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Communication, Culture and Technology
Rhonda Mc Ewen

CCT109 Textbook Notes Chapter 1 What does the society find in new media that’s so novel? And what role does new media play in wider social change, as it is already deeply embedded in the debates, processes, and practicalities of our society? Convergence: the process by which media technologies, industries, and services are emerging—through changes in computing, communication networks, and content. Internet is one of the most important new media forms of the late twentieth century and early twenty first century. Media considered “new” for its time is now considered “old”. Any approach to new media that only catalogues the technologies themselves, and fails to ask the broader questions about the contexts of their use and their social and cultural impacts, ignores the central question of why there is a need to look at new media in the first place. We must ask “what’s new for the society about a new media” rather than “what are the new media”. But this leads to a bigger question: whether, and how, technologies can act as factors in wider social change while being already embedded in a social context. According to Francis Bacon, three discoveries had been central to making out the period in which he lived as one that was dramatically different from those preceding it: 1. Printing: changed literature 2. Gunpowder: changed warfare 3. Magnet: changed navigation Communication The way new media has been defined Networks Mobile Cable TV, previously is by using three Cs: Telephony Interactive TV 1. Computing and Information Technology Internet (IT) Computing/ and World Wide Web Content 2. Communication Networks Information (Media) 3. Content and Digitized Media arising out technology CD-ROM, of another process, (a fourth C), DVD Convergence. Convergent media can be seen as combining computing, communications, and media content in the way shown in the figure above Convergence refers to the interlinking of computing and information technology, communication networks, and media content that occurred with the development and popularization of the internet, and the convergent products, services, and activities that have emerged in the digital media space. CCT109 Textbook Notes Chapter 1 Example: Not only do we have media companies that own internet companies, but television shows with complementary websites, all available on devices such as mobile phones and computers that were formerly dedicated to conversations and calculations. Convergence is generating a ‘flat earth’ where activities conducted through digital media can occur in any part of the world. Second element of convergence is the morphing of devices (computers, mobile phones, televisions, etc) as they become multipurpose conduits for a range of activities involving digital media. New media can also be considered digital media. These are forms of media content that: (1) combine and integrate data, text, sound, and images of all kinds, (2) are stored in digital formats, and (3) are increasingly distributed through networks such as those based on broadband fibre-optic cables, satellites, and microwave transmission systems. Such media, or forms of digital information have characteristics of being:  Manipulable: digital information is easily changeable and adaptable, at all stages of creation, storage, delivery, and use  Networkable: digital information can be shared and exchanged between large numbers of users simultaneously, and across enormous distances  Dense: very large amounts of digital information can be stored in small physical spaces (ex. Usb drive) or on network servers  Compressible: amount of capacity that digital information takes up on any network can be reduced dramatically through compression, and decompressed when needed.  Impartial: digital information carried across networks is indifferent to how it is represented, who owns or created it, or how it’s used. Still we haven’t answered, “What is new for society from the new media?” Communication is mediated by technology. Approach to thinking about new media needs to take into account three elements: 1. The artifacts or devices that that enable and extend our ability to communicate 2. The communication activities and practices we engage in to develop and use these devices 3. The social arrangements and organizations that form around these devices and practices Internet History: The concept of new media is integrally bound up with the history of the internet and the web. KEY*** “It was the emergence and mass popularization of the internet that heralded the rise of new media, bringing together computing and information technologies, communication networks, and media content.” CCT109 Textbook Notes Chapter 1 Internet refers to BOTH: 1. A technical infrastructure of computers and other digital devices (e.g. servers, routers) permanently connected through high speed telecommunications networks 2. The forms of content, communication, and information sharing that occur through these networks Neuman and Robinson define the internet as: “The electronic network of networks that links people and information, through computers and other digital devices, allowing person-to-person communication and information retrieval.” Commitment to developing an integrated communications network arose in the US as a consequence of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the priorities of the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA)— established in 1957 after the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite—were arguably driven as much by t
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