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New media is described as communication technologies that enable or enhance interaction between users as well as interaction between users and content. In the middle of the 1990s, the phrase \"new media\" became widely used as part of a sales pitch for the influx of interactive CD-ROMs for entertainment and education. The new media technologies, sometimes known as Web 2.0, include a wide range of web-related communication tools such as blogs, wikis, online social networking, virtual worlds, and other social media platforms.
The phrase \"new media\" refers to computational media that share material online and through computers. New media inspire new ways of thinking about older media. Instead of evolving in a more complicated network of interconnected feedback loops, media does not replace one another in a clear, linear succession. What is different about new media is how they specifically refashion traditional media and how older media refashion themselves to meet the challenges of new media.
Writers and philosophers such as Marshall McLuhan were instrumental in the development of media theory during this period which is now famous declaration in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, that \"the medium is the message\" drew attention to the too often ignored influence media and technology themselves, rather than their \"content,\" have on humans' experience of the world and on society broadly.
Until the 1980s, media relied primarily upon print and analog broadcast models such as television and radio. The last twenty-five years have seen the rapid transformation into media which are predicated upon the use of digital technologies such as the Internet and video games. However, these examples are only a small representation of new media. The use of digital computers has transformed the remaining 'old' media, as suggested by the advent of digital television and online publications. Even traditional media forms such as the printing press have been transformed through the application of technologies by using of image manipulation software like Adobe Photoshop and desktop publishing tools.
Andrew L. Shapiro argues that the \"emergence of new, digital technologies signals a potentially radical shift of who is in control of information, experience and resources\". W. Russell Neuman suggests that whilst the \"new media\" have technical capabilities to pull in one direction, economic and social forces pull back in the opposite direction. According to Neuman, \"We are witnessing the evolution of a universal interconnected network of audio, video, and electronic text communications that will blur the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication; and between public and private communication\". Neuman argues that new media will:
Consequently, it has been the contention of scholars such as Douglas Kellner and James Bohman that new media and particularly the Internet will provide the potential for a democratic postmodern public sphere, in which citizens can participate in well informed, non-hierarchical debate pertaining to their social structures. Contradicting these positive appraisals of the potential social impacts of new media are scholars such as Edward S. Herman and Robert McChesney who have suggested that the transition to new media has seen a handful of powerful transnational telecommunications corporations who achieve a level of global influence which was hitherto unimaginable.
Based on the argument that people have a limited amount of time to spend on the consumption of different media, displacement theory argue that the viewership or readership of one particular outlet leads to the reduction in the amount of time spent by the individual on another. The introduction of new media, such as the internet, therefore reduces the amount of time individuals would spend on existing \"old\" media, which could ultimately lead to the end of such traditional media.
The rise of new media has increased communication between people all over the world and the Internet. It has allowed people to express themselves through blogs, websites, videos, pictures, and other user-generated media.
Terry Flew stated that as new technologies develop, the world becomes more globalized. Globalization is more than the development of activities throughout the world, globalization allows the world to be connected no matter the distance from user to user and Frances Cairncross expresses this great development as the \"death of distance\". New media has established the importance of making friendships through digital social places more prominent than in physical places. Globalization is generally stated as \"more than expansion of activities beyond the boundaries of particular nation states\". New media \"radically break the connection between physical place and social place, making physical location much less significant for our social relationships\".
However, the changes in the new media environment create a series of tensions in the concept of \"public sphere\". According to Ingrid Volkmer, \"public sphere\" is defined as a process through which public communication becomes restructured and partly disembedded from national political and cultural institutions. This trend of the globalized public sphere is not only as a geographical expansion form a nation to worldwide, but also changes the relationship between the public, the media and state.
\"Virtual communities\" are being established online and transcend geographical boundaries, eliminating social restrictions. Howard Rheingold describes these globalized societies as self-defined networks, which resemble what we do in real life. \"People in virtual communities use words on screens to exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk\". For Sherry Turkle \"making the computer into a second self, finding a soul in the machine, can substitute for human relationships\". New media has the ability to connect like-minded others worldwide.
Manovich and Castells have argued that whereas mass media \"corresponded to the logic of industrial mass society, which values conformity over individuality,\" new media follows the logic of the postindustrial or globalized society whereby \"every citizen can construct her own custom lifestyle and select her ideology from a large number of choices. Rather than pushing the same objects to a mass audience, marketing now tries to target each individual separately\".
The evolution of virtual communities highlighted many aspects of the real world. Tom Boellstorff's studies of Second Life discuss a term known as \"griefing.\" In Second Life griefing means to consciously upset another user during their experience of the game. Other users also posed situations of their avatar being raped and sexually harassed. In the real world, these same types of actions are carried out. Virtual communities are a clear demonstration of new media through means of new technological developments.
Anthropologist Daniel Miller and sociologist Don Slater discussed online Trinidad culture on online networks through the use of ethnographic studies. The study argues that internet culture does exist and this version of new media cannot eliminate people's relations to their geographic area or national identity. The focus on Trini culture specifically demonstrated the importance of what Trini values and beliefs existed within the page while also representing their identities on the web.
Social movement media has a rich and storied history (see Agitprop) that has changed at a rapid rate since new media became widely used. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation of Chiapas, Mexico were the first major movement to make widely recognized and effective use of new media for communiques and organizing in 1994. Since then, new media has been used extensively by social movements to educate, organize, share cultural products of movements, communicate, coalition build, and more. The WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity was another landmark in the use of new media as a tool for social change. The WTO protests used media to organize the original action, communicate with and educate participants, and was used as an alternative media source. The Indymedia movement also developed out of this action, and has been a great tool in the democratization of information, which is another widely discussed aspect of new media movement. Some scholars even view this democratization as an indication of the creation of a \"radical, socio-technical paradigm to challenge the dominant, neoliberal and technologically determinist model of information and communication technologies.\" A less radical view along these same lines is that people are taking advantage of the Internet to produce a grassroots globalization, one that is anti-neoliberal and centered on people rather than the flow of capital. Chanelle Adams, a feminist blogger for the Bi-Weekly webpaper The Media says that in her \"commitment to anti-oppressive feminist work, it seems obligatory for her to stay in the know just to remain relevant to the struggle.\" In order for Adams and other feminists who work towards spreading their messages to the public, new media becomes crucial towards completing this task, allowing people to access a movement's information instantaneously.
Some are also skeptical of the role of new media in social movements. Many scholars point out unequal access to new media as a hindrance to broad-based movements, sometimes even oppressing some within a movement. Others are skeptical about how democratic or useful it really is for social movements, even for those with access.
New media has also found a use with less radical social movements such as the Free Hugs Campaign. Using websites, blogs, and on