With recent immigration and greater exposure to outside cultures, will the need for diversity arise? Will the need be reflected in media? There is evidence already of this happening thanks to reality shows and the news. Suggestions of hot and cold media point to the need for people to observe or escape. Hot media presents the user with a means to observe a world with limited to no interaction or a cool media outlet that present limitless interactions and meaning. (Haliday, 1978)
Hot media although a staple in viewer ship, presents an either affirming or alienating standpoint to the consumer, whereas cool media reaches to the unknown and constantly changes as its interpreted. To find meaning in media such as is the study of social semiotics, technology may be viewed as a youth and male driven vehicle. What is known is that technology fuels the ever-changing dynamic of social media. The more interaction is allowed; the most things can either unite or divide a group/culture.
Because so much meaning is derived from social media and its products, new memes and meanings pop up all the time. A meme is an idea or behavior that spreads from person to person and carries with it cultural meaning or symbols. Such example would be "pedo bear." Somehow a stuffed bear became the image for pedophilia. Here cultural meaning attached to an otherwise regular image. (Hodge and Kress 1988)
Society or culture has become more and more reliant on technology. The ease and convenience of clicking and sending drives the present day forms of communication. Twenty years ago, a philosopher by the name of Donna Haraway famously said there will be a hybrid of human and machine termed, "Cyborg Manifesto. On page 150, the term is shown. "We are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs" (Haraway 1991) although this hasn't happened in a literal sense, it does interpret simply the techno-culture of today. Have people become dependent on machines to communicate? The answer to this question may be too soon to answer. What is certain is that techniques applied in the past are still present today.
Symbols have long been used as an effective means of communications. Technology evolved the way symbols delivered and interpreted by consumers, but the meaning behind them hasn't changed. Sex and beauty sells and no matter how evolved communication between cultures has become, universal triggers will forever remain a constant. Iconographical symbolism, the use of universal and evocative symbols, can be divided into two main groups: abstract and figurative symbolism.
Abstract symbols have abstract shapes with symbolic value such as the cross which mean to certain groups Christianity. Figurative symbols represent people, places, and things with symbolic value. Symbolism can either be open, disguised, or a combination of the two. Explaining the difference through a painting, one can state: a motif is an open symbol of something when it is not represented naturalistically. A disguised symbol when it is represented naturalistically. (Straubhaar et al. 2012)
Disguised symbolism is a peculiar dilemma for the current supply. Artists derive meaning not just from conscious efforts, but unconscious inspiration. When critics interpret the symbols of such works, the need to contest will remain present. Thanks to social media this present need is fulfilled in ways that immediately impact the meaning of the symbol and even change it altogether. Constant change, constant evolution drives and continues to perpetuate the need for more media, more information, and more interpretation. Presently, people want to see what others think of their work and whether people accept or reject their perspective.
Symbols, meaning, semiotics all connect and are brought forth thanks to media, technology and social science. They connect because meaning and symbols need interpretation. People need to understand what's given or expressed. Facebook and Twitter are leading the way to an evolution of marketing, power, and communication. The media need to evolve with it.
Example of a Stuart Hall inspired diagram
Eco, Umberto (1983). The Name of the Rose. Harcourt.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1978). Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. Maryland. University Park Press.
Haraway, Donna (1991). "Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge. p. 150. ISBN 1-85343-138-9
Hodge, R. And G. Kress. (1988). Social Semiotics. Cambridge: Polity
Holmes, D, Hughes, K & Julian, R 2012, Australian Sociology: A changing society, Pearson, Frenchs Forest, pp. 363 -- 385.