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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
push media
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messaging A model of media distribution where items of
content are sent to the user (viewer, listener, etc.) in a
sequence, and at a rate, determined by a server to which the
user has connected. This contrasts with pull media where
the user requests each item individually. Push media usually
entail some notion of a "channel" which the user selects and
which delivers a particular kind of content.
Broadcast television is (for the most part) the prototypical
example of push media: you turn on the TV set, select a
channel and shows and commercials stream out until you turn
the set off.
By contrast, the World-Wide Web is (mostly) the prototypical
example of pull media: each "page", each bit of content, comes
to the user only if he requests it; put down the keyboard and
the mouse, and everything stops.
At the time of writing (April 1997), much effort is being put
into blurring the line between push media and pull media.
Most of this is aimed at bringing more push media to the
Internet, mainly as a way to disseminate advertising, since
telling people about products they didn't know they wanted is
very difficult in a strict pull media model.
These emergent forms of push media are generally variations on
targeted advertising mixed in with bits of useful content.
"At home on your computer, the same system will run soothing
screensavers underneath regular news flashes, all while
keeping track, in one corner, of press releases from companies
whose stocks you own. With frequent commercial messages, of
course." (Wired, March 1997, page 12).