Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Global & New Media

Global & New Media is a large category for the current emphasis in communication. Above the NASA satellites and rovers communicate to computers that generate Twitter messages from outer space. Below in 1977 the Voyager Golden Record was sent into orbit in a contained device including a player. The record includes "Sounds of Earth" and numerous imbedded images and drawings of life, science and math. The intention is to create a time capsule of human life for any possible intelligent life elsewhere. It will take 40,000 for the record to reach the nearest star. The satellite Tweets and record in space suggest the unlimited reach for media.

Here on earth we are experiencing a transformation of priorities know as globalization. Globalization emphasizes the integration of production, markets, information and humanity. We are combining efforts and sharing resources. Previously there were international trade centers and particular rulers aimed to conquer earth through force and power. The Roman Empire, Crusades, Genghis Kahn and Colonialism are just a few examples. Today we have global agendas with the International Monetary Fund, digital and internet communication, the United Nations and products.

Globalization does not demand a passive attitude. With media we can be more conscious than ever about the global situation. Two important Canadian documentaries address the state of affairs - The Corporation (2003) which emphasizes the globalization of production and markets, and Manufactured Landscapes (2006) which emphasizes how globalization relates not only to production but also sustainability and humanity.

The globalization of our era emphasizes technological communication which unites us with speed but is contingent on access and equipment. With global new media we have the emergence of media as meta-language, operating largely as a system of images and symbols but image and symbols that depend on media fluency. Unfortunately, 75% of the world does not have internet access as of 2010. If we can include more users and also open priorities to more universal values, such as happiness or anxiety rather than contained media knowledge, we can open up to media as collective consciousness. The speed of new media gives us the potential for media as collective consciousness in that we can instantly collectively experience events and information and instantly respond.

Defining "New Media" depends on an idea of "Old Media." The old is mass, one directional media that was delivered to an audience. Now media cuts through daily life. It is interconnected, interactive and reaches across the territory of public and private space to create the first ever global community.

Above is a brief list of the technology of the past decade. Below are statistics of world internet users in June 2010. While only 25% of the world is online, 75% of Americans are online but only constitute 13% of total internet users.

Google’s Eric Schmidt is fond of pointing out that five exabytes (billion gigabytes) of information were created between the dawn of civilisation up to 2003, yet that much digital data is now generated in just two days. With so much information the site Pikanews allows you to enter any topic and find out what type of news media is covering it. The chart below from the site provides an overview of basic numbers of media in Europe.

New media are not all social media. Sites like You Tube are considered content aggregators and not all blogs are intended for social circles. Sites that encourage exchange between friendly contacts, such as Facebook, are social media. However all types of new media do have the potential to get involved in social media, as blogs can function socially , just as photos sharing sites, etc.

Above German director Wim Wenders' film Wings of Desire from 1987, shows a world before Twitter. An angel was able to hear the thoughts of subway riders, while below, today we can instantly post our private thoughts online.

The question is if we are actually in need of sharing all the abundant communication we are creating. Above Mr. Chips the dog as a humorous take and the Twitter obsession and below Kanye West's transparency of thought, "Drinking New York City tap water."

New media are transforming our social relationships. In a project called The Machine is Changing Us, a professor and his students studied you tube and found that new media create
- new ways of relating
- new ways of knowing ourselves
- is driven by narcissism that leads to disenchantment
- results in contained media-think

New media has the potential to cross conventional boundaries of time and space and bring people of different perspectives together. Unfortunately we have yet to see new media serve as a political or ethical force for the greater good, or much less so than we see it being used for pleasure and entertainment as seen below right with Chatroulette.

Some social media common in Europe are above Skyrock in France and below Tuenti in Spain.

Facebook aims for global dominance in social networking, seen below at its headquarters in Palo Alto. While the site unites 300 million friends in its online party, the question is if it will remain globally significant in a decade...?

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