Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy Media New Year!

Enjoying your holiday gear? Well, the 2012 U.S. technology media blitz has already begun. People will get a breather in January then in February Sony will release their PlayStation Vita…for a price higher than the Amazon Kindle Fire.

In March, new media will likely include Nintendo’s Wii U and Apple’s iPad 3.

In April, the next laptop computer version launches – the Ultrabook.

In the summer, Apple looks to also release a HD television service.

New and old. Bad and good. Can we really keep up with everything by categorizing, typing, ranking, and segmenting media? What we keep up with is key. Does this new media meet ours’ or others’ needs? How can both benefit from more detailed relationships like work and personal or time and resources. Is it up to the developers or the users to find ways to “make it work”? What about collaboration (e.g. Sony’s PlayStation, etc.)

Users definitely have more influence now. Even the many local news outlets solicit stories, news updates, traffic updates, etc. When given the opportunity, users have found creative, unintended media blends like Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album - a remix of Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles' White Album

Most people are comfortable using technology, although their skills may be limited, but there are still many people who have not integrated the Web/Internet into their work, so paper-based layouts, contact information and word-of-mouth/user satisfaction is still very important. Most media producers give users the options, but are forgetting how their choices affect users. For example, I could experience Monday Night Football since I do not have cable, but it is not the same experience. Do I feel discriminated against on ESPN’s college bowl coverage, especially tomorrow?...not really, but it would be nice to at least keep the National Championship on a national network…just take National off the title.

Purpose is key. What it this new media about and what does it seek to achieve…Money and money might be the answers for both. Companies have a financial responsibility, so have a larger risk factor than the user. For example, Sony’s Ericsson Experia Play offering risked the mobile media choice between providing users with a standalone game console or a game system combined with a phone.

Companies usually include the following objectives in their new media products:

  • Heightens education and overall awareness
  • 24/7 access (unavailable elsewhere)
  • Offers opportunities to participate in several programs/activities
  • Presents various perspectives

I would love to see more of the following objectives met:

  • Offers information otherwise not available to a wide audience
  • Acts as an effective community communications tool
  • Provides a historical value
  • Creates the ability to encourage and respond to interactivity based on actual feedback

Old media can never be fully replaced, even though people think it is just because it looks physically different (a superficial perspective running rampant today). Pop culture and advertising bombards us with "brand new" and "comeback" concepts. Madonna's tour titled "Reinvention" exemplifies the remediation required by media artists in today's world. We are driven to get the latest technology or be left behind.

Most teachers would be surprised to receive a handwritten paper today. Clean computerized font and hand printed letters similar to that font are the norm now. Why did I take those handwriting classes in school again? Because our instructor did not anticipate the computer age? So what's to become of the media of the pen?

Many people are ruled by the fads and remediation "branding" that convinces us to consume. People who refuse to update are perceived as "old" or "useless". One of my previous employers refused to update their media techniques and missed the Website "wave" loosing many clients and their reputation. Co-workers constantly struggled to convince management that these updates were needed, but were refuted with "this is the way we've always done business".

Just because certain media is the latest craze, does not mean we have to purchase it. There are social factors working here, but if the audience is significant, we at least have to consider what everyone is using on a large scale. I think ideas, audience and practical use should cross our minds before hopping on the bandwagon. Eventually it becomes a matter of anticipating what new technology/media will be most useful.

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