To what extent can cities themselves be described as ‘media’? Discuss with reference to street media/urban screens and mobile screen technologies

Today, in the 21st century, the modern technology has created ease for the life on the earth. The modern technology has made the world a global village. However, this technology has not created ease for global changing apparatus but also for the local population as well. The modern technology has attenuated the gap between the people of the same city, country and the world through different means of communication (Molnár, 2013). The conventional means of communication like television, internet, and telephone have credit to make this world more communication oriented. However, the recent technology has, undoubtedly, made the cities the media cities. The modern cities are termed as media because of emerging importance of communication-oriented cities in the modern times. Cities perform their vital role as media. This means that the cities help people achieving their common goal through extending their social contacts within the city. For this purpose, several methods are used to achieve the destination. The first method of making a city the media is that the street mobilization is exercised through which streets are made as a source of communication with the target audiences. Moreover, urban screens are also the form of media in a city to keep the people updated on their respective agenda. The businessmen use urban screens for advertisement to gain economic benefits, political and social activists hoist the banners and run campaign through city urban screens to gain sympathies of the public to achieve their goal. Similarly, the public flash mob is also the prerogative of modern media cities that allow individuals to express their expressions. Moreover, it is inevitable to say that the cities are described as media due to their capacity of keeping every resident informed about the events and happenings in the city (Berton, 2007). Thus in this essay, the emergence of the smart city with the advent of modern media, screens as a source of advertisement, the public spaces through electronic spaces, the increasing services of mobile media, and smartphone technology and the future development of media city will be discussed in this essay.

Firstly, flash mobs are the great and important source of engaging urban landscape through different ways of engagement. The shopping malls, busy public parks, busy streets are utilized for flash mobs in a city that serves as a media. Moreover, a flash mob is the enthralling event of the contemporary times that has been intriguing different societies of different nature globally. In this regard, commuters, shoppers, politicians, social activists, use the phenomenon of a flash mob to attract the people at large (Brejzek, 2014). However, a flash mob is a spontaneous event that occurs when a group of people performs collectively an attention seeking activity and after this spontaneous gathering, the people or mob disperses. The social media and screens are used for a flash mob in a city. Moreover, flash mobs help to create harmony, understanding and mutual benefits of attending people or masses at large when the flash mob is at the national level for example referendum on any issue. For example, during the civil disobedience movements in the United States, Martin Luther King Jr. started flash mobs to activate the people for their civil rights against the then government in 1960’s.In addition, the sources that are exercised for flash mob are internet and social media. This is also used for enhancing a business and sale of products can be achieved through flash mobs. For example, on January 15, 2009, the sudden dance of a commuter on the busy train station attracted the people and the strangers joined him also. This caught 34 million views on YouTube and it won the prestigious award at the Cannes Lions advertising festival. Flash mobs have positives aspects and drawbacks also exist. It is the source of great entertainment and fun for the audiences. Moreover, flash mobs show creativity, sociability, and free participation in the great attracting factor for the public join. Similarly, colossal advertisement goals are achieved for business and political ambition are gained through flash mob (Grant, 2013). It has few negative aspects as well like it is pointless and unproductive and wastage of precious time. Thus, the flash mob engage with the public landscape to gain desired ambitions respectively (Tan & Abu Bakar, 2016)

