In the past, the primary form of information dissemination was made possible through print. The white space in the newspaper and magazines was the end-all and be-all for anyone who wanted anything to be known to the masses. Today, it is safe to say that things are certainly not the same as they were in the days of print media. New media, in the age of online information dissemination, has not simply taken the world by storm-it has simply taken the world over entirely.
Modern media is not only the kind of media that is regulated, but the kind of media that is made possible through each and every person’s ability to control their own form of information dissemination. Though the topic is highly broad and very complex, the following are some of the most important things to understand about today’s media and what differentiates it so strongly from the past.
Defining New Media
In the simplest terms, the term could be described as an umbrella category that hangs over everything related between the Internet and the various manners in which people engage in it in order to become aware of new happenings. The various forms of media we engage with today include the same forms of media that we’ve grown accustomed to over the decades, only in their digitized form. Pictures, videos and audio converted into a digital format are all eligible for the classification of “new” should they be used to shape of the opinion of ongoing events.
In a way, the word “new” in the term refers less to the forms of media themselves and more to the manner in which we digest them. Though there certainly isn’t anything new about recording coverage of a recent event, the speed with which we are able to disseminate and digest information about current events now is all but unprecedented compared to eras before.
Simply put, what is “new” is not necessarily our media, but the manner in which we are able to engage in media; an accelerated rate of media engagement, naturally, leads to a potentially different interpretation of the manner in which society is affected by the events that are covered.
Though there is not a consensus on who was responsible for coining the term, it is generally agreed that the term first emerged close to the end of the 20th century. It was towards the end of the 20th century that people first began to become familiar with the privilege of being able to access any kind of content at any time that they wished. Whereas the access to information dissemination that we had before was entirely controlled by time slots arranged by large corporations, the newest form of media has absolutely no time restrictions or regional barriers.
Whereas old media was strictly situated within its geographical boundaries, modern media is entirely region-neutral and allows any kind of information from around the world to be digested anywhere on any digital device. This new media that we engage with may be described as something that takes an old concept, the news, and converts it into a form that is more flexible and fast-moving than what was ever believed possible.