face interactions. These relationships would not be possible the influence of humans. Therefore, sociology, being the study of human behaviour plays an important part in the success of social circles and other media relations. The sophisticated and efficient tool, technology, create new possibilities for human beings to communicate, being both face-to-face or through online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Changes in technology and human interactions are happening on a day to day bases to meet the requirements of today’s forever changing consumer-driven market.

Social media changes the perspective of the time and space we were accustomed to. This media type helps the user overcome the barrier between each side of the two-way communication system, making it much more feasible for users who are not in the same geographical location to interact in a human-like manner. Technology allows us to occupy multiple spaces at once, converging the aspects of reality with that of cyber-space. Social media alters the flow of time by allowing media to be delivered and accessed immediately while storing all media types permanently within servers for future reference. With the assistance of social media, communities have become more organised and have changed the structure of their social interactions and human behaviour.
References
Bates, A. W. (1981). Some unique educational characteristics of television and some implications for teaching or learning. Journal of Educational Television, 7(3), 79-86.

Durbridge, N. (1983). Design implications of audio and video cassettes Milton Keynes: Open University Institute of Educational Technology.

Grundin, H. (1981). Open University Broadcasting Times and their Impact on Students’ Viewing/Listening. Milton Keynes: Open University Institute of Educational Technology.

Means, B. et al. (2009) Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies Washington, DC: US Department of Education.

Borg, J., & Lauri, M.A. (1994). Media Education in Malta. Educommunication – News. 29, 3-6.

Sang-Hee, K., Kyung-Ho, H., & Do-Hyun, J. (2011). Proceedings of the Media Ecology Association (12th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.media-ecology.org/publications/MEA_proceedings/v12/8_time.pdf