Do visual media work differently to other media forms?

Visual media refers to use of image processing to analyze large sets of visual cultural objects to automatically generate descriptions of the contents (Douglass, 2008).  There are major differences between visual media and traditional print media. For instance, visual media represents information via a way that people can visually see. Furthermore, visual media could transfer complicated information to more easily understand.  For my personal experience, visual media, especially for pictures and videos, provides a realistic sense to receive information. Visual media represents information more reliable and transparent.  Importantly, the realistic information will evoke the sense of tension and importance, more easily to draw the attention of audiences.

This combination picture shows satellite images of, before and after magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami stuck Natori, Japan on April 4, 2011 (2011).  Firstly, this picture showcases that what’s happening after such serious earthquake and audiences will have a realistic combination between before and after. Also, the picture also shows the impressively serious situation of Japan after this earthquake and tsunami hit.  The damage water can do is immense.

Climate change is a prevalent topic in these years, and audiences just can receive information from talking show and news reporting. However, audiences cannot have a realistic sense of what is the result. In this picture, audiences can really see what’s happening when climate is changing. It may leads frequency or intensity of heat waves, wildfires, floods and cyclones and that such disasters are more likely to happen in the future (Hood, 2011).  The picture shows the impressive information may help people think the importance of climate change and protect the environment from now on.

Visual media not only include static pictures, but also include video and movies. For example, this video shows the helicopter view video of giant tsunami waves. The video shows the impressive information even than a photos.

Visual media definitely work differently to other media forms. Visual media is better than other traditional print media to distribute information.


Douglass, J (2008), Cultural Pattern Recognition, or Seeing Through Images | Automatic Analysis of Visual Media and User Interactions, (accessed 29 April 2012)

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Before and After (2011), (accessed 29 April 2012)

Hood, M.(2011), Climate change, science and public opinion (accessed 29 April 2012)

Helicopter aerial view video of giant tsunami waves (2011),

Information Graphics

Information graphics is a visual way to represent information, data or knowledge. Also, information graphics is conceived not just for professional, but for anyone who is interested in communication visually (2012).

Nowadays, our everyday life is filled with a massive flow of information. The words and sentences cannot draw our attention if it is tedious or bored. However, if information can be gathered and represent a visual picture, people can easily and willingly to receive information.

The first visual information graphic comes up with my mind is PassportStamp, which is a webpage to create your own map of visited places and share your travel experiences with friends. Almost my friends have ever tried this page to create a picture to show their travelling experiences.

(From Website,


Another example of information graphics, which could represent the information clearly without any literal expression is used to contrast two objects.   ”How does 200 calories look like?” is a collection of photographs what types of food items that contain exactly 200 calories, sorted from low to high calorie density . The picture clearly shows, a plate of broccolis contains the same number of calorie with a few chips. Therefore, when people see the picture could have a clear acknowledge of these two items.  Especially, for the on diet people, this type of pictures could give them a suggestion.


(From Infosthetics)

The graphics represent information visually and understandingly, which is widely surrounding used in media systems. For media thinking, information graphics are almost same as media archives. The single picture could represent a massive flow of information but simplicity.

Reference list:

Rendgen, S. (2012), Seeing is Understanding-how complicated ideas can be communicated via graphics.


Infosthetics, ‘How does 200 calories look like’,




Piracy, could be defined as unauthorised reproduction of a copy-righted book, a film, a patented invention and an actual trademark. Online piracy is a pervasive problem, no matter access with social network, public websites or P2P files, it still exists.

The picture shows that different kinds of piracy weighs different percentages in America. The study found that almost one-quarter of global Internet traffic (23.8%) and more than 17% in the U.S. involves the theft of digital assets (2011). Apparently, the infringement of using bittorrent weighs the most .

Online Piracy, means individual can freely access copyrighted contents without monitoring. For example, people can download the movies, musics and articles without restriction and payment.

Apparently, free downloading is an unethical action, it breaches the law of protecting individual intellectual property. Thus, US raised an act, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which aims to tighten anti-piracy legislation by forcing internet companies to block access to foreign sites offering material in breach of US copyright laws.  The supporters raise that the SOPA could protect the intellectual property effectively. However, there are still some criticism against the SOPA, it says the SOPA cannot fix the genuine problem of online piracy  because block the illegal websites cannot restricts sharing files between individuals (2012). For example, there are still literally hundreds of programs that can rip music, such as radio station and applications of Apple  etc. Even some of the content providers also make and sell equipment to easily copy whatever you want at a small cost, such as Sony. Moreover, some critique points out that this SOPA bill just want to control the media stream.  Also, some companies do not support this bill because it will impact their business, for instance, individual may cannot use PAYPAL in the foreign shopping websites.

Empirically, the function of copyright law is to decline piracy and incentive creative work. However, the restriction of sharing files on the Internet more impacts declining creative outputs in the US market (Kain, 2012). Sometimes, the most pirated movies would be the best seller. It could be argued that higher minus piracy may impact the entertainment industry.

Interestingly, when we first met the word, online piracy, we may think that we should establish the laws to against it. But actually SOPA and ACTA cannot change the situation effectively. Also, the inappropriate laws or bills would lead recession of media reproduction.


Internet Research- Piracy on The Internet (2011),

Kain,E.(2012), Does Online Piracy Hurt The Entertainment Industry?

SBS News (2012), Factbox: The ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ explained.



Infotention, which is a combination of attentional discipline and information-handling tools is a method for turning information overload into knowledge navigation. According to Rheingold, infotention is like a mind-machine which combines brain-powered attention skills with computer-powered information filters (2009).

It should be supposed that there is a plenty of information for us to acknowledge and accept in the digital time.  Information is online anywhere, websites, blogs and social networks. According to research at the University of California, San Diego, the average person today consumes almost three times as much information as what the typical person consumed in 1960 (2010). Thus, we also need to concern what kind of information is worth our attention. For example, the farmer in the ancient time, should forecast the weather and harvest time by themselves. However, the farmer in the present time, they could know the weather via weather forecast radio and evaluate the time to harvest by electronic devices.

Apparently, information and its flow can be accurately and transparently recorded and counted in the computer software. However, attention is more complex, a progress that can occur only one moment in a mind.  In the economy way, the scarce resource would get the attention firstly. Thus, it will arise a question that is there any information is scarce on the Internet? Definitely, there is. Individual would put something they will be interested in on the internet with private desires. Therefore, allocating attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it (Erard, 2009). Especially, the Farmer example above is the best elaboration.

In a contradiction, we have already experienced about attention spans, but digital-age changed out attention span. Technology, the Internet, The iPhone shrivelled the attention spans. Nicholas Carr, argued that the Web use would practically cause brain damage, and the technology is pushing even more distractions and interruptions on us and thus will never return to us our attention span (2010).

Reference list:

Erard, Michael (2009) ‘A short manifesto on the future of attention’, Observatory <>

Heffernan, Virginia (2010) ‘The Attention Span Myth’, New York Times, <>

 NPR (2010) ‘The Price of Putting Your Brain on Computers’ <>
Rheingold, Howard (2009) ‘Mindful Infotention: Dashboards, Radars, Filters’, SFGate,<>