Transcending Television: Public Media Screens – [BCM240]

As we continue to move forward through the information age and technologies become faster, smarter and cheaper to produce, so too does the number of public media screens that consume our attention on a daily basis. Everywhere you look, it seems as though, what was once just an activity confined to one room of a house or shop front, has now become a social norm amongst society.
Since the 1980s, the rollout of digital networks, the proliferation of mobile phones and the installation of large electronic screens in urban centres have created novel forms of mediated interaction within the public sphere (Maguire, 2009). From creative advertising to simplest forms of delivering information, public screens have fast become increasingly relevant amongst society. As I walk through the city centre of Wollongong, I am bombarded with screens all trying to capture my attention. From ads selling big and expensive high involvement products to even the smallest screens directing citizens to the nearest railway station. Public screens occupy each end of the spectrum.

It was interesting to note that although there were countless media screens bombarding my brain trying to cause a sensory overload, very few of them actually received my full attention. Although I have never visited the media screen spectacles of New York’s Time Square or Tokyo’s Shibuya, these two places typify how powerful media screens in public places can be. If you were to recount a list of landmarks that you wish to see in New York, Time Square with its monumental media displays would be as equally as high on the list as Madison Square Garden. These electronic screens have been used to extend and amplify the notion of the urban spectacle. We are all so immersed with content on televisions and media devices in our homes that we just accept that the spectacle will spill out into every aspect of our lives.

For some the proliferation of media screens throughout society can be seen to increase social engagement.

At present count my work place contains 42 television screens broadcasting a comprehensive array of sporting events, gambling advertising and club promotions. However, at 5:30pm Monday to Friday the main media screens are all tuned into one station to watch the Channel 9 game show, Millionaire Hotseat. Club members (mostly 55 to 90 year old males) gather around their tables enjoying a few brews after a hard days work to sit and analyse as a collective, which answer it could be. To some this could be seen as a very uninteresting aspect of work life however, the way in which each question stimulates social interaction and generates discussion about issues within the public sphere is a very interesting occurrence. At 6pm the news is shown, generating more debate and conjecture. In its simplest form this form of social interaction through public media screens, to those who are seeking social interaction at the last half of the ‘innings’ is priceless.

Here are a few example of media screens that I took around my workplace. As you can see the gambling industry has capitalised on the shift towards the proliferation of media screens and media content.

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Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

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3 thoughts on “Transcending Television: Public Media Screens – [BCM240]

  1. I really enjoyed how you mentioned your work’s engagement with the ‘screen’. Interesting to note how different demographics interact with it. Its so true that the gambling industry has capitalised on the media usage of screens. I have noticed this particularly at the pub I work at. Whilst working the night shift in the pokies room, I have witnessed many immersed in the screens that illustrate the drinks specials…

  2. I really enjoy a point you have made that I hadn’t thought about before – that these media screens, although they bombard the place you work, rather than detract from the social setting, actually generate more conversation as the patrons discuss the news and Millionaire Hot Seat. While I myself would find this a dull experience, I can see how media screens could have a positive impact in a social setting that I had not thought of initially. Interesting post!

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