Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Media nouns and verbs

Not sure if it's just that I'm noticing them more, but there seem to be lots more people referring to online videos as 'virals', as if viral was something that agencies can make. But this made me think that perhaps this is part of a wider confusion between nouns and verbs when talking about media

1  /ˈmidiə/ [mee-dee-uh]
1. a pl. of medium.
2. (usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely: The media are covering the speech tonight.

Means of communication that reach people widely could refer to pretty much anything. The telephone isn't a medium in this sense, as it is a one-to-one communication device. Media that can be one to one or one to many at the same time are basically anything on the internet, but it is an action - the action of uploading, repurposing, sharing, etc, that gives them their influence. Media have stopped being a place or a destination, and become an action.

(and don't get me started on the usually used with a plural verb!)
HT to John, who was talking about some other noun/verb confusion the other day)


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