Monday, January 19, 2009

What is new media?

New media is a term used frequently by people to describe the current generation of media technologies, but what exactly is "new" about new media?

Consider these responses...

Based on these interviews and opinions, what seem to be the key components of new media?

1 comment:

Sean Choate said...

Something that bugs me about the term "media" is that, while the public at large uses multiple definitions of the word--sometimes without even knowing it--we are content to leave it as nebulously defined in a classroom setting.

The Oxford Dictionary definition is only so useful for determining what "new media" is as well. More useful, perhaps, is the singular form.

In this case, old media are television broadcasts (not the shows on them, which, for convenience, we could call content), newpapers, radio broadcasts, etc. Also, let us call the companies and individuals which produce the content "content creators" (though, this, too is problematic when differentiating groups like the RIAA and MPAA from musicians, actors and others.) So, let's simply refer to these groups collectively as "sources."

Now New Media could be strictly defined as any medium where the source groups and audience groups have a great deal of overlap, if they are not entirely indistinguishable. For example, this blog post. I (the audience) am communicating with the original content creator, but I can add content of my own. I would point out that the content doesn't have to be my own original work. I could post an mp3 here if I wanted to. Thus, I am source and audience at the same time.

One more example to complete the point: what then of ARGs? These, and other viral marketing techniques are cases where the original source attempts to infiltrate content entirely into the audience without being noticed, so that source and audience are truly indistinguishable.