R.E. (1985). Implications of the media habit for electronic publishing.
M. Greenberger (Ed.), Electronic publishing plus: Media for a
technological future (pp. 63-68.) White Plains, NY: Knowledge
The observations and analyses of viewer behavior
reported in Section I
seriously challenge traditional assumptions about how and why audiences
media. Two of the positions articulated have extensive ramifications.
first position, based upon evidence summarized by Russell Neuman under
label of "media habit," is that audiences are likely to pay, at best,
partial attention to the media and their use of it, and then primarily
such use is tied to daily living patterns. That is, media use is
habitual, seldom instrumental and only vaguely conscious. Television
use is not only passive, but, for the most part, directed to nothing
more significant than pleasantly passing the time.
The other position argues that use of new media such as
must be analyzed in both a historical and comparative context by
at early patterns of media use and at how similar media have been used
the past. This position overlaps with the media habit position when one
social norms that develop around new media, or location contexts that
habitual use of new media. John Carey asserts that we need to analyze
historical patterns of media use to determin social and technological
that make analogies to new media appropriate or inappropriate. This
leads us to be more thoughtful about automated teller machines, vending
telephone answering machines and video cassette rentals as a basis for
predictions about videotex and online software. We should use this
perspective in studying the social role of mass media in general.
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