What is New Media?
Wikipedia has become one of the most popular storehouses of knowledge in the new media age, so I think it’s interesting to begin with the definition of new media on Wikipedia:
“New media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, and creative participation. Another aspect of new media is the real-time generation of new and unregulated content.
Most technologies described as “new media” are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible, and interactive. Some examples may be the Internet, websites, computer multimedia, video games, CD-ROMS, and DVDs. New media does not include television programs (only analog broadcast), feature films, magazines, books, or paper-based publications – unless they contain technologies that enable digital interactivity. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is an example, combining Internet accessible digital text, images and video with web-links, creative participation of contributors, interactive feedback of users and formation of a participant community of editors and donors for the benefit of non-community readers. Facebook is an example of the social media model, in which most users are also participants.”
New media is a broad term in media studies that emerged in the latter part of the 20th century. For example, new media holds out a possibility of on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, creative participation and community formation around the media content. Another important promise of new media is the “democratization” of the creation, publishing, distribution and consumption of media content. What distinguishes new media from traditional media is the digitizing of content.
New Media and Digital Divide.
New media has had a profound effect on of the most essential categories of society in the twenty-first century: economics politics, and the exchange of ideas.
Economically, new media is the globe’s commercial skeleton. Fiber optic wiring networks between the world’s cities connect one to another to another…. Not only does this simple fact make global finance and trade a physical reality, since data networks between firms and investors are universally accessible, but it also impacts the possibilities and conceptions of so-called “old commercial” enterprises while giving rise to new ones. Every time a customer goes online to shop for that rare book title, or that overstocked iPod, or even the digital camera from a large retail store available down the block, new media is on both sides of that transaction. New media is not only the product but helps to mould the process of electronic commerce.
Perhaps the most interesting part of new media has to do with the restructuring of research, global economics, social interaction, and the currents of writing and dissemination of all information that have accompanied its emergence. Web and blog-writing in particular are not particularly revolutionary or ground-breaking because it changes the way people use language or construct basic sentences. It is ground breaking because it allows people to structure and nest information into documents differently. In today’s average web/blog post, news articles, op-eds etc. are not only entries in mixed media (photos, writing, and video) format, but they are organized according to hyperlink organization.
It is well known that data organization differs greatly in twenty-first century new media. Take for instance, the single most influential tool in casual research and data-storage: Wikipedia. It is virtually impossible to search an article that is published on Wikipedia without coming across a hyperlink to another page of data; in fact, it is more accurate to say that it’s difficult to come across an entry with fewer than ten hyperlinks. In addition to the classical mode of citing sources at the end of a document with trusted texts and data, Wikipedia exemplifies a style of information technology that is based on the interconnectedness of ideas and events.
Here it is important to note one way that “new media” may not actually be all that new: During the French Enlightenment, the authors of the fame Encyclopedia created a system of footnotes that referred to certain other entries. The same is largely true in hyperlink writing. While the content that is mentioned and presented within an article may be accurate, it is important to note that the selection of sources. This quality makes research a more shaded and complex enterprise and sometimes even enriches the reader’s understanding of a given issue.