New media studies

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New media studies is a relatively young academic discipline that explores the intersections of computing, science, the humanities, and the visual and performing arts. Janet Murray, a prominent researcher in the discipline, describes this intersection as "a single new medium of representation, the digital medium, formed by the braided interplay of technical invention and cultural expression at the end of the 20th century". The main factor in defining new media is the role the internet plays; new media is effortlessly spread instantly. The category of new media is occupied by devices connected to the Internet, an example being a smartphone or tablet .Television and Cinemas are commonly thought of as new media but are ruled out since the invention was before the time of the internet.

New media studies examines ideas and insights on media from communication theorists, programmers, educators, and technologists. Among others, the work of Marshall McLuhan is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory. McLuhan’s slogan, "the medium is the message" (elaborated on his 1964 book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man),[1] calls attention to the intrinsic effect of communications media.

A program in new media studies may incorporate lessons, classes, and topics within communication, journalism, computer science, programming, graphic design, web design, human-computer interaction, media theory, linguistics, information science, and other related fields.

New media studies is the academic discipline which examines how our relationship with media has changed with the onset of global connectivity and the popularity of digital and user generated content.[2] New media studies seeks to connect computer sciences[3] and innovations in new media with social sciences and the philosophy of technology.[4]


Major figures[edit]

Marshall McLuhan is known in the study of media theory for coining the phrase, "the medium is the message" in its affect in communication in media. The medium affects how the media is delivered by the person and how the other person is receiving that media, while the characteristics of the medium affects the content in its delivery. McLuhan’s work challenged how media changed in the post-modern era which can also relate to present day use of media and its medium. Interface is defined as the common boundary of 2 bodies, spaces, or phases. Other Major works that also invoke his standpoint in the study of New Media including:

  • The Mechanical Bride (1951) - Which includes many short essays that analyze forms of media such as advertising, or newspaper in relation to society.
  • The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) - In this book, McLuhan Writes about technology like the printing press or electronic media changing how people share stories in their day-to-day lives.

Lev Manovich has written books on the topic of new media, and according to his personal page "has appeared on the top 25 people shaping the Future of Design," He has published nine different books regarding the topic of new media. Manovich believes in the five general principles of new media, as he discusses in his 2001 book, The Language of New Media they are:

  • Numerical Representation: essentially means that "all new media objects can be described mathematically and can be manipulated via algorithms."[5]
  • Modularity: are "elements can be independently modified and reused in other works".[5]
  • Automation: "Automation is seen in computer programs that allow users to create or modify media objects using templates or algorithms".[5]
  • Variability: is a "a new media object is not something fixed once and for all, but something that can exist in different, potentially infinite versions".[5]
  • Transcoding: Designates the blend of computer and culture, of "traditional ways in which human culture modeled the world and the computer's own means of representing it".[5]

Henry Jenkins came up with the convergence culture in the field on new media studies: "By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted."

Janet Murray is a professor at the School of Literature, Media, and Communications at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Murray is also a part of several design projects such as; a digital edition of the Warner Brothers classic, Casablanca. Janet works exclusively as a member of Georgia Tech's experimental game lab. Janet is also the author of the book Hamlet on the Holodeck; The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Along with this book, she is also a guest writer in The New Media Reader, where she is credited for writing one of the two introductions in the book called, Inventing the Medium.[6]

In Hamlet on the Holodeck; The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace,[7] Murray asks whether the computer can provide the basis for an expressive narrative form. The book acts as a textbook. It is designed to help designers in training develop a greater sense of understanding towards digital media. This book is also a theory of media change over the years. It really goes into depth on the relationship between technology and culture. Murray has ideas with a unique spin on them. She offers new thoughts and theories on new media studies, and this is what led to her being such a successful author.[8]

Important terms[edit]

One historical innovation that came out of new media studies is the use of Hypertext and its relationship with Index. The term "hypertext" was first used by Ted Nelson, who defined it in his self-published Literary Machines as "non-sequential writing.[9] Before the rise of the internet in the 1980s if someone wanted to find specific information they would use an index usually in a book or article. This would create a very linear way of finding information. What hypertext did to change this was enabling the reader or user to instantly find information on very specific topics allowing for a nonlinear way of finding information. The idea of hypertext as a way of accessing information can be traced back to 1945.[10]

Effects of technology[edit]

