So, New Media. Media created using the technology of our time. As I write this, in 2015, we create images using software like Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator, edit 3D models using Google SketchUp and Autodesk 3Ds Max, and browse through masses of internet webpages using Google and Bing.
I’d like to think that this blog will outlast my University life, and hopefully be part of a professional career. If it should, I expect that I will look back at these original posts in years to come, when we wear all our technology, and a single pc can solve the protein-folding problem, and think how slow and clumsy everything used to be. By then of course, we will have a completely different face to New Media. All of these pieces of software will be old hat, only visible in museums as relics of a bygone era. But then, if there were no progress, we’d still be sleeping under trees and searching for grubs to eat under rocks (imagine Bear Grylls in a loincloth, that kind of thing).
Communication has been a massive part of that progress, and spreading that progress to all edges of the globe (I’d say corners but, you know, since Earth’s a sphere and all…), but how important is it really?
The Importance of New Media and Communication
- So, Why is it important to study media and communication and it’s effect on society?
- Well, it’s important to understand the thing that you are using. In our everyday lives, we take the existence of lots of things for granted. Twitter, for example, is something that many of us use it on a daily basis, but how many of us truly know how twitter works, or what it is really capable of. For many people, this is a non-issue, as they are simply using it as a social platform, but for someone who wanted to use it in advertising, or build an add-on app for it, this level of knowledge simply isn’t sufficient. In order to use it effectively, it must be understood. Part of this understanding comes from knowing and understanding its origins and development over time. So it is with New Media. In order to use elements of New Media, we must know and understand it.
- What would society do without communication?
- It is not only important to look at what New Media can give us as a tool for the digital industry, but what it does to us as a society. For example, what would society look like if we had never invented these forms of communication? Media is the foundation of most of modern society, from our social media, to filling out government forms, to watching Pop tart cats fly through space. If we didn’t have any forms of modern communication, it would be impossible to reach a mass audience. This lack of mass regional, national and international communication would mean that instead of growing up with knowledge of other parts of the world, the human race would have grown up in pockets, at different speeds, and in different ways. There would be no social norm across the globe, no conforming to ideas, because there would be no way to present these norms to everyone at once (Bear Grylls, loincloth, remember that).
Conforming to Communication
There is media everywhere. From the television we watch, and the advertising billboards we see; to the news we read, and the games we play, we are being shown things that make us think in certain ways. This level of media can subconsciously impart unrealistic views and expectations in us, and affect how we approach life. This era of mass communication also means that what we do is constantly being monitored, especially online. We are constantly being profiled so that certain advertisements and webpages are sent in our direction, so that we only see adverts and webpages that are relevant to us, making us more likely to visit the page, or purchase the advertised product. However, mass media can also place a set of social standards and values into our heads to conform to, teaching us how to act, and what is right and wrong, or politically correct or incorrect.
The Effects and Dangers of Media
Mass media is an excellent way to transmit data and information to large numbers of people across the globe almost instantaneously, but the technology is so ubiquitous in modern society that we barely notice its existence. It is so ubiquitous that it can plant thoughts and values in our heads without us realising it.
I am aware that these final sections of this post do sound like I am trying to unearth some sort of government conspiracy theory to brainwash the population (quite a journey considering we began with an image of a near-naked Bear Grylls in our heads). I assure you, that is not what I am trying to do. Nevertheless, media can be dangerous. For example the propaganda posters used in both World Wars, designed to make the population think in a certain way about the enemy. True, some of the things displayed were completely inaccurate, but that’s not the point. They worked. Even nowadays, two different newspapers can each put a different spin on the same story and make them sound completely different. This is possible because these people understand what their form of media is capable of, and it’s limitations. In order to create an effective piece of media, it has to be understood.