New Media versus Old Media





Thanks to advancements in digital technology there is new media versus old media. Usually old media is thought of as printed texts like books and newspapers. However, old media could also be older digital technology like an older flip phone or TV. While new media is usually thought of as a website, it can also be considered as a smartphone or smart TV. The three main things needed in order to be considered a new media are modularity, variability, and interactivity. 


It is easier to describe what modularity is not. An example is old media books. If you rip out any chapter, the book no longer makes sense. If you take a chapter and put it somewhere else, the timeline gets confusing. Books tend to flow in one direction, though some books do jump around. Modularity is about rearranging things and having those things still make sense. It is being able to do things out of order and have everything still work. Think of a smartphone home screen. You can take the icons you have for apps and put them wherever you want. It doesn’t matter. Wherever that icon goes it still will open the same app. Anything that can have items be rearranged and still work is modular. 


Variability is being able to make changes. With a printed book, you can’t change anything at all about the text. If the font is too hard to read, oh well. You can’t change it to your liking at all. It will always be the same formatted book. However, smart items can change in many ways. Smartphones can be light or dark mode, have different fonts, different font sizes, and any other of the many unique settings. Smart TVs also have different themes and settings. New media has to have variability to handle the different needs of different consumers. 

Interactive Media

Interactivity is confused often with engagement. Engagement is being able to click buttons. Interactivity allows you to change and manipulate the content, being in control of it. No, selecting a show to watch is not interactive. The content needs to be altered by something you did. Selecting the show will always play the same show. Interactivity is like crowd work at a stand-up comedy show or comments on someone’s live. This one can be hard to achieve with new media, but it is possible. It is more possible than a book somehow changing in front of you. Some platforms allow you to edit posts. People can comment, you can realize your post has a typo, and thus the post can be changed. Physical books can’t be altered. New media being able to change helps it improve while old media is stuck how it is.


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