Secondly, the influence of advertising spaces and screens on city life and urban experience has been seen as a great influential. The city life is always class-conscious and they always seek for brands of goods and services. They always wait for new arrivals in a city to utilize the new goods and services of their favorite brands. For this purpose, the corporate sectors seek space on the different and busy spaces of the city to advertise their products. The billboards and screens are placed in different locations of a city to keep abreast of the customers for their goods and specification. Moreover, shopping malls, airports restaurants, and sports arenas are profoundly used for space advertising that affects the city life significantly (Borghini, 2014). Moreover, the effect of the screen is not confined to the business for attracting customers and enhancing the sales of their products, but the effects of screens are also experienced in city life on political campaigns as well. The screens are placed in different places to target the public to attract them for their support in the political ambitions of the politicians. Similarly, the screens also affect the social activists’ campaigns of their issues of society significantly. This helps to enhance the communication of the different stakeholders with the public of a city to gain their respective goals and objectives from the target and potential groups respectively. Moreover, the screens put colossal effects on catching and attracting the minds of a people to inculcate them about their advertiser’s ideology. This helps to enhance better communication with the people of a city that affects positively to the masses of a city (Cronin, 2010).  For example, recently, the politics is termed as the ‘digital politics in the United Kingdom because the major parties of the United Kingdom are spending the mammoth amount on advertisements on facebook, social media, and screen advertisement to get the support of the public. According to the Electoral Commission of the United Kingdom, the national political parties spent approximately 1.3 million pounds on facebook only during the election of 2015 general elections of a country. This figure increased to 3.2 million pounds after two years in 2017. Thus the influence of space advertisement and screen has increased drastically in the recent years in the urban cities (Sabbagh, 2018).

Thirdly, The public spaces in the contemporary times are made through, electronic spaces The increases digital networks, mobile phone proliferation, installation of large screens in urban areas since the 1980s has created ease for public mediation. The adventure of this shift from conventional media of television and radio that was privatized the public sphere to relocate process of civic engagement from the public to domestic sphere (Camp & Chien, 2011). Moreover, the large screens have now become the symbol of development in the urban centers. For example, China has started an ambitious program of constructing 162 screens for the Olympic Games proposed as design for Olympic village.

However, the first generation,n of large public screens in sites such as Times Square, Manhattan, and Shibuya, Tokyo had a predominantly commercial orientation. Scthe reens functioned mainly as advertising billboards, punctuated by occasional community announcements or artworks, such as Jenny Holzer’s ‘Truisms’ series. Electronic screens have been used in this vein to extend and amplify urban spectacle, as exemplified by the more recent integration of large screens into the fantasy environment of Las Vegas. Such examples confine public interaction to passive viewing, to the point that they seem to accord. Understanding of spectacular society as fundamentally premised on ‘non-intervention’. However, a new generation of public screens is now emerging. These large screens are deliberately situated in pedestrian plazas in city centers rather than traffic thoroughfares, sports arenas or malls, and offer a variety of more interactive interfaces. This capacity for the public to utilize new media to alter the ambiance of large-scale urban space is historically distinctive and challenges many assumptions about the distribution of power and agency in public space (McQuire, Papastergiadis, & Cubitt, 2008).

Fourthly, the role of new media is very monumental that have made the cities a “media”. The contemporary new media –the flash mob, modern screens, and phone technology have played its due role in promoting the media events. Today, the new media helps to promote the events taking place in conventional media to enhance its turn-over. Moreover, the modern new media has emerged as a primary tool to promote the events of the city. The events like conferences, fundraising, and political uprising and gatherings are addressed through modern means of media   (Gretze, 2010). In addition, the conventional media for its promotion, and promotion of their programs, and events are being promoted through modern new media. This affects enormously the rating and revenues of the conventional media. Because the new media is faster and information reaches abruptly within seconds in media city and people are well aware of and well informed of the happenings of the city what they need to know. Modern media affects the conventional media for another reason that the modern media is the most domestic-oriented that the people are keen to be aware of the events. Therefore, the modern media is influential and has important effects on the media events (Green, 2006).

