New Media Defined

What is New Media?

New Media is a term that encapsulates the many forms of digital media.
If you can experience it on a digital device it’s New Media. So any kind of text, photo, audio, video, or animation that you could find on a digital device is New Media.
Types of digital media devices include laptop or desktop computers, smartphones, tablets and smart watches, etc.
The list of digital devices is still growing, and that is one reason we call it “new” media.

Old Media vs. New Media

Of course, when you call something “new” you can’t help but reference the “old”. Therefore, Old Media is loosely defined as media before the digital media explosion. Old Media is still around, and may never go completely away.
In 2016, I posted a video about the difference between old and new and how New Media allows the little guy to have more influence than ever before.

Forms of Old Media

Text – paper formats in newsprint, magazine, books, etc
Audio – LP records, tape based non-digital formats, reel to reel, 8 track, cassette,
Video – tape based non digital formats. VHS, BetaCam, film -based movies
Photographs – taken by an analog or digital camera, printed on paper or other non-digital format
Animation – film-based movies (made from hand drawings and/or analog photos.

Example Forms of New Media

text – in electronic format on webpages, ebooks,
audio – streaming, voice calls, MP3 files, digital recorders, etc,
video – digital video. Streaming, video conferencing, .mov, MP4, files
photographs – taken by a digital camera, scanned in digital format, displayed on a digital device
apps, applications,

How to Tell the Difference When You are Not Sure

When digital video cameras first came out, they used tapes to store the video and audio data.
I consider the cameras new media, because the data was based on digital formatting (zeros and ones) even though the media itself was tape, an older storage medium.
So if it uses digital data, it’s new media.

Other Terms Worth Noting

Before the term new media came around, folks were using “multimedia” which reflected the use of multiple types of media that you could experience on one device. Similarly, the term “interactive media” was used to reflect the change in the users ability to quickly switch from one method of interaction to another. The term “hypermedia” was even thrown around a bit. But it never really stuck.