Shannon/Weaver and online media
Some researchers had considered the communicational model proposed by Shannon/Weaver as deprecated for nowadays multidirectional, interactive, digitize communication. Deprecated meaning that is no longer valid for the actual communicational structure.
It is this model deprecated? Let’s take a closer look at what mass communication meant till the rise of the Internet communication and what means now.
We can simplify the Shannon/Weaver model (standard communication process) as:
where E is Information Source and R is Destination.
Mass communication (let’s say it traditional media) could be expressed as:
The Transmitter is sending the message to the mass (n) of receptors.
Online communication moved the mass communication to a multidirectional model, where every end of the communicational chain could be transmitter but also receptor. That’s why the mass communication formula it is:
where the set of transmitters is identical with the set of receptors. This formula is in fact a limited number of relations E->R, This means that even the online communication is a multidirectional and interactive communication, at the very basic level it is still a multitude of E->R relations. As we can see, the actual mass communication (that also includes the online communication) it is a set of standard communications, the communicational process described by the Shannon/Weaver model.
This approach is also sustained in Exploring Electronic Media: “Though they are technologically sophisticated, the successful operation of electronic media systems still must be grounded in fundamental principles of human communication”2.
As a conclusion, we can draw the Shannon/Weaver model as:
For a better description of the way, how the message could flow from a terminal point of the system to any other terminal point of the communicational network, we can also see this schema (using the following abbreviations) as follows:
Information Source = E
Destination = R
Transmitter = T
Receiver = Rv
Encoder = Enc
Decoder = Dec
As we can see, the Shannon/Weaver model is not deprecated but it could also be an important part of a coherent approach of online communication. One of the main advantages of using Shannon/Weaver model in our theoretical construction is the opportunity to have a consistent connection between the existing “traditional”mass communication theory and the “extended” mass communication theory (that’s also include online mass communication).