Online Access Changing the Culture of How We Engage with Media

Online Access Changing the Culture of How We Engage with Media

The arrival of the internet has completely changed the way we absorb media. Though changes were gradual, the former status quo of just a few decades ago is almost unrecognisable compared to how we engage today. With the help of the web, we have greater convenience than ever before, and usually at a lower cost. What we tend to consider less are the effects that these changes have had on the culture surrounding the media and entertainment we love, and how those affect our overall appreciation.

Shifts in engagement can be good, they can be bad, or they can both in different ways. They can also fundamentally reshape the way we internalise media and its long-term effect on our culture. It’s been a rockier road than we often think, and sometimes we need to turn back and consider what’s changed along the way, and whether we’re really better off.

A Death of the Old

For many of us, the most notable change we appreciate from the arrival of the online age is the death of physical stores. Video rental places like Blockbuster illustrate a famed example. Netflix and other streaming services have completely usurped the position that rental stores held, but in doing so they’ve also messed with what used to be a cultural event.

Lagerung, Cds, Digital Video Tapes

Source: Pixabay

Going to a rental store, browsing hundreds of titles, and ultimately taking a gamble on something was exciting. Even if you didn’t like what you got, you were usually stuck with it, which might mean exposing yourself to something you’d otherwise miss. The experience let us wonder, discovering that missteps can provide different experiences. A trip to the rental store was a little adventure, and it’s something browsing Netflix can’t recreate.

Similar concerns appear in streaming when entire seasons drop at once instead of releasing weekly. Watching at our own pace is great, but it also means that talking around the latest episode over the water cooler or discussing shows online can be much more difficult. It complicates the community aspect of viewing a show, as it is harder to coordinate shared viewing and voice appreciation for a story’s development and twists. 

The Arrival of Instant Gratification

With 5G and 4G now being ubiquitous, the barriers to enjoying and absorbing media have been shattered. This is again a double-edged sword, allowing us to take in much more while also offering the potential to diminish the effect that older media can have.

Consider what once went into listening to music. It wasn’t rare in the past for people to wait until they were home to listen to music on CD, cassette, or even on vinyl alone in their room uninterrupted. With this isolation came a much more focused listening experience, often on one single album over and over again. 

Vinyl, Retro, Musik, Rabatt, Aufzeichnen

Source: Pixabay

In a time where services like Spotify let you flip between hundreds of albums anywhere on the go, the listening experience can be very different. Music can instead become more of a backing track, while at the same time providing infinitely more opportunities to explore new bands and sounds. Some people today might never love one album as much as they once did, but they might love many more albums than was once possible.

Room Enough for Everyone

Outside of music and videos, a more cooperative take on media engagement is found in the landscape of online casino gaming. Accessing the highest-paying online casinos previously required big planned trips to places like Vegas or Macau, but now it’s possible from anywhere with a mobile connection. Websites like Mr Vegas and Casumo deliver thousands of titles, but they don’t override the appeal of physical establishments. This is a case where both arms of the evolved industry help each other, both benefit from the act, and customers experience a best-of-both-worlds result.

Legacy and Appreciation

While the owners of Blockbuster might feel differently, for the consumer, the improved access to media in the digital age is often a fantastic development. It’s also one that can have more of an effect on both the personal and social aspects of media appreciation. From letting us focus on music more intently to hanging out for viewings with friends, the increased power in our hands is a bit complicated.

Many of the cultural aspects of engaging with media we once took for granted are now up to us. It’s the cost of convenience and evolution, and it’s very much the definition of a first-world problem. Still, it’s hard not to put on the rose-tinted glasses from time to time and think back to the way things used to be done.

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