New media studies has integrated with many innovative forms of technology. The conformity of virtual real and actual real has been implemented in our everyday lives such as digital banking. With such interfaces with virtual real and actual real can simply be found at our financial institutions, primarily with the automated teller machines (ATM). ATMs consist of a computer, a multi-language-screen, keypad with braille, and even an earphone jack. These cash dispensers not only dispense cash but they can make deposits, transfer funds, check balances, print out recent transactions, and even change the pin numbers on debit/ATM cards. ATMs were made to help service customers and to promote a more convenient and time-sufficient banking experience. Virtual real is not necessarily the same thing as virtual reality. Virtual real is the midpoint of the transition from virtual to actual reality. For instance, when at the ATM and after inserting the ATM card, there is the interface with the screen that helps the customer communicate with the bank, in this case a computer. On the screen, it generates options for the customer to choose which services they would like to perform. At this point, this is considered the virtual real point because of the philosophy of knowing the fact you have a balance that is shown on the ATM screen. This will just state that amount available to use in the account. Actual real is when the cash has been dispensed and is held in your hands. The physical proof is now the actual reality.

In an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), there was a study involving a virtual reality environment that simulated ATM training for persons with acquired brain injury. Their conclusion of this study proves that virtual reality can be a useful tool in which it could easily be accessed online. Basically this helped conveniently providing training opportunities almost anywhere.[11]

Another example of digital banking is online banking. Online banking, or sometimes can be called mobile banking, has become the main way to keep track of bills and finances. Online banking offers more services to the customer than at the ATM. The advancement of online banking has made the world a dependent culture revolving around technology. Online banking also commercializes other products and services that a bank can offer to customers with their banking affiliates.

In a book called Critical Terms for Media Studies, the author illustrates his take on new media in technology: "technology---a focus on the mechanical aspects of media and the way that innovations and inventions transform the condition of both individual and social experience."[12]

With the focus on digital banking and ATM banking, we can conclude that our "individual and social experience" with technology will help understand new media studies.

The social effects of selfie portraits in social networking on smart phones is a current global phenomenon in the last 4 years. In the article from the Guardian titled "How selfies became a global phenomenon a nonacademic study was conducted in 2014. In the article a brief explanation on the ideology of the phenomenon of selfies has been in practice since photography has existed since 1839; in between the decades of 1970 through 1980 with the invention of the compact camera. The offshoot of selfie as a social phenomenon to its current form when Flickr gave way in 2004 and became augmented by the invention of the iPhone 4 in 2010; because this allowed the ability for the camera to be inverted allowing people to quickly take photos of themselves and then post the photos on their social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. An Ofcom communications report demonstrated that 90% percent of photos by teens increased from 79% in 2006. The selfie is a term used to explain where where people can take a pictures of themselves to post online on mediums such as Facebook; the issue asked by many social scientist; is if it produces an idea of being narcissistic or just taking a picture like any other. The American writer John Paul Titlow describes the selfie image as" high school popularity contest on digital steroids, in an article that he published in the website ReadWrite. The other issue in the article is about ownership of the selfie photos taken by the individual, the issue is of ownership. The author explains that such photos become public domain under these circumstances because they are being shared digitally on social medium. A recent study conducted by the faculty of Science and Technology, Sunway University, Malaysia by Teh Phoey and William Kosiash explains the advantage that the technology of smart phones with the ability to turn a take photo have eliminated "the need for the consumer to purchase expensive equipment to take pictures of themselves or locations they have visited." Cao conducted a study of 12000 selfies from 6 different countries that "demonstrated a correlated between gender and style of selfie", the result was that women tended to take more personal pictures than men. Further research on the subject involves the danger associated with the phenomenon of selfies on how it has been contributed on how people behave dangerously at times while taking selfie pictures that have involved serious injury and death. The selfie stick has led some social scientist to produce several studies conducted through social science studies to give indication to what may be a prediction of certain personality traits. An article titled "What selfies Really Tell Us About Our Selves" by Kate Murphy states that selfie photographs may indicate certain traits such as narcissistic, psychopathic and Machiavellian tendencies, however there is no conclusive method research performed that either negates or validates this article. In summer of 2015, theme parks, Disney World as well as Great Adventure and certain museums such as in Paris have banned selfie sticks due to possible property damage as well as safety risk because of injuries, this is reported by an article titled "Another major theme park just banned selfie sticks" by Benjamin Snyder. Recent study as published in the New York Times indicates that there are more deaths attributed to selfies than are shark attacks. In between 2014 and 2015, 12 people have died according to selfie pictures than a comparison to shark attacks which had a proportion of eight in comparison to 12.[13]


