“New media” is a fluid term that seems to change its definition regularly. Basically, new media is related to the Internet and the correspondence between sound, images, and technology. While that may not be the clearest explanation, it is a very basic definition: To be more specific is tricky because the Internet and technology are ever-changing. However, the concept of new media is an important one for anyone who is looking for a way to disseminate information to a large group of people.
The phrase “new media” was first introduced in the 1970s and was in reference to communication and information technologies. In the 1990s, as the Internet rose to prominence, the term began to change. “New media” has been connected to technologies such as CD-ROM, streaming media, Web applications, HTML, and DVD video and editing. The fact that these technologies are constantly changing explains why the definition is so hard to pin down.
As technology changes, so does new media itself. When the evolution of the technology of new media advances, information globalization occurs. On-demand information is available today to people around the world in an interactive environment. Regardless of where you are, material can be shared, discussed, and commented on in real time. In order for technology to be considered new media today, it must be digitally interactive.
The advantage of the speed at which information can be shared can not be denied. Feedback and communication are enhanced due to instant accessibility. Personal and professional networking capabilities are improved with the use of social media. News can be accessed at any time, without having to wait for the evening news broadcast or a hot-off-the-press copy of the daily newspaper. While the advantages of new media are many, there are also some disadvantages. The constant barrage of news and information can be somewhat overwhelming, and it is not always easy to gauge the accuracy of information. Because so many people have the ability to share information and there aren’t always any editors or other gatekeepers to determine the quality of the news shared, you need to be sure of whether the report is coming from a credible source.
Like any source of communication, new media has both an up side and a down side. Either way, the age of digitally interactive technology is a real part of the world we live in. It will change as time goes on and new media will shift to meet the change, but in some capacity, it is here to stay.