However, the new media and smartphone technology has paved the way for the emergence of smart cities. Smart cities are the cities that grow faster in terms of development and technological changes. Therefore, the new media and smart phone technology have caused the emergence of smart cities. Moreover, the role of mobile media has remained significant in the emergence of smart cities. The public gatherings, mass mobilization, city conferences, political gatherings, social activities, and numerous other communications are exercised through mobile media. Therefore the mobile media is said to be a modern tool of communication effectively (Batty, et al., 2012). Mobile media is very conveniently for people to people communication because the one-time message sent to the target people conveys the message of the event. Similarly, smart phone technology has further eased the way of communication through mobile to reach the target people for the convenience of the message. The smart phone technology has numerous features that keep the people well informed and updated regarding the events and happenings of the surroundings. This is more helpful for updated and timely information to be reached to the people. Through smart phones, the people can be connected with each other. These are helpful in conducting online sessions of business communications with the leadership and employees to set targets. Political leaders use smart phones to keep their supporters updated about the events and issues. Similarly, the conferences of numerous types can be conducted easily and efficiently through smart phones (Deloitte, 2017). Therefore smart phone technology and mobile media are effective tools used in a city and this has given rise to “smart city”. Besides the application of mobile media and smartphone technology, there are multifaceted benefits of this technology. For example, it reduces the physical cost of traveling and billboards and other expenditures for any business and political or social. Moreover, it is an easy and convenient way of communication through mobile media. Similarly, the smartphone has also reduced the time cost and economic cost of conveying the respective message to the target people of the city. In addition, it has also created opportunities for different adventures. The business adventures are mostly achieved through the mobile media and smart phone technology (Page, 2913). The business is promoted through the marketing strategy. The marketing and advertisements are done through mobile media. This lowers the cost of the conventional way of marketing and this also helps in building the customers to expand the business for enhancement of sales of the products. Similarly, the customer care is managed through smartphone technology. For example, according to the recent reports, the shopping through smartphones has increased by 18 percent in the United Kingdom in recent years after the advancement of smartphones in UK market that amounts 11 billion pounds. Moreover, sales via mobile phones have continued to grow in the United Kingdom (Butler, 2014). Therefore these developments through mobile media and smartphone technology have opened the doors of new adventures in business, politics and other social activities alike.

In addition, the ideas regarding smart city are laudable in a city. Smart city initiatives have been adopted by the cities in the world. These initiatives propose future prospects technological solutions to the problems faced by the urban cities (Kitchin, 2015). These policies are designed to digitalize the urban conditions of cities, where social and economic exchanges are based upon telecommunication networks and governance strategies. For example, in Philadelphia the government initiated social media style workforce education application to provide training to 500,000 people of very low literacy owing people. However, the project did not become successful but the mayor of city declared it a successful program. Thus, the rhetoric of intelligent, transformative digital change works much more to “sell” a city in the economy of the world than to actually address urban inequalities (Wiig, 2016).

Moreover, the technological innovation is the vital element of change in the contemporary world. The progress in science and technology brings homes and hurdles in a society. The utopian society refers to perfection where all the desires are fulfilled with the help of technological advancement and development (Buckup, 2014). The street protests challenge the world and in addition terrific and confidential information releases, the previous years have seen a phenomenal strengthening by the person through computerized systems. Innovation drastically expanded the entrance to data and the capacity of nationals to plug and sort out. In 2006, five years ago the Arab Spring, Time magazine broadly perceived this move by making “you” its individual of the year. Toward The End of Power, Moises Naim contended that, therefore, control now is less demanding to get, harder to utilize – and less demanding to lose than any time in recent memory. Our reality isn’t about power moving from A to B, it is about chains of command missing out against systems. Thus the future of utopian technological developments will be more enthralling and vital (Sibley, 1973).

Conclusively, the modern cities are justifiably described as the “media” due to the adaptation of most recent technologies by certain cities. The modern technology and communication technologies have reduced the gap of communication than that of a decade before. The modern media is quite efficient and influential due to its fast and abrupt provision of information to the people. Moreover, the new media is more domestic-oriented. This means that people may know very relevant information about their own society. Similarly, the modern media has adopted the means such as flash mobs to engage public for social, political and business agenda. Similarly, the recent development of advertising on screens has added much to the beauty of urban cities. Moreover, this new media has created opportunities for better and convenient way of communications with customers and political people to resolve the issues Thus the future utopian technological development will still open the doors for more modern and advanced city and urban culture.


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