Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Skype: What is 'new' about new media?

Last Thursday, April 22nd, I presented my case study answering the question, “What really is ‘new’ about new media and how is it impacting upon society?” I decided to answer this question by using Skype as an example. I started off my presentation by giving a brief definition and overview of Skype. I explained to the class that Skype is a free online telecommunication service that allows users to communicate all across the world via calls, video messaging, and instant messaging. I researched the usage of Skype in today’s society and applied it five of the six characteristics of New Media; digital, interactivity, audience generated, narrowcasting, and multi-media forms. It is digital because Skype’s use of instant messaging is computer compressed and readable. There is interactivity between two or more people taking turns responding to each other. Skype is audience generated because it gives each user the ability to personalize their account. Skype is a form of narrowcasting because it is geared toward people who wish to communicate over long-distance, like families and business men/women who need to make conference calls. Skype also has many multi-media forms including video messaging, instant messaging, and phone calls.

I then went over a brief history of Skype and how it has progressed to where it is now. I also gave the class a brief overview of some of the benefits and features of Skype including Skype’s use of contacts, calls, messaging, and the brand new Skype Mobile. Skype Mobile was created March 2010 when Skype partnered with Verizon to allow free Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messaging through Verizon Wireless 3G smart phones. Skype Mobile is a form of new media because it converges many different forms of new media. Also, in any form of new media, there are always mishaps and room for improvement. Because of this, I briefly went over the controversy Skype had with surveillance issues in China.

I concluded my presentation by adding a little pop culture. I used Brad Paisley’s lyrics to his song ‘Welcome to the Future’ to help me explain what really is new about new media and how it has an impact on our society. In his song, he talks about how his Grandpa in World War II had to send letters to his Grandmother, but today we now have the use of video chat where we can communicate with others all around the world in an instant. It is amazing to me how far technology has come. Technology and new media is the future, and the future is now. I’m very interested to see where our society will be technologically in just a few years.

Below I have posted the official Skype website, as well as Brad Paisley's music video 'Welcome to the Future' if anyone is more interested in learning more about Skype or what Brad has to say about where our society is headed as far as new media is concerned.



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