We all know what the media is but more and more frequently we are hearing the term New Media being bought out into polite conversation. But what is New Media? New Media is digital technology that allows the user to interact with it be that via hyperlinks, creation of text, sound and images (Socha & Eber-Schmid, (2012). Its definition changes all the time and will continue in this fashion in order to keep up with changing technologies and it includes things such as online newspapers, blogs, social media, eBooks and so much more.
An interesting point about New Media is that though the concept and technologies may be relatively new, they have already changed our society and the way we think. New Media allows us to interact online in a participatory and interactive manner. It lets us think in a non-linear and decentred way which can be seen in the common use of icons and images to relay meanings. This gets our brains thinking in a more associational way rather than reading the written text and thinking logically (Allen, 2015, slide 10).
In the past (and probably now as well), western culture was very much a print based society. We read everything! As soon as the printer was developed in the middle ages everything was printed from newspapers to leisure activities such as novels to the majority of an office workers work. It was all down on paper for us to read in a very linear thinking and abstract way (Takacs, 2015, p. 217) as we could interpret the information as we saw fit. This was different to before the printer times were there was a much stronger emphasis on oral communication. This change from oral to print in Western society did not happen overnight. People had to learn a whole new way to communicate including learning how to read and this could not have been easy! But when it did change it changed society, and maybe not for the better… It took us from an engaged community where people had to interact and participate in order to communicate to a more silent, less intimate society (Takacs, 2015, p. 217).
So, if this major change in our society’s communication happened before, it could happen again right? With the introduction of New Media we are ALL having to learn a new way to communicate (just like reading all over again!?). How do I write an engaging blog? What is a micro blog and how do I use it? How can I share my pictures and ideas with the world and interact with people of like minds? These are all questions we have asked ourselves or will ask ourselves. They invite us to participate more with each other, to look up from our reading and actually think and engage with others. It may not be face to face, as it was in the past, but it can be just as real, emotional and immersive as having a coffee catch up with your best friend. New Media is allowing us to come together as a community again, getting us to share our experiences and ideas with our friends, neighbours, colleagues and even strangers from the other side of the world. It is changing the way we think and act and will continue to so as it continues to change.
So how do youths fit in to this you may ask? They are the future, the community and society that we are building now is for them. They are growing up with New Media and will most likely have a much stronger grasp on it then the adults of today’s world. New Media will be like reading is to us, second nature. We don’t think twice about reading menu, a poster or even a boarding pass so perhaps youths in the future will not even think twice about using a QR code or an interactive menu, it will just be second nature to them. If New Media continues to grow as has been then there is no doubt that youths will grow with it and bring back that participatory and engaging culture from the past and build even more on it. Though it may be all virtual, surely any interaction is better than none? Surely, building up online friendships, connections and communities of support is better than sitting alone watching TV?
Perhaps, New Media will allow us to have the best of both worlds. We can engage with others in meaningful ways via social media, streaming videos and virtual realities. But we still read bulk text, even if it isn’t physically printed, by looking at information on the internet such as comparing health insurance providers or looking at IMDB for information about your favourite movie.
So, is this a world that Youths have to look forward to? Will they be able to see the benefits of engaging with New Media and foster it? Or will they regress to the print society and become a community with less participation? I guess all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride of New Media!
Allen, C. (2015). Lecture Week 11 – What is New Media? [Lecture Slides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_117279_1&content_id=_5893338_1
Socha, Bailey & Eber-Schmid, Barbara. (2012). Defining New Media Isn’t Easy. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.newmedia.org/what-is-new-media.html
Takacs, Tracy (2015). Interrogating Popular Culture: Key Questions [Taylor & Francis]. Retrieved from http://www.tandfebooks.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/isbn/9780203766583