A Three-Part Theory Of Media: When It Goes Wrong

Last Column I explored my latest media theory – that all media we create can have three parts do it:

  • Evocative: Emotions and thoughts that it induces.
  • Directional: The direction it provides, the guidance, the inspiration.
  • Informational: The information it imparts.

Different forms of media focus on the three elements differently and do them differently. A good bit of short Kindle erotica is probably not heavy on the Informational or the Directional – it’s Evocative. A humorous historical speech focuses on the Evocative and Informational in right combinations.  Good media has the right elements to it, in the right combinations, and will differ markedly from other forms.

A good creator knows how do handle the individual elements, how they interact, and how to do them right.

Now beyond giving us yet another way to analyze media before I come up with another theory, I think this three part model also provides a useful tool to understand pathological relations we can form with media. It’s a way to understand why people can take media wrong, are deceived, or get the wrong messages.

Perhaps a bit of a dark message, but media is like anything else we put into ourselves – drugs, ideas, concepts, religion, etc.  We might as well be aware of how it can go wrong so we can be responsible about our intake of media.  Much like other things, I prefer we learn how to be responsible, not have someone do it for us.

So let’s dive into how this model can be used to diagnose when media goes wrong – or does wrong – or when people do.

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