Excess Noise Knowledge Base

Definitions for those who work in communications and perception


Few words have evolved as much over time. Media, in the middle part of the 20th Century, was a clear reference to mainstream media used to disseminate editorial content to a mass market. Media were newspapers, magazines, radio, television and, for some but not all, cinema. Later in the Century, with the advent of desktop publishing and offline editing, the word became more encompassing. A brochure or pamphlet, even a scientific report, might be considered a form of medium to some. But obviously, the big jumps came in the 1990s with the advent of the Internet and again in the latter part of the first decade of this Century with the advent of mobile computing, aka smartphones and tablets. The word is now poorly understood by most. For some it means any method with which information is shared or disseminated whether one-to-many or one-to-one. Using this definition, a telephone is a medium. For others, the word has remained anchored in the one-to-many category. For some it is still reserved for traditional media exclusively. For others it encompasses new media. Suffice it to say that this is one word that will likely continue evolving.

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This glossary of definitions is not intended as an academic reference. It is an exercise in thinking on our part. We hope to grow it and welcome any suggestions you may have.