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The impact of new media over society


Introduction....3 Chapter 1: The rise of new media over the old media..4 Chapter 2: The effects of new media over business sector...6

Chapter 3: New media and the Global Village phenomenon..9 Conclusions..11 Bibliography.12

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. Bill Gates

In the new millennium, the communication channels have advanced at an amazing rate, making it possible for two people separated by thousands of kilometers to get in contact and socialize

as if they were face to face. These possibilities of human interconnection have transformed the internet, as Bill Gates well says, into the meeting place of world population. The outer shell of the internet and all of its services encouraged over time the materialization of many computer programs, with features that help create numerous digital extensions of the man, giving birth to the online generation. This generation is one that does not conceive life without internet or gadgets, such as mobile phones or iPods and that is more concerned to make their own news than to expect them from the traditional media, like the newspaper or television.1 All the new programs created for the computer and internet use, like the latest version of the internet, called Web 2.0, citizen journalism and life-imitating virtual worlds, are part of a new movement that is named new media. The internet and new media are interconnected, the last being unable to exist without the first. The unlimited possibility given by the internet and new media attract people and make them to forget about the existence of the old media. People rather create their own debating digital channel, the making of a personal avatar in a virtual world or signing in on a social networking website, instead of waiting for the news or information given by the old mass media, which does not offer the right to interactivity. Interaction is probably the word that makes the most difference between the old and new media. The effects of the new media over society are obvious and undeniable. The traditional media is losing ground slowly, but for sure. The business sector has changed considerably its operating way, using the computer programs in small daily operations to important negotiations. Finally, new media significantly changed the meaning of entertainment nowadays, and not only, by making it synonym with the computer use. The fallen position of old media, the effective business productivity and the new digital concerns of the people in our days, are all due to the emergence of new media trend. Chapter 1: The rise of new media over the old media In the last century, mass media has become a huge power in the world, managing to transform efficiently information into a real business. All mass media traditional forms, such as television, radio, newspapers, film, music, books and magazines, in time, succeeded to transform peoples curiosity in a dependency. The impact of mass media over the world population has led to ample transformations, affecting the lives of individuals, in direct or indirect ways, with immediate or delayed effects, that

Gomez, Jeff, Print is dead: Books in our digital age, Macmillan Publishing, New York, 2008, pp 70-71

can last more or less, depending on how important the given information is for that person. For decades, newspapers and television were the main communication channels, controlling the information output, through a one-way process of message dissemination, making it impossible for the receiver of the message to share his own opinion about it, to debate or to get involved in a way or another.2 However, the advent of the internet has brought new changes in the media field, and not only, resulting in a digital revolution. In the last two decades, the technology has evolved remarkably leading to the appearance of the internet and its services, like the web, email, newsgroups, file transfer, video streaming, instant messaging, file sharing and voice calls, representing the biggest information source in the world at this moment. The web stands as the most important service, being the most popular face of the internet, having billions of web sites3, which are largely accessed by 2 billion people in the world.4 The programs created for the internet are easy to access and operate, allowing the user to juggle in a personalized way, creating uncountable virtual works, like digital documents and modified pictures; and to create personal videos and sounds, producing the mass need to share them with others. In this context, the interactive websites came in sight, allowing the user to communicate with them like playing a game or expressing his opinions. Thus, the users realized that this is also a new and fast way to meet other persons, ultimately creating social networks websites. Internet and all its services that allow interaction between people and technology at a high level, users generating content instead of just discovering it, has reached a new stage transforming WWW (World Wide Web) into WLW (World Live Web), or WEB 2.0, term used for the first time by Tim OReilly at a internet conference.5 Because of the complexity of the word WEB 2.0, it is difficult to define what exactly it means. Tim OReilly, as the first person to use this word, tried to give a good, satisfying definition, which managed to capture the essence of the words meaning: Web 2.0 is a set of economic, social, and technology trends that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Interneta more mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects.6 This description of the WEB 2.0 concept is perfect for the new trends in internet such as social networks, blogs, podcasts, wikis, RSS Feeds and many other innovations that permit the user to generate content. All these new sides of the internet and computer multimedia, that are allowing the user to
2 3 4 5 Gutu, Dorina, New Media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2007, pp 18-19. 6

