In what follows, we briefly outline the main trends regarding a discussion of wearable technology on two Finnish digital news platforms: Helsingin Sanomat (HS) and YLE. The former is one of the largest commercial newspapers in Finland with paid access to its materials. In 2019, HS had around 100 000 regular digital subscribes, and an average number of daily readers exceeded one million. The state owned broadcaster YLE is financed by an annual tax and includes a TV, radio and online news webpage. As a public broadcaster, YLE offers all its services for free. In 2019, 96% of Finns have accessed one of YLE’s services at least once per week, and the resource has managed to appeal to a very diverse audience
The first article on wearable technology appeared in Helsingin Sanomat in 2000, while YLE mentions it for the first time in 2005. Up until 2013, wearables have been featured predominantly in relation to professional sports. However, the number of articles discussing or mentioning wearable technology increased substantially between 2014 and 2016 (see a graph below). This trend might be explained by Apple’s announcement and followed presentation of Apple Watch, and Google’s development of the smart glasses. These devices signaled that wearable technology has become available not just to professional sportsmen/women, but also to ordinary consumers. From then on, the number of articles discussing wearables has been fluctuating, but the theme has remained on agenda in both Helsingin Sanomat and YLE.
Topics discussed in relation to wearable technology are quite diverse. Naturally, Science and Technology has been the main category to contemplate on the subject. Quite surprisingly, economic issues, including commercializing of wearables, business projects and general trends in the market of wearable technology have been resurfacing in digital media, particularly HS. Finnish wearables’ entrepreneurs, their success and challenges turned out to be a prominent theme, particularly in relation to how these businesses add to Finland’s image abroad. Other important categories that frame the debate on wearables in Finnish digital media are health and well-being, opinions and lifestyle. The opinions’ category, as a rule, includes materials on testing a new wearable (usually a smartwatch) by a journalist with outlining its main advantages and disadvantages. These articles are sometimes written in a form of a diary where an author describes their experience day-by-day. As far as health, well-being and lifestyle are concerned, these have been quite traditional categories related to wearable technology, and they have been quite prominent not just in media, but also in academic research.
To be continued (we will add to this post when proceeding further with our analysis)…