The Digital Difference examines how the transition from the industrial-era media of one-way publishing and broadcasting to the two-way digital era of online search and social media has affected the dynamics of public life.
In the digital age, fundamental beliefs about privacy and identity are subject to change, as is the formal legal basis of freedom of expression. Will it be possible to maintain a vibrant and open marketplace of ideas? In W. Russell Neuman’s analysis, the marketplace metaphor does not signal that money buys influence, but rather just the opposite—that the digital commons must be open to all ideas so that the most powerful ideas win public attention on their merits rather than on the taken-for-granted authority of their authorship.
“Well-documented, methodical, provocative, and clear, The Digital Difference deserves a prominent place in communication proseminars and graduate courses in research methods because of its reorientation of media effects research and its application to media policy making.”
—John P. Ferré, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
This is an essential book. W. Russell Neuman, a towering figure in communication research, accurately charts the structure and dynamics of communication in the digital age by examining the interaction between technology, culture, institutions, business, and social evolution. His analysis is clear, empirically grounded, and theoretically meaningful.
The social media have enhanced the power, and exacerbated the problems, of the ‘active audience.’ This ambitious book—by a maestro of communication research—is at once a history of the field and its changing zeitgeist, a critique and reconciliation of its dominant paradigms, a diagnosis of the cognitive and societal processes of reception, and an insistence on its relevance to the making of public policy.
Well-documented, methodical, provocative, and clear, The Digital Difference deserves a prominent place in communication proseminars and graduate courses in research methods because of its reorientation of media effects research and its application to media policy making.
- 384 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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