WordPress Words: Media

According to The Business Dictionary, digital media “includes photos, video and music, distributed over the Internet, which are either non-copyrighted or copyrighted materials provided either freely or for a fee.”

How Does Media Effect Us?

Media plays a very important role in today’s society and greatly impacts how we communicate with one another. Almost any form of mass communication can be regarded as media, such as television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet. WordPress itself is a form of media, because it’s a means for people to communicate through a medium. Although media can exist in many different forms, we want to talk about media and its relation to WordPress. This means we want to talk about online media, or more specifically, digital media and how it can be used in WordPress.

Images, video, and audio are all media within WordPress. Using more than one of these mediums of communication at one time is referred to as multimedia. These help us convey our ideas and sentiments to others in a meaningful way and engages the viewer. In addition, it draws people’s attention to your website.

Users place great importance upon media, even if they don’t know it. Timely and appropriate media can make viewers feel comfortable and encourage them to return to your website. In contrast, untimely and inappropriate media might deter potential followers. Media can make or break you, and it’s the small details that really matter. Below is a table provided by the University of Guelph via Teachers Support Services that highlights the pros and cons of the different types of media, when they should be used, and when they’re not recommended:

This table offer suggestions on when it's appropriate to use media, and lists the pros and cons of each type of media.

Media in WordPress

WordPress handles a variety of digital media as content and design elements. In design, WordPress Themes, header art, and images in the Widgetized areas are restricted to JPG, GIF, and PNG files. In the post and Page content, other media types are permitted as links, not displayable content, such as Word documents, PDF, and other downloadable media.

Video files maybe hosted on a site or through a third-party service such as YouTube or Vimeo. The video files would be embedded into the content areas with links via embed codes or WordPress shortcodes. You may also read more about WordPress video shortcodes on ClarkWP.

Media may be hosted on the site or, like video, off-site on services such as Flickr, or on Content Distribution Networks (CDN), off-site storage for multimedia. There are a variety of WordPress Plugins for CDN management available as well.

WordPress permits linking and embedding from all of these sources, however, while WordPress does not limit file sizes, PHP does. There is a limit by default restricting images to under 4-8 MB unless the server settings are changed to accommodate larger file sizes.

Media is also a main menu item in the WordPress Administration Screens that leads to the Media Library page. The Media Library contains all the images, audio, and videos that you’ve uploaded to the Media Library. Within the Media Library, you can view and sort through all your media or select which media items you would like to view using the drop-down menus within the Media Library Navigator. The snapshot below highlights all the important features and aspects of the Media Library, including where to find the media button:

This image highlights the Media button in the administrator's panel, as well as where media content is located and where to navigate through your media.

Media is an integral part of web design and development. As WordPress users, authors, designers, and publishers, we have an obligation to deliver appropriate and timely media to our followers. In addition, we must organize and maintain our media using the Media Library. Keep in mind that media on the internet isn’t necessarily free for anyone to use. It’s our duty to use media responsibly and legally. This means you should make sure you’re not violating any copyright laws or policies when attempting to use media for your own purposes. Public domain media is unprotected by intellectual property rights and free for all to use or build upon.

Media can be used to accessorize your website, impress your viewers, and express yourself. Start using media in creative, effective, and aesthetic ways and utilize media to its full potential to create meaningful and entertaining content for all your viewers to enjoy.

More Information on Media

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