self-express or actively participate in numerous debates in various fields, are creating together the new media, a virtual world full of possibilities and opportunities. According to some belief, new media is divided into three main parts: WEB 2.0, social media and citizen journalism. Social media are media for social interaction that uses web-based technologies that allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content.7 Citizen Journalism is expressed through various types of new media elements, like blogs and social networking websites. And a blog is an online group or personal journal where the founder or founders are sharing personal information based on their activities or opinions. Each allotment has contributed to the interest reduction of people face to the traditional media. Television has lost ground to computer games. Newspapers were replaced by internet instant news. Hardcover books were forgotten on the shelf of the libraries. Each and every one of these changes are caused by the digitalization of information with its essential features like interconnectedness, easy accessibility to individual, users as senders or/and receivers, interactivity, multiplicity of use & open-ended character, ubiquity and delocatedness, accessible with low costs.8 All these qualities of the new media, as opposed to the traditional media, which is limited and does not allow interaction, the consumers being passive, have made the new media the favorite of the public. In recent times, people are using increasingly less traditional media and spending gradually more time using the internet. All these virtual entertainments had a great impact over peoples lives, affecting them in all aspects of their daily concerns, from leisure time to working hours. All these innovations, related to computer science, have led to diminishing importance of the traditional media, or also called, the old media, over the world population. Chapter 2: The effects of new media over business sector Internet innovations, that form new media, are playing an imperative role in the business sphere nowadays. Business and new media are becoming quickly complementary terms because of the all digitalized aspects that imply production and promotion, like the use of a computer with accompanying software, and employment of social networking websites or weblogs to promote their products. The reflection of a company and its products is seen mainly through its advertising. A good commercial can make the difference between the success and failure in selling a product, which is
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why the marketing plan is extremely important. Now, in the internet age, the communication between companies and consumers has shifted from monologue to dialogue. This means that the consumers have the right not only to a reply, but now they have the freedom to involve in the process of creation, developing products after their own ideas. The companies try to find the best paths of communication with the new digital adopting generation, by conversing with them through social networking websites, such as Facebook, My Space and Twitter and Weblogs, that are allowing the consumer to criticize or praise the product or service in discussion.9 Even more, the biggest companies are reaching all the virtual places that are used by large public mostly for entertainment purposes, an important example being Second Life website, a game that tries to imitate real life in all its aspects. In the marketing domain, the development of internet services has brought also new and more efficient changes. The biggest modification is given by the appearance of viral marketing, a term used for the first time by Jeffrey Rayport, a Harvard Business School professor. One of the many possible definitions of this term states that viral marketing represents a direct communication, called word-of-mouth, which recommends products or services of a certain producer through the internet.10 Viral marketing campaigns are very popular and successful in these times due to their advantages of inexpensive advertising and operating possibilities. Distribution, reach, cost and awareness are the major reasons for why a business prefers the internet as a promotion place instead of the old ways product support. First of all, the message is going straight to the interested market, in record time, without using the traditional media as intermediate, this way making it easier for people to share the content with the close ones. The message is spreading like a virus from person to person, making a product or service and its producers known to a large number of potential customers. Second, all the costs and time that were needed for an old marketing campaign are now almost inexistent, making it possible to focus on more important issues for the campaign.11 The biggest challenge for them is to make their idea to take off on the internet, to spread from user to user, through web content like a video, a blog entry, an interactive tool or an e-book, for free. Although it has some disadvantages related to privacy issues, viral marketing is a practice increasingly used in a promotion of a product or service. An example of a Romanian success campaign of this type was driven by the advertising agency, McCann Erickson, for Sprite in 2007. The campaign was called Sprite Icstrim-Help Line and included a number of spots that incorporated extreme sports themes. One famous spots is that one which shows that a bicyclist injuries in the forest
9 Balaban, Delia & Iancu, Ioana, PR, Publicitate si New media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2009, pp 127. 11

and calls the Sprite Help Line. The operator tells him to read a song from the bottle label, that it will give him courage. To make it funnier, the operator actually starts to sing with him. The song lyrics sounds like this: I am lonely, bing bang, among trees, bing bang, and Im hurt, bing bang, and Im bleeding,
bing bang, but really nothing, bing bang, will stop me, bing bang, from singing right now, bing bang, a little song, bing bang, la la la This spot was a huge success. The consumers started to access the website of

