Mass Media vs the Internet!

Most businesses approach their Web site development from a self-reflective point of view. They are interested in presenting themselves to a mass audience with the known metaphors of mass advertising. However, the internet offers an alternative: the capability for one-to-one relationships.

Users of Web sites respond better to information and product offerings that are tailored to their specific needs. The Internet is a medium that allows users to decide what information to access and when to access it. Thus many of the concepts and applications of mass media are not necessarily valid for the Internet.

Mass media is mostly passive. Its goal is to create in the viewer or reader enough interest that eventually he or she will translate that interest into a desired transaction. In essence the act of reading a magazine or watching a television program is not inherently transactional; an interruption exists between the act of reading or viewing and the act of transaction. The only transaction required from readers or viewers is to read a particular  book or magazine, or watch a TV program. Thus, creating information for mass media requires a different strategy than creating information for the Internet.

The nature of the Internet is transactional. The entire experience, from logging on to Web browsing, is predicated on user requests and server responses. Furthermore, the Internet is non-linear. The use constantly makes transactional decisions, first leading to the site, then staying within the site, conducting e-commerce and finally deciding to return to the site, switching to another site or business any time they choose.

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