  • Strategies vs Tactics - The term strategies refers to the methods a producer intended for their creation to be used. The term tactics is referring to the ways individuals actually utilize a creation, regardless of the creators intentions, in order to make it more useful to them.[14]
  • Hypermediated - Hypermediation is a concept in new media studies that refers to a form of mediation in which media is connected in a very close way. Mediation, in this sense, deals with using indirect sources to create a direct connection between different types of media. This process is often done by the use of hypertext and through the Networked approach to new media. An example of hypermediation would be an online shopper who buys a particular item, then in turn gets links to related items, then articles related to those items etc.[15][16]
  • Web 2.0 - Web 2.0 is the concept of websites geared toward content created by users. Web 2.0 allows the web to be used as a platform. It also enables the users to control their own data. Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty invented the phrase Web 2.0 at the Media Conference in 2004. Some examples of Web 2.0 are Google AdSense, Flickr, BitTorrent, Napster and Wikipedia.[17]
  • Networking is a term that defines the transformation of old media to new media through communication that enables users to produce or compute material of their own on the internet. It's a medium that consists of blogs, emails, and social media networks which allows more global connections to reach many to share ideas.[18]
  • Commodification of Experience - The packaging of human experience in some form to be sold back to the consumer. This is a common term in study of the role new media plays. An example of the top-down ideal. Common examples include cable subscriptions, vacation resort packages, memberships and, more abstractly, one's presence on social media.[19]
  • Simulation is a term that can be defined as a virtual representation of reality. For example, according to New Media and Visual Culture, virtually, things seem real based on experience, but they are not real because they have not actually happened. French theorist, Jean Baudrillard, believed that simulation was the modern stage of simulacrum.[20]
  • Virtual - Lev Manovich describes a virtual world as an interactive world created by a computer that many people can access at one time.[21] A virtual world is an interactive and digital space. Virtual worlds are often created as a simulation of something which already exists in the physical world.[22]

Example studies[edit]

Social media pressures[edit]

Social pressure is the influence that is exerted on a person or a group by another person or group. It can also be defined as an influence by a group in a social situation that has influence on a person’s behavior. Social pressure can also be referred to as social influence.[23]

Social media is used by 1 in 4 people with Facebook having the most users every month averaging 1.4 billion users every month. 42 percent of adults, the majority of whom are under 30 years old, use multiple social networking sites, 45 percent of people aged 65 and older use Facebook. The average person spends 7.6 hours a month on social media.[24]

The expansion of social media has led to ill effects in the mental health of teenagers according to university of Glasgow doctors Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott. According to recent studies done by the medical professionals, teenagers aged 11–17 have been affected the most by the pressures of social media. A group of 467 teenagers were asked questions about self- esteem, anxiety, depression and sleep quality with the main question being, "How many hours do you use social media a day?" The results found that the group of teenagers had poorer sleep quality, lower self- esteem, higher rates of anxiety and depression. The teens who were more emotionally invested in social media mostly used it a night and felt like they if they did not immediately respond to a social media post or text message that they were missing out.

In addition to the effects the Cleland and Scott discovered, researchers at Johnson & Wales University, Qingya Wang, Wei Chen, and Yu Liang, found that college students who participated in social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) were both distracted in and out of the classroom and began habits of procrastination. These effects could later show negative progress on academic performance.

Other studies suggest that social media provides a platform for people to have personal satisfactions (i.e. relationship acknowledgment).[25]

Effects of social media[edit]

Various resources in which express the effects that social media has on society, one study specifically targets college students. This study exposes social anxieties, distraction for students in and out of the classroom, and pressures them with issues of multitasking. It shows proof that students do suffer in these three aspects from using social media. Understanding that social media may be doing more harm then good is debatable, considering this effects study recognizes that social media has positive aspects for its users, but insists its negative attributes may outweigh those that are good.[26]

Smartphones and interpersonal communication[edit]