Sprite to download the famous spot because of the song and its funny lyrics, spreading in the same time the message through word-of-mouth and internet channels to their friends. This way the company has reached not only its goals, but also it managed to raise a small community, that was sharing information about different artists and sports events on the products website. The campaign has even won the award of Best Advertising Campaign at Portoroz festival. This example of a successful viral marketing campaign shows us that this type of promotion is largely accepted by the consumers, managing to change the old rules of the selling game.12 The viral marketing campaigns represent only a part of the many ways that businesses are using new media to promote their products and services. Among others, the most important methods of internet promoting are corporate blogs and online advertising. A corporate blog belongs to a company or organization and expresses the views of the referred enterprise through the words of its employees. Even though it is written in the name of the company, the blog has a personal shade, to gain customer confidence. This type of blog is a valuable source of product or service information and informal testing, when it is possible. There are more types of corporate blogs, with their own characteristics, each being specialized in one area. Basically, there are six types of corporate blogs, divided in two main categories, external and internal blogs. External blogs have as an objective customer involvement, from which to drag out three main effects: the brand awareness, the strengthening of relationships between seller and buyer and the actual sales. On the other side, the internal blogs are completely only for the employees of the corporation to share information related to the future activities, projects, news, and other materials. These internal blogs are also divided in three sectors: knowledge blogs, collaboration blogs and internal political blogs.13 For the internet users the most visible side of business products promotion is represented by the online advertising, which represents the use of internet as an advertising medium where promotional messages appear on a computer screen.14 On every accessed website there is at least one type of promotional communication, which is impossible to ignore. There are numerous advertising
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Balaban, Delia & Iancu, Ioana, PR, Publicitate si New media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2009, pp 138-139. Balaban, Delia & Iancu, Ioana, PR, Publicitate si New media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2009, pp 51-53. 14

formats, under different sizes, appearance, locations and methods. There are easy text ads, without any graphic images, with a simple message. Display ads have a more complex character, being available under the format of text plus graphics that catches the eye of the beholder instantly. This type of online advertising can be found in many pattern shapes and sizes that include banners, animated or interactive, leader boards, skyscrapers and many other graphical forms. Pop-Up ads appear when opening a web page under the format of hover ads, floating ads and slide-in ads. Animated ads or motion graphics are also a good way to attract attention because of the powerful design of the message. Interstitial ads represent large graphics, which extend across the whole web page. This type of online commercial appears between accessing of the web pages. Advertorials are paid editorial ads that express objectively-written opinions about a websites content. Finally, an Onsite sponsorship ad represents a companys logo that is visible on individual websites, for a fee. The three methods of targeting ads are contextual, behavioural and local advertising, each arriving to help the potential customer to find the right and most accessible information for him.15 Definitely the new media have changed the business environment in all its aspects, from internal actions to public relations. The new computer programs and digital promotion methods has made it possible for a business to be able to develop multidirectional, cheaper and effectively. Chapter 3: New media and the Global Village phenomenon
Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964.

The media theoretician and philosopher, Marshall McLuhan, first used the concept of Global Village more than 40 years ago, in 1967. Global village is the term used to describe the world shrunk into a village by the means of the different media types, most especially the World Live Web, making it easy to pass across messages (like the news), thereby making the world become like a single village where people can easily contact each other quicker.16 This definition is one of the many existent, which expresses best the reality that surrounds us today. McLuhan was the first to describe the digital revolution that is happening today, saying that the print culture will be replaced by what he called electronic interdependence and that the communication barriers will disappear. He was right. In addition, McLuhan was the first to highlight that the accent should be applied on the media itself, referring to the traditional media, not on content:
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The medium is the massage. Throughout his books, he debated a lot about how the media affects the cognitive organization of the humans, that is why he is using the term massage instead of message, and further on the society.

