mobile tower

I’m standing at my local shops behind a building that, when I was a kid, was a Network Video store. We used to come here on Friday nights with dad and select VHS videos to watch over the weekend. There is no longer a video store here.

The block of land though has remained a critical part of the media infrastructure and everyday consumption of media representations.

At the back of the building in the corner of the carpark a telecommunications company has erected a 25 metre high mobile reception tower.

These towers are being built throughout our suburbs as consumers demand more bandwidth to stream content to their mobile devices.

My suggestion is that your local mobile tower is as good a place as any to start thinking about the role that media play in our society. Through this tower flow the messages and data that organise much of our everyday lives and orchestrate our participation in social, cultural and political life.

Media have at least two functions that play a critical role in our social world

They enable the creation and distribution of information, images, sounds, symbols and narratives. They collect, store and process information. 

The mobile tower is a node for both functions.

News reports, Instagram images, Snapchat snaps, television shows and so on flow from the mobile tower onto the screen of our smartphone.

Information about us – where we are, what we do, what we were interested in – flows from our smartphones, to mobile towers, and on into the databases of global media platforms.

My suggestion is that your local mobile tower is as good a place as any to start thinking about the role that media play in our society. Through this tower flow the messages and data that organise much of our everyday lives and orchestrate our participation in social, cultural and political life.

Our examination of media and the role it plays in society then is going to be a story both about the creation and circulation of meaning and the collection and analysis of data.

Media have at least two functions that play a critical role in our social world

They enable the creation and distribution of information, images, sounds, symbols and narratives. They collect, store and process information. 

The mobile tower is a node for both functions.

News reports, Instagram images, Snapchat snaps, television shows and so on flow from the mobile tower onto the screen of our smartphone.

Information about us – where we are, what we do, what we were interested in – flows from our smartphones, to mobile towers, and on into the databases of global media platforms.

Our examination of media and the role it plays in society then is going to be a story both about the creation and circulation of meaning and the collection and analysis of data.