Emergent Media and How it Fits Into Business Strategy

Oscar Guzman
5 min readApr 20, 2021

Emergent Media is a term that seems to be popping up everywhere recently with many different connotations from high-tech gadgets to science fiction. But pinning down exactly what emergent media means is a difficult task. It’s a field that can sometimes lie in the realm of the not yet existent but obtainable future. Or it can build upon existent media that has the potential to evolve. As a business, you are constantly having to evolve and adapt to changing practices, and emergent media is a similar aspect.

What is Emergent Media?

Emergent Media is technology that seeks to improve how humanity experiences reality and changes the way humans communicate with each other and the world around them with the goal of removing barriers of accessibility such as but not limited to income, time, speed, and space.

We keep this purposefully vague, because what can improve the human experience is so broad and intersects with many industries. It also changes with the times. What was once emergent has integrated into the perceived norm. From there, emergent media is building upon this work to develop on the technology of the future.

How Are Businesses and Organizations Involved?

The way businesses and organizations communicate with customers, patients, stakeholders, and more continues to adapt and change through the eras. Telephone reminders for your appointment, turned into e-mail reminders, turned into text reminders, and now maybe a smart assistant reminder. And the way different industries use emergent media varies. Keeping this in mind as you develop your strategy, will help you adjust and meet the future expectations of potential consumers.


The typical office visit with a physician has not changed much throughout the years. You still physically visit a hospital and wait inside a cold, sterile room waiting for an appointment with you doctor. However, as of recent, and with the current health climate, e-visits have become viable options where you can have an office visit with your physician. All you need is a camera for a video call. And what’s next? Perhaps visits of the future will be live in your room as a hologram. Or conducted over virtual reality headsets.


Online shopping itself is a form of emergent media. Why go to the store when the shopping experience is right there on your phone? But the way you can interact with products is changing and bringing the experience to you. Several furniture businesses now let you try out how furniture fits in your home. Through A/R (Augmented Reality) Technology you can use a smartphone camera to display a 3D image of the item in front of you. This same technology can be used to try clothes/ accessories, like glasses!

Social Media Advertising/ Marketing

Though Social Media feels like it is commonplace, its place in an organization’s strategy is an aspect of emergent media in origin and continues to develop. The way that brands interact with their consumers through social media is very different than more traditional means such as television, print, or radio ads. Social Media ads are tailored to the consumers personal preferences based on data obtained on their habits, and from there the interaction directs what future ads are generated.

What Isn’t Emergent Media

So, what is not emergent media? It is difficult to define when media transitions from emergent, to common place, to a thing of the past. But a good way to think of it, is media that no longer connects with its audience in the same way that a newer technology does. Think of the CD and the CD player. This was an emergent media when cassette players were commonplace. Now, those have been phased out in favor of MP3 players which have given way for streaming on your smart phone. It is also important to note the context of emergent means can vary on location. A developing nation, who does not have access to the resources of a large nation, may view a CD player as emergent media if that is the newest technology to them.

What’s Next?

As the field implies, emergent media is always being created and disrupting the space of current technologies by improving on what exists. Attempting to predict what comes next, can feel unrealistic, but as long as it is within the scope of what can be physically created, it could become the next thing to enter the mainstream. Science Fiction can feel unrealistic for example, but it is a good optimistic source of what humanity can be capable of. As such, we must not limit ourselves because something does not exist yet.

Adapting to new Emergent Media trends should be considered in any business strategy to stay ahead of the curve. Because it is ever changing and fluctuating, being able to predict the way emergent media captures new audiences, can improve the way they perceive your organization. With this in mind, your organization will be ready for the near and coming future!



Oscar Guzman

Bay Area based Communicator working in Social Media Marketing and Graduate Student at the University of San Francisco.