The meaning of this quote is a little different today. The medium is no

longer just the message. For the messages promoted by the traditional media, it was very important the appearance, because the only function it had was of one-way communication. Now, in the digital era, the appearance of the advanced digital channels that allows far communication has changed the old media rules. WEB 2.0, social networking websites and citizen journalism are terms used not only in the business environment, but also by the entire internet access population. Almost half of the worlds population, two from six people, uses the internet for personal or professional purposes. The online madness took huge proportions, many of the internet users having at least one account at one of the social website or an online journal. The multimedia content has greatly expanded in the last years, making it available on the market a numerous number of programs, which are easy to use. Although there are a great number of these internet services, some have a huge popularity. Adobe, Creator, Flash and, Nero are just some from the huge list of multimedia programs that people use to assemble different sounds, images and videos to create their own personalized works. Although it may appear only as an entertainment activity, the positive effects of multimedia technologies over the human mind have been largely debated by the two main groups, the traditional cohort and the digital upholders. The last group states that multimedia-based instruction is much more efficient than traditional one, the combination audio-visual information being much more attractive and dynamic, making boredom disappear.18 I totally agree with this statement because more than a half of my knowledge baggage is due to the multimedia information. As for the entertainment use of these programs, most of the creators want to share their personal works with others, which is why they use popular video-sharing, audio sharing and image hosting websites. One of the most trendy websites is Youtube, a video-sharing digital place, founded in 2005 by three friends and bought in 2006 by Google for more than 1 billion$. This website become so popular, having thousands of videos uploaded daily, and more seen, with uncountless subjects, from cats playing to celebrity interviews, that in 2010 it reached the amazing number of one billion viewers. 19 This is definitely one website with a huge impact over digital culture.

17 18*. 19

As I mentioned in chapter I, citizen journalism refers to ordinary people that comments upon different subjects or news events in a non-journalistic manner. This activity grew once with the development of digital means of communication, creating special websites like NowPublic and CyberJournalist, combining this movement with new media. People also use other online media like wikis and blogs to express their opinions in a manner that a traditional journalist would never do, a personal one.20 A wiki site is a free encyclopedia that allows everyone to add and edit content about every subject. Even though ordinary, non-professional people write it, the site has gain credibility, being used as an important source of information. Individual and group blogs are written for many purposes. It can be a journal blog, in which the founder talks about himself and his daily activities, feelings and opinions, or a commentary blog, in which are debated the public news.21 For the first time in history, the opinions of the ordinary people finally come to voice whenever and about whatever. Social networking websites represent the most popular way of internet socializing. In the last five years, these sites have become the digital park of daily people walks. Social networking websites have become quickly a phenomenon, attracting a huge part from the internet users, especially the younger ones. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace of social networking are the essence of new media. Here people can interact, exchange ideas, information and personal data, creating a huge digital family.22 To express the importance of these sites in our days I will give as example my own social networking experience. One year ago, when Facebook madness began to manifest I did not gave it to much importance. I thought it was just another Hi5 type website, so I refused to create an account. After few months, my friends started to ask me why I refuse to add them as my friends on this website, so I told them I did not have an account. Shock! They were simply shocked about this. They could not believe that I prefer a walk in the park rather than chatting on Facebook. After their face expression, they probably thought that I was mad. Well, after few months I have created an account too. The online revolution has reached so far that programmers started to create life-imitating games, such as Second Life, an advanced digital medium. Linden Labs as a combination of entertainment, opportunities, and appropriate business environment created it in 2003. This virtual

20 21 Balaban, Delia & Iancu, Ioana, PR, Publicitate si New media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2009, pp 49. 22 Gutu, Dorina, New Media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2007, pp 22.


world is the perfect medium for internet-addicted people because it allows not only to socialize with others, but also to do different businesses, just like in the real life. Consequently, new media innovations, such as digital programs or social networking websites, have had a tremendous impact over the peoples life, personal or professional, imposing the change of the old rules, and creating new ones. Conclusions The use of all these media elements are unquestionably part of our daily activities. The internet has changed not only the way we spend our time, but also the way we think. The possibility to interact with people of other nations, through the help of social websites and other digital forms of communication, has opened our eyes and minds, and showed us how diverse and complex is life through its nature. The personal and professional life of an individual are developing under a digital mask, using the internet services for personal and social development. All these new media fundamentals, like the WEB 2.0, citizen journalism and social networking websites have slowly entered our lives, and changed them, bringing people together, for a small number of different purposes, creating what Marshall McLuhan called over 40 years ago, the Global Village. This notion fits perfectly to the phenomenon that is happening in our days, the togetherness of people from around the world that have access to the internet. To put it briefly, new media represents in our days a new way of life. What was called computer addiction ten years ago, now it is described as an ordinary activity.

Bibliography Hardcover Books

Balaban, Delia & Iancu, Ioana, PR, Publicitate si New media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2009, pp 127, 138-139, 51-53, 49. Gomez, Jeff, Print is dead: Books in our digital age, Macmillan Publishing, New York, 2008, pp 70-71. Gutu, Dorina, New Media, Tritonic Publishing, Bucharest 2007, pp 18-19, 22. Internet sources

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