New Media

New media is a term that gets said a lot with the asumption that you just automatically know what it is. It doesn’t matter who you are, the term “new media” has a meaning to you. often it’s not the same meaning for everyone as there has been no set definition for it yet. For me, it means interactive content often seen and/or published on the internet.

That means that it is often created or produced by individuals, possibly even a small company, instead of by big corporations. It’s content that you probably would never have seen on a tv network or even in a movie, book, or magazine. Generally those forms of media are referred to as “old”. They typically function in a producer to viewer model with limited to no interaction back to the producer from the viewer. New media on the other hand allows for a diologue between producer and viewer. It also allows for viewers to become producers much easier than the older media did. Though big corporations produce their fair share of new media content.

For me, new media really started to come around with the spread of the personal computer, internet, and social media platforms. It let people get there hands on tools to create things, ways to self publish their work, and allowed them to gather audiences from all over the world to view their content. It allowed for the spreading of media in a completely new way that cut out the big media companies and publishers. Thus the term “new media” being applied to it.

Also, this form of media and the technology that makes it possible has not been around for nearly as long as the older mediums have. The personal computer market started in the 1970s but didn’t really hit big until the 1980s with the riase of the Graphical User Interface (GUI). The internet itself was being structured for comercial use through the 1980s and early 1990s. So if you go from the start of the network mergers which happened around 1981, the internet as we know it has only been around for about 35 years. That’s bairly any time at all considering film, aka the moving picture, has been around since the 1890s. Which makes it a 125+ year old media form.

So even putting the actual age difference aside, for me, new media is new media because of the spreadability of the content and the communities that spring up around it.

(photo credit Atos under Creative Commons License)

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