New media Features and effects
Limiting the discussion • Stick to “mass” communication • New media provide features of both mass and interpersonal media • There are many ‘fence-sitting’ cases in today’s media environment • YouTube • Personal or organizational websites
Features of new media • Although new media share many features with radio, TV, VCRs, film, etc. they provide for higher user levels of: • Interactivity • Choice/selectivity • Presence • Access
Interactivity • Interactivity, generally speaking, is the influence that the audience member can have on the media experience • Remote control • Letters to the editor • Movie ticket choice • DVD purchase • Voting for American Idol • Sending questions for on-air political candidates • Calling in to Delilah (Gack!)
New forms of interactivity • Rewind, reverse motion, frame-by-frame stepping, etc. • Hypertext/hypermedia • Alternate endings • Game controls • Online shopping--custom ordering
The new forms of interactivity demand much less effort and generate much more immediate response than earlier forms • Series of interactions are ‘programmed into’ the content • Video games are the archetypal case
Effects of interactivity • Interactivity appears to increase attention • Interactivity takes effort • Certain forms appear to be little used • Replay, reverse • Interactivity enhances learning of some content • Especially where repetition is helpful • Landing a jet • Interactivity increases enjoyment of a number of media experiences • Video games • Interactivity increases presence and realism
Choice/selectivity • Ability to choose content for consumption is increased by: • Vastly increased access • Multiple media • Convergence/digitalization • Free access to/reduced cost of content • Greatly increased speed of access (broadband) • Vastly increased interactivity • Hypermedia • Remote control/multi-media hardware • You can turn on the DVD, CD player, TV, Online source, etc. all from one place through one system
Choice/selectivity • Increasing ability to focus on preferred genres and media • May enhance individual media experience • Can spend more time with content you enjoy • Makes it easier for individual tastes, beliefs, attitudes, etc. to determine the content you are exposed to (and, perhaps, its interpretation) • Will it lead to the development of small groups of fans devoted to narrowly-defined content? • Even to idiosyncratic exposure, perception, etc.
Will it reduce the level of shared understanding and/or the dedication to the larger society found among its members?
Access • Vast databases are available to almost anyone in the society at limited or no cost • Hardware and software exist at limited cost which can to make the content available to us at any time anywhere • We are an “overcommunicated society” • Media content is ubiquitous • Will people choose such content over real-world interaction? • Social isolation
Presence • This is the tendency to experience mediated reality as though it were unmediated • It’s a matter of degree • It is not necessary for the mediated reality world to follow the rules of the ‘true physical environment’ we live in [or think we do] • We can feel as though we are experiencing a reality with different rules than the one we know