New Media vs Mass Media

Excerpted from Robert Logan posting on PBS/MediaShift

One of my objectives in updating Marshall [McLuhan’s] work is to identify the characteristics of new media and contrast them with the electronic mass media that McLuhan dealt with. Given that the medium is the message, I began my analysis by identifying the characteristics or messages of new media that are different from mass media that McLuhan identified such as the light bulb, telegraph, telephone, radio, phonograph, camera and television.

I actually began this exercise back in 1996 when I first identified the five messages of the Internet published in the first edition of “The Sixth Language” (Logan 2004). Back then the notion of new media had not yet been formulated but at that early stage I identified the following five messages of the Internet:

1. two-way communication

2. ease of access to and dissemination of information

3. continuous learning

4. alignment and integration

5. community

Although one or two of these characteristics apply to traditional mass media, what is unique about the Internet is that all five of these characteristics apply and help define the impact of this medium. As it turns out all of these characteristics also apply to the general class of new media. Since formulating these five messages of the Internet my study of new media revealed that there are also nine other additional properties or messages that characterizes most new media. They are:

6. portability and time flexibility (time-shifting), which provide users with freedom over space and time

7. convergence of many different media so that they can carry out more than one function at a time and combine — as is the case with the cameraphone

8. interoperability without which convergence would not be possible

9. aggregation of content, which is facilitated by digitization and convergence

10. variety and choice to a much greater extent than the mass media that preceded them and hence The Long Tail phenomenon

11. the closing of the gap between (or the convergence of) producers and consumers of media

12. social collectivity and cooperation

13. remix culture which digitization facilitates

14. the transition from products to services

9 comments for “New Media vs Mass Media

  1. September 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I think that its interesting that the world has advanced so much in technololgy, and this man has happened to notice all of it. He has conducted things that show new types of media and let us all see how advanced we truely are. It was a very good article to read.

  2. September 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    It is pretty amazing how much our technology has changed over the years. Mass media, such as the telegraph, nobody even really remembers because we are so much more advanced than that now days. Unlike most mass media, new media is alot more convenient and faster! Which, im sure, is what everyone wants. It was an interesting article.

  3. September 16, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    A blog about Technology

  4. September 16, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I think that the media has been getting better as the years go on. I also think that the media can be bad because a lot of people have access to your personal information. Some people when they see personal info they think of what they can do with it. They dont just ignore it they use it. I think the media has made everthing accessable. Now a days you can see everything online. If you want to see a movie you can go to a sight were you can download the movie. Everything is managable online. The media has advanced for a computer being as big as a room to having many computers in one room. The moder technology has also been helpful because it has helped discover some of the usefull tools for medicine. They also use media tools in Business and mostly it is useable for everything.

  5. September 17, 2009 at 10:27 am

    ipods started out with a simple nano and now is converted into a ipod touch and iphones. Its amazing how every generation technology improves whether it from adding a new feature to an ipod to twittering. At first we all stared out at one point writing letters to one another or even talking on the phone but now that texting is out everyone doesnt even bother grabbing a piece a paper and pen instead they are grabbing their cell phones and texting away. Although new media has its downfalls it has contributed to this generation massavely because internet is a lot faster and getting a hold of someone is not as hard as it use to be it only takes one text.

  6. September 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I feel that new media has gotten to the point where it is going to completely take over old media(newspaper, television, radio, cd’s, etc.). Everything can be done in an easier manner with the new media and it enhances the original experience. From sports to local news the new media has reached out to all sources of inquiry. Yet it is only a matter of time before the new media becomes the old media due to tne consistent improvements of the new media in its effectiveness.

  7. September 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    How do I interact with new media?

    The new media has given me the ability to check my favorite sports and thier updates without the need of having to read the newspaper or watch sport shows waiting on what I want to be informed about. Then there is the music world with ipods and being able to get from point A to point B with the beat of music at my ears. The task of running or jogging is now better. Also I’m taking a class online instead of in person thus the need of a pencil with paper is not present. The interaction of the educational day is done by computer technology. Then there is the entertainment of television being better in HD when I watch my favorite shows and sports. Also the missing of those programs is no issue with the ability to watch them later with tvo or dvr. Thus new media has given my daily life experience convinience as well as innovation.

  8. September 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I think That the internet is for many things.Many people tend to misuse it but I mean how could you miss use it thats why its there.The internet is for anything you want to look up. You can use it to browser important things such as checking your e-mail,communicate with people when your away,it can also be used to pleasure yourself as in the video many people use it for porn.I think that “regular people” do look up porn because if they finish what they are doing on the internet and have free time then they are tempted to look up some porn.The internet should be for everything because on the internet there is important information out there that people can look up.

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