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Wilfrid Laurier University
Communication Studies
Hayward T

Old media/ new media October 12 2012 Lecture Dying dead and undead media When we think about media technology, we often focus on their adoption by users. How do we understand their obsolescence?  Bruce Sterling (science fiction writer,1954) coined the term “dead media” as a way of talking about how media move from being “contemporary” to “media that didn’t make it”  Every media we use is in the form of some sort of historical change Yet perhaps the notion of “dead media” over simplifies the process of obsolescence  They don’t become outdated all at once for all users  Different media may find alternative or niche uses-not all or nothing perspective.  The obsolescence is a question of both technology and of user habits (protocols of use) Media theorists Jussi Parikka talks about “zombie media”, media that are brought back, repurposed, adapted to serve different uses. Vinyl records and record players are a good example of this  Superceded by newer, “better” technologies (digital media), they still serve some uses linked to dj-ing  Integrated in different ways with “new” media (serato and other digital music systems)  Dj’s need base, clubs need base so therefore they still use record players to mix beats, tempo etc. Understanding media change The life cycle of media suggests that media technologies and practices are permanent A different model is to think of media as belonging to one of three stages:  Emergent- new and developing ideas, practices and artifacts that may become dominant  Dominant- those ideas, practices and artifacts that play a structuring role in society (shape what people do generally) in a particular area of society  Residual- ideas, artifacts or practices from the past that continue to be present today, although often combined with dominant or emergent practices. * These categories were developed by Raymond Williams (1921-1988) to analyze many forms of cultural artifacts and practices. The case of the newspaper One of the longest surviving major media forms is said to be entering a death spiral. Two approaches to this phenomenon are discussed in the readings: -an economic justification for its decline (sauvageau) -a case based on the habits of
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