Do visual media work differently to other media platforms?

Visual media engages our senses and effectively instigates emotions and thoughts unlike other media platforms. As we visualize something, we’re able to immediately convey the information and draw up patterns and recognize relationships in a quick and effective manner. This is how visual media significantly differs from other media platforms, making it a favorable outlet for many scientists and researchers today to represent data.

We’ve witnessed the transition of media platforms from oral-culture to visual-culture; from print-media, audio-media to visual media. One of the main differences with past media platforms and visual media is their level of influence on audiences. Print and audio media adopted a one-way communicative approach (sender-focused), whereas visual-media invites consumers to engage with material and to interpret data as they wish (receiever-focused). Furthermore, visual media allows data to be represented in a concise and straightforward manner – simplifying the process of conveying messages across to audiences.

An example of this would be the representation of scientific data:


Paul Butler's Facebook Friendship Map: this is a prime example of visually representing scientific research data into an easily conceivable diagram. Despite the numerous data that was used to construct this map, Butler was able make this information easy to interpret for audiences. <;

Research that comprise of complex statistics and diverse information can be simplified and compressed into a simple box of visual representation (as seen above). This allows scientists to communicate vital information out to mass audiences in a manner that is coherent and easy to grasp.  This ability to do so has changed the dynamics of the public sphere, as scientists are now able to dramatically influence the social behaviors of individuals and the culture in general.


The conglomeration of different expression forms into a single immersive experience has shaped our society in terms of how we interact with media. Visual media bring about elements that have once never been able to be made ‘visible’ in the past (Infographics and other scientific visual representations are examples), progressively shaping our perceptions of reality and leading the evolution of the humankind. This, of course, wouldn’t have been made possible without the advent of technology. The rapid development of technology interweaves with visual media platforms, together forming an interactive media experience we are constantly immersed in on a day-to-day basis.

In an economy where an individual’s attention is deeply prized, it is no wonder that visual media; an extremely effective method of grabbing one’s attention, is playing an increasingly vital role in today’s society.

This entry was published on May 1, 2012 at 1:37 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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