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New Media Technologies: Communication Theories. COM 300 Kathy E. Gill 6 April 2005. Agenda. Recap Monday Characteristics of New Media Lab. Why Use a Technology?. Cognitive Needs – Desire (demand) for information, knowledge, understanding

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New Media Technologies: Communication Theories

COM 300

Kathy E. Gill

6 April 2005


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Agenda

  • Recap Monday

  • Characteristics of New Media

  • Lab


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Why Use a Technology?

  • Cognitive Needs – Desire (demand) for information, knowledge, understanding

  • Affective Needs – Aesthetic, pleasurable, and emotional experiences

  • Personal Integrative Needs – Inner-directed, deal with credibility, confidence, stability, and status

  • Social Integrative Needs – Outer-directed, strengthening relationships with family, friends, the world

  • Escapist Needs – Desire for tension release or diversion

    - Katz, Gurevitch, and Haas


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Diffusion Theory

  • Rogers (1995) outlined four parts:

    • Innovation

    • Social system

    • Time

    • Communications channels

  • And five steps:

    • Knowledge

    • Persuasion

    • Decision (adopt or reject)

    • Implementation

    • Confirmation


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Characteristics of New Media

  • Compare/contast with “old” media

  • Review Networks of Remediation

  • Examine McLuhan’s “medium is the message”

  • Review Manovich’s five points


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New Media Characteristics

  • A blend of characteristics from “old” media

    • Print

    • Radio

    • Film

    • TV


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Print Characteristics

  • Abstract

  • Fixed

  • Linear

  • Primarily verbal

  • Reader controls pace

  • Transient audience


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Radio Characteristics

  • Dynamic

  • Linear

  • “Live” — happening in real time

  • Auditory

  • Creator controls pace

  • Transient audience


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TV Characteristics

  • Dynamic

  • Linear

  • “Live” — may be happening now

  • Primarily visual

  • Animated

  • Creator controls pace

  • Transient audience


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Film Characteristics

  • Fixed

  • Linear

  • Primarily visual

  • Animated

  • Creator controls pace

  • Captive audience


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New Media

  • Typically nonlinear

  • Dynamic

  • “Live” (maybe)

  • Multi-media (visual, auditory)

  • Relies on hypertext

  • User controls pace and direction

  • Transient audience


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One new technology

Source: http://www.mala.bc.ca/~soules/CMC290/290wk5.htm


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Hypertext

  • Presents information as linked nodes

  • Breaks the linear narrative

    • Envisioned by Vannevar Bush (1945)

    • Coined by Ted Nelson

    • Apple : Hypercard

    • Online (software) Help systems

    • Tim Berners-Lee


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Networks of Remediation (1/5)

  • “A medium is that which remediates” … and it is measured “against” other media (like we just did)

  • New media in turn change the “older” media

    • TV … tickertape

    • Print … adopting web design conventions


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Networks of Remediation (2/5)

  • Economic success depends on supplanting a pre-existing medium

    • Conflict: newspaper websites v paper

    • Conflict: CDs v downloadable (sharable) songs

  • Hypermediacy

    • Survivor… The Apprentice… mediated or authentic?


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Networks of Remediation (3/5)

  • How do we separate technology from its social use? Can we?

    • Technological determinism : says technology causes social change … Social determinism is the converse

      • Corollary: “nature versus nurture” … “'technology-push” v “demand-pull”

    • Can new media technology offer us transparent democracy?

      • Howard Rheingold, John Perry Barrow


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Networks of Remediation (4/5)

  • Postman: “the uses made of technology are largely determined by the structure of the technology itself”

    • For example, arguably the underlying Net Tech is ‘old’ (TCP/IP) and yet adoption has proved to be a function of ‘ease of use’ (new software) and social necessity (network effects)


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Networks of Remediation (5/5)

  • “The Male Gaze”

    • Which economic sector was the first to be profitable online? (hint: the first letter is “p”)

    • Are webcams mediating today’s “strip tease” by providing a sense of immediacy and transparency? What about sites like “Wicked Weasel Bikinis” (Australian firm)?


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McLuhan (1/4)

  • Believes media (technologies) affect cultural (social) change

    • Differentiates between a medium and its content

    • Same content (words) is a different message when delivered in print, face-to-face, or on television


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McLuhan (2/4)

  • Historical Construct

    • Tribal Age (oral culture – intuitive)

    • Age of Literacy (invention of phonetic alphabet – emergence of logic)

    • Print Age (invention of printing press – linear thinking – science – individualism)

    • Electronic Age (ushered in with telegraph, poster child: TV – global village – decline of logic and linearity - image)


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McLuhan (3/4)

  • Theorizes that a print culture created conformity and continuity

    • Think about America’s #1 export: culture/movies/logos

  • Western technology and remote geographies:

    • Al Jazerra – satellite technology to most of the Middle East; banned by several ME countries


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McLuhan (4/4)

  • Compare our immediate knowledge of the 26 December Tsunami with the 1556 Chinese earthquake that killed 830,000

  • If, as he suggests, print created individualism and nationalism … what might networked communication create? Will familiarity breed contempt or collaboration?


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Manovich’s Five (1/6)

  • Numerical Representation

  • Modularity

  • Automation

  • Variability

  • Transcoding


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Manovich’s Five (2/6)

  • Numerical representation

    • “zero’s and one’s”

    • Vector graphics v Bitmaps

    • Analog v Digital

      • Early complaints about CD v LP


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Manovich’s Five (3/6)

  • Modularity

    • The “whole” consists of many “objects”

      • Example from blog: Google Images

      • PPT and Excel

      • HTML page (javascript, JPGs, etc)

      • Individual blog posts


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Manovich’s Five (4/6)

  • Automation

    • What computers do best!

    • From blog post: “Apple’s new OS X Tiger… and Automator”

    • Photoshop automation; running “Cron” jobs; database driven websites

    • RSS readers

    • Object management and search (Google)


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Manovich’s Five (5/6)

  • Variability

    • Website customization possible by automation

    • Presenting data (shaping appearance) based on output device: monitor, PDA, cellphone

    • Scaling (zoom – Google Maps)


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Manovich’s Five (6/6)

  • Transcoding

    • Two distinct layers: cultural layer and technology layer … the intersection is a field called Human-Computer Interaction


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Summary

  • We define (or frame) new media in comparison to old media

  • There is an intrinsic relationship between content and technology: both contribute to meaning

  • Churchill : “we shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us”


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