In 2012, Andrew Przybylski and Netta Weinstein, of the University of Essex, conducted a study to show how smartphones can damage relationships. "Amazingly, they found that simply having a phone nearby, without even checking it, can be detrimental to our attempts at interpersonal connection." The study consisted of 100 pairs of strangers who talked for ten minutes in a private room with a book and either a phone or notebook. Each participant filled out a survey at the conclusion of the ten minutes. 71% of the pairs did not use a phone during the 10 minute conversation while 29% of the pairs were using phones. Przybylski and Weinstein concluded that interactions without a cellphone can promote connectedness, feeling of empathy and interpersonal trust.[27]

Paul Booth, PhD, an assistant professor at DePaul University in Chicago said, "There has been a shift in the way we communicate; rather than face-to-face interaction, we prefer mediated communication. We’d rather email than meet; we’d rather text than call."[28]


Starting in 2012, cable companies have seen the amount of subscribers drop drastically. Companies such as CBS as well as HBO have been offering streaming services on their respective websites. The main reason for companies to take measures like this is due to the availability of streaming online. Large brands have taken notice that their all-in-one cable packaging aren't keeping customers like in previous years. With online streaming, cable companies have to fight to keep up with these other services.

One thing that streaming offers that the cable companies don't is that there is an increased amount of flexibility. Stacy Jones stated that "Unlike most cable companies, streaming services offer the ability to sign up and cancel without termination fees." Streaming also offers a much different viewing experience than television does. Many of the streaming sites like Hulu Plus, Twitch TV, and Amazon Prime will notify one on their favorite shows after they subscribed (for free) to a show or streamer. It's also stated in the article that without internet you would be unable to watch a stream. Jones' article points out that with cable there are more shows available as well as some streaming. She states that "In some cases, a cable subscription will get you online programming from ESPN and other major networks that may restrict Web access for other Internet users".[29]

Cell phones and households[edit]

In 2015, the Pew Research Center, led by associate director Amanda Lenhart, conducted research on how cell phones affect teenagers online usage. Through online conducted polls they found that about 92% of teens go online at least once a day, with 24% of them admitting to being online "almost constantly." This being in a world where 88% of all teens ages 13–17 have access to a mobile device, 75% of them having a smartphone.

This study took to finding out how things such as social media, income, and even gender are connected in this swing of online activity. They found that Facebook is the most used site for teens coming in at a total of 71% of teens who use smartphones. They found that having a higher income leads to more use of sites such as Snapchat and Instagram, where as lower income teens tend more towards Facebook usage. The study also found that females tend to "dominate" social media, where as males are more likely to play video games.[30]

Virtual reality[edit]

Immersion is an element of new media that takes effect on an individual's online activity. Virtual environments require user-generated input in order to continue, and this connection causes involvement to be online in these environments for periods of time. A study takes the normal circumstances of an individual's virtual experience and tests whether or not the outside reality can affect a person's involvement in a virtual reality. In 1992, conducted by Slater and Usoh, a questionnaire asking individuals "Were there any circumstances that especially decreased your sense of being 'really there'?" The results: 4 out of 17 mentioned outside events including the speaker of the experiment where 6 out of 17 mentioned hardware and network issues. In the same study, a cup and saucer were purposely dropped to cause an involvement in the subjects' experience. It is reported by the subjects that the loud sound was coming from within the virtual environment rather than from outside reality.[31]

Mobile applications[edit]

Mobile applications are a unique, fast developing information and communication technology. They are made to be user friendly, cheap, downloadable and functional in most mobile phones. Research has been made on the usage of mobile applications and how it affects people in society by Matt Gardiner, an ophthalmologist at Mass. Eye and Ear. What he found was people’s upper body muscles tend to tense up, face muscles contort, and headaches happen as they stare at the screen for a long period of time.[32] People normally blink about 15 times per minute. However while using smartphones, that rate drops in half, causing dry eyes. An associate of Gardiner's, Gang Luo has then created an app called "SuperVision Magnifier" which brightens the images on your screen and uses the phone camera to provide more light for reading.


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  13. ^ Lee, Teh Phoey; Kosasih, William (2015-01-01). Rocha, Alvaro; Correia, Ana Maria; Costanzo, Sandra; Reis, Luis Paulo, eds. Exploring the Distance, Location, and Style of "Selfies" with the Self-Pano Mobile Application. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing. Springer International Publishing. pp. 875–884. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16486-1_87. ISBN 978-3-319-16485-4. 
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  26. ^ (Johnson&Wales University)
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