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Chapter 4-3

CMNS 221 Chapter 4-3: Totally Wired: Youth and new media

Course Code
CMNS 221
Martin Laba

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Totally Wired: Youth and new media
New media and youth cultures of production and consumption
The “Buffy wars” crystallised many issues surrounding cultural production, circulation,
control and consumption in the fast-changing landscape of the new media
Notion of a dawning age of postmodern ‘hyperreality’ with borders between formerly
separate areas of cultural life increasingly effaced in a media-saturated world where
distinctions between the real and the imaginary became increasingly hazy
Technological developments posed a particular challenge to the conventional means
through which producers and state agencies maintained control of cultural forms
The emergence of new media technologies had encouraged more active modes of
media consumption
New media developments may also have impacted upon cultural allegiances and
New media technologies may have accelerated the dissolution of barriers of time and
space, redefining notions of the ‘global’ and the ‘local’ and offering possibilities for the
development of new communities based on affinities of interest, politics or any form
of cultural identity
The new potential for cultural production and participation in cyberspace might also
have fed into a wider ‘decentring’ of identity in contemporary society, with individuals
able to articulate an ever-widening range of diverse identities and selves
In popular discourse youth is often presented as being at the cutting edge of these
Young people and new technology are often yoked together in discussions about the
nature of contemporary social change since both concepts embody similar
teleological assumptions about growth, progression and development
The Digital Revolution and The World of New Media
New media encompasses not only new forms of media delivery, but also new
convergencies between media technologies and new ways in which people use, and
interact with, medias texts
A higher quality of reproduction and allows for easier, faster and more reliable usage
The advantages of digital technology allowing the rapid ascent of the CD as the
dominant platform for recorded music
Growth of the internet provided the crucial stimulus that brought together these
different digital applications
The meteoric rise of the web further accelerated the shift from analogue to digital
formats and was the decisive force that drew together the range of sophisticated
digital technologies
Digitalization is seen by many commentators as representing an especially dramatic
moment of technologically driven change
Digital technology has facilitated a shift to narrowcasting, with producers able to tailor
media content to specific niche market segments
The character of the web is distinctly interactive
Computer games also offer a strong sense of interactivity
The development of games played from a first-person perspective further heightened
the immersive experience of computer gaming
The degree of media convergence made possible by digital technology
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The use of digital code by new media means they share a common form of data
storage and distribution
This greater convergence between media formats has also brought increasing
overlap and interdependence between media products
The convergence of digital media forms has allowed a much greater degree of media
intertextuality and market synergy
The convergence of digital, satellite and cable technology, has transformed systems
of media distribution, allowing producers to escape the geographical, cultural and
regulatory boundaries that formerly governed media circulation and reception
The rise of new media technologies has engendered the most radical dissolution of
the barriers to time and space which have constrained human communication since
we left the savannas and learnt to use language
The new media have supplemented rather than swept away older formats
Significant continuities exist between old and new, with new media systems relying
on existing technologies
McLuhan’s vision of the global media village, may still be a long way off since the
world remains starkly divided between the media rich and the media poor
Rather than being a force that exists independent of society, technological
development is always deeply embedded in a wider nexus of social, economic and
political relations
The proliferation of new media systems can be seen as a consequence of political
and industrial pressures for the liberalisation of economic markets during the 1980s
and 1990s
As many countries loosened the regulation of their media structure, large business
corporations scrambled to take advantage of the new business opportunities, moves
which relied upon the exploitation of new media formats and quicker, more efficient
forms of trans-global communication
As the new media and communications technologies initially took shape, they held
out the promise of a more decentralized and democratic business environment
Digitised media may have given consumers more choice, but the playing field
remains dominated by the major business corporations who have deployed the full
power of the new technologies in their attempts to exploit and control lucrative global
A growing convergence of media formats had spurred greater moves towards
business conglomeration
The major corporations have also sought to neutralise any potential threat new media
technologies might post to their structures of cultural control and their ability to
channel profits
As the campaign against illegal downloads continued, the legitimate market for online
music proliferated
The Buffy Bringers have broadened their remit to become an international pressure
group working to defend online fan culture
The new communications technologies have certainly allowed the major media
producers to monitor, segment and target markets much more effectively
A dramatic leap forward in consumer surveillance, the new technologies allow
companies to amass a wealth of sophisticated sales data through the analysis of
interactive media usage
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