Thursday, December 22, 2011

What is New Media?

To answer the question, 'New Media' is a broad term that is used to describe various forms of interactive, electronic communication. The internet acts as the foundation for almost all forms of electronic communication, and studies show that these new forms are gradually replacing older forms, such as newspapers, radio and television. Examples of 'New Media' include: text messaging, social networks, podcasts, blogs and wikis and Youtube. I will now give a general overview of each type 'New Media' previously mentioned.
Text Messaging This form of communication is now becoming the preferred method of communication among the younger generation.It requires that both parties have access to a cell phone- signals are transmitted from the sender to the receiver of the text message via signals that emanate from cell phone towers. Like all other 'New Media' text messaging provides for a convenient and quick way to receive information. In the world of business, text messaging is constantly used for the purpose of appealing to customers and the wider target audience. For example, after the 2009 earthquake in Haiti the Red Cross found this form of communication very valuable. The Red Cross partnered with cell phone service providers and appealed to the public to make financial commitments by texting the word 'HAITI' and the increment being donated to a special cell phone number. The Red Cross received an overwhelming response from the public which was a huge help to the Haitian victims. In this case, the 'New Media' was used along with 'Old Media' such as newspaper, radio and television (used to spread the word about texting option) to form an effective media campaign. If this form of 'New Media' was not available, this would have prolonged the response time, because cash and checks take a longer time to process. Social Networks A social network can best be described as an extension of real-life, specific groups in an online forum. The most popular social networking sites include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The value that a business owner can receive from having a presence in the world of social networking is that it allows the owner to reach audiences that he/she may not have otherwise have the opportunity to meet if social networks did not exist. Also, it allows for direct, fast feed-back from customers and target-audiences at large as it relates to products/services. Social networking allows the business owner to be flexible with how he/she spends their time. For example to attend a real-life networking event, the business owner will have to take time away from the business, sometimes pay an entrance fee and in the end there is no guarantee that his/efforts will generate business. With social networking, the business owner can build relationships, without taking significant time away from running the business, there is usually no, or minimal cost attached to being part of a social networking community and there is not a huge feeling of loss if his/her online efforts does not generate business right away. As it relates to audience feed-back, if the business owner were to use the approach of mailing surveys for example, as opposed to utilizing his/her online community it would be very costly and gathering feed-back would be a long, labor-intensive process. Podcasts A podcast is any digital audio and/or video content that can be downloaded and played on a computer or digital music/video player. One of the likable features of this form of communication is that it empowers the user to listen/see their favorite programs at a time that is convenient to them. In the article, 'Podcasts: New Twist on Net Audio,' Daniel Terdiman shared:
"For anyone who loves listening to the wide variety of internet audio programming, but can't always listen to their favorite shows when they're scheduled or take the time to download them manually, help has arrived."
From the perspective of a business owner, podcasts can be used to enhance existing marketing efforts in which older forms of media are being utilized. Placing an ad during a podcast segment, allows the business owner's message to reach a wider audience, thus a better outcome can be predicted in terms of sales. Blogs A blog is usually comprised of a series of news, commentary and diary-like pages arranged in chronological order using a Content Management System. Business owners are increasingly using blogs as a way of expressing their views on current issues and/or sharing direct information with target audiences about new developments related to products/services. Like most 'New Media', the blog creates a conducive environment for the business owner to interact directly with the target audience and receive fast, timely feedback. Blogs should be used as an accessory to a standard website, and should be seen as another avenue with which to interact directly with audiences. Wikis The wiki concept is similar to that of a collaborative effort. Essentially it is a document that exists online, and viewers can easily make edits to the document- these edits are recorded so that all users have access to them. For a business owner, wikis hold the promise of saving time and money that would have otherwise be used up for travelling, mailing or even e-mailing. As such, wikis can easily become the communication tool of choice for interdepartmental and global collaborations because it can save companies time and money. Youtube This is an internet platform that allows users to upload video content and share the said content with the public. YouTube is the main source of videos "going viral,", which translates to a video becoming popular (viewed by millions) in a very short space of time. In the Clive Thompson article titled, 'How YouTube Changes the Way We Think,' the author used the example of how MadV's video post had garnered an overwhelming response from other YouTube users:
"Within a few days, hundreds of YouTube users had posted videos—shot on webcams, usually in their bedrooms—displaying their own scrawled messages: "Don't quit!" "Tread gently." "Think." "Carpe diem." "Open your eyes." And my favorite, "They could be gone tomorrow!" Soon, MadV had inspired 2,000 replies, making it the most-responded-to video in YouTube's history."
It will not cost the business owner anything to upload a video about his/her business to YouTube, again saving time and money that would have otherwise be spent on creating and placing an ad on television. With the exception of text messaging, the internet is the back-bone of all other forms of new media- these systems cannot operate in its absence. The image used in this blog was sourced from:

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