Wikipedia defines New Media a broad term in Media Studies that emerged in the later part of the 20th century to encompass the amalgamation of traditional media such as film, images, music, spoken and written word, with the interactive power of computer and communications technology, computer-enabled consumer devices and most importantly the Internet.
Quite Simply, New Media started out as web-based new sites that weren’t from the “traditional media” behemoths like the New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN or even AP or Reuters. Non traditional news providers started websites like those from c|net, Google, Yahoo News, Huffington Post and The Drudge Report nearly came out of nowhere in the first decade of the 2000′s usurped traditional news outlets and began providing “instant” new updates about the world of politics, entertainment, science and technology and even breaking news events quicker than ever before. By the time a news story appeared on CNN in 2005, it was likely to have already appeared on a half-dozen or so New Media sites hours earlier. And, power-users of the Internet became personal water coolers in offices, retail stores and doctor’s offices all over the country with news tidbits that beat the evening news to the punch – by the time the average American arrived home in 2007, the news they saw on the 6pm broadcasts was old.
And, that’s just the beginning. Over the next 4 years, New Media leaders like those mentioned earlier along with upstart bloggers became primary news services for Americans every day. And, not only did they provide the news of the minutes (or even the second) they provided “perspective” on what they were reporting. Referred to as “personal opinions injected into news and popular cultural events” by traditional media outlets, PERSPECTIVE quickly became, well, popular. But, all this was happening over a the traditional media companies, too, it’s just that they didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. For example, in 2008, for example, one guy on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, had a one-hour TV program at 8pm each evening that was watched by more people watching CNN all day, combined. And, over at CNBC another political pundit, Keith Olbermann was angering many with his on-air tactics of providing a one-hour lone political diatribe.
But, New Media didn’t stop at news. The world of Advertising, Marketing and PR were turning upside-down in the early 2000′s. A little upstart known as TiVo turned the in home advertising market inside out with a little box you could connect to a TV and skip commercials by recording TV shows or starting to watch them on delay. Then, SmartPhones, laptops and desktop computers started offering entertainment content through non-traditional media companies like Netflix, Apple and Amazon – all commercial-free. Advertising companies were always playing catchup with the technology and staying a few steps behind.
Now, we have websites serving up traditional media content, viewers like Gen-Y and Gen-Z who barely watch TV the old fashioned way (through a TV) and creative content being uploaded on sites like YouTube from, well, regular people. And, some of it garners more viewers in a few hours than Star Trek did it’s entire first run TV days, combined. And, it’s all entertaining.
And, the influx of New Media and New Technology isn’t slowing down. DVR’s, the AppleTV and GoogleTV not only time shift but allow viewers to place-shift, HDTV that’s streaming content via the Web and the eventual Personal Information Display (PID) will change media forever. NMTIFAMP (New Media Technology and it’s Impact on the Future of Advertising, Marketing and PR – the class I’m fortunate to teach at UNC-Chapel Hill to students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications) will explore all this NEW MEDIA – where it’s been, where it is now and where it’s heading. If you’re not in my NMTIFAMP class this semester, you can follow along on this website through the readings I’ll assign, the articles I’ll reference and, most importantly, the collaboration of a class of over 45 students (all Gen Y’ers and Z’ers) who’ll participate through blogging, Tweeting and commenting on the world of New Media as we discuss it every Monday and Wednesday during the Spring Semester of 2011.