Comparative Media Studies in the Digital Age| The Everything-ness and the More-ness of the Internet: How Digital Is Different From Other Media

Lee Rainie


Digital media are qualitatively and quantitatively different from the analog media that preceded it. There is an “everything-ness” to media that arises when information is digitized. Digital media is pervasive, portable, persistent, and visible; personal and customizable; participatory, replicable, spreadable and scalable; and searchable. This changes three major dynamics of media and communication spaces where there are invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and blurred boundaries between what used to be private and what used to be public. These properties of digital media create a “more-ness” to their role in people’s lives. People see both good and bad impacts of digital media in their own lives and in the way digital media affect their societies. Public opinion sampling in 11 emerging economies shows how this more-ness is evident in tensions that people feel about their new media environment, especially when it comes to mobile digital connectivity.


mobile phones, Internet, social media, emerging economies, digital media

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