With no permanent definition, new media has earned many different connotations. Some approach new media as a “description of a particular object” (Eyman). In “Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric”, Eyman begins the discussion of new media by questioning the when. He wonders when specific media pieces will stop being considered ‘new’. But, an important question needs to be asked: “Are the ‘media’ in ‘digital media’ necessarily or obviously digital?” (Eyman). Examining the different definitions and approaches, new media becomes larger than what expected.
Definitions for New Media
There are two definitions I believe shine a bright light on the meaning of new media.
The definitions for new media begin with Cynthia Selfe. An English scholar, Cynthia Selfe defines new media as a companion, and nearly equivalent, to multimedia. She describes it as “texts created primarily in digital environments, composed in multiple media, and designed for presentation and exchange in digital venues” (Selfe, 43). Much like scholars such as Randall Parker and Ken Jordan determined. Multimedia takes advantage of what computers and technology has to offer and uses it ford different forms of expression.
Both multimedia and new media share two characteristics. One being “the mixing of media” and the other “the requirement for users of both forms to engage multiple literacies” (Eyman).
While Selfe attempts to define new media, Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin work to identify how “new media reshape and reconfigure old media” (Eyman). Both Bolter and Grusin examine new media in a historical and cultural context. They heavily emphasize that new media must be “defined through its relationship with older media” (Eyman).