Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blogs vs. Wikis

Blogs and Wikis are two aspects of new media. To be honest I have limited knowledge and experience with Blogs and not really sure what the fuss is. I have however spent countless hours reading articles on wikipedia. I never really got involved with editing or collaborating on wiki. I just like reading articles there for the huge sources of information.

Which brings up the most noticeable difference between blogs and wikis are that for wikis they are supposed to be objective repositories of knowledge where anyone can edit the content. As this CNN article points out is that Wiki is often criticized for its inaccuracies so they are focusing on refining their articles with proper references and citations. It is essentially a form of many to many communication.

On the other hand, blogs are more about personal opinions and thoughts without any sort of filtering or regulation. It is primarily a one to many communication. Visitors can post comments but cannot edit any of the content. As far as I can tell blogs aren't as popular as wikis no doubt due to the collaborative communities found in wikis.

As more people gain high speed connections to the internet, the more important internet social networking becomes, and the more essential collaborative sites like wikis and blogs will be. Since blogs also allows people to easily communicate their thoughts and have others comment on them, they can also be used for collaboration. Blogs have more direction communication features compared to wikis. For wikis there aren't too many direct communication features. So that means bloggers can easily collaborate by adding each other on their blog lists and commenting on posts.

I am not creative enough to think of new uses for wikis. But I imagine if they could implement some direct communication features similar to blogs, it could allow for more closer knit collaboration. And even have a user section where you could post your own blogs. There is no reason why wiki can't incorporate social networking features into its site as a subsection.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Old vs. New

I think it is quite easy to distinguish between new and old media, but I can't say the same about distinguishing between the various new media technologies. This is a long read, but only because I think it is best explained with many examples. Old media tends to be static, non-interactive, slower means of communication and less easily produced and distributed. While new media tends to be more dynamic, interactive, quicker and easier to produce and distribute.

Let me explain further on those concepts. For old media such as newspapers, or TV the content is the same. You can read the same newspaper over and over and the words printed on the page will not change. When re-watching a movie or episode of TV, it will play the same way every time. While for new media, the content can change. An example being's product referral system. If you click on a certain product or purchase a certain product, the website will make recommendations based on those products you viewed or purchased. A another example would be mmorpgs. When you play an mmo, every playthrough will be different. Like choosing a different character, learning different spells, using different items, and etc.

Which brings to the next concept of interactivity. Using newspapers and TV again, you can only read the newspaper and watch TV episodes. And that's it. While for video games, you have to command your character to do every action. For websites like blogs and forums where you can make posts and share your thoughts, opinions, and pictures. Or wikis where you can add or edit pages. In old media websites, all you could do was read off the page and nothing else.

The next concept is speed. For old media, its much slower. Sending a letter through the post office will take days to weeks. If you write something for a newspaper or magazine, it takes time for them to be printed, distributed, then customers purchase them and read them. While for new media, its much faster and in some cases instantaneous. Such as a blog, all you have to do is click the "Publish Post" button and your writings are instantly available to read on your blog. Anyone and everyone can read it right away. It doesn't have to be distributed to stores, or require a release date like newspapers. Going back to the post office mail example, new media technology such as email or text message lets you send messages to a person anywhere almost instantly. And they can respond right away. So you don't have to wait weeks for a response or worry about your letters getting lost in the mail.

Lastly, the accessibility of the media technology is a great distinguishing factor. For old media, it is difficult and expensive to get an article published, or produce a film and have it aired on television or at theaters. While for new media, anyone can write their own articles and post them on blogs. As youtube as shown, pretty much everyone can produce their own films and distribute them online and reach a massive audience.

Hopefully I have explained the distinguishing factors between old and new media sufficiently enough so you the reader can easily tell the difference between old and new media.

Research Project Description

Title: Impact of New Media on our Social Lives.

Description: For my research project I intend on researching the impact of new media on our social lives. I will discuss both positive and negative affects. Examples of positive affects would be how new media technologies such as video chats, texting, and email allow people to communicate instantly across the globe with their friends and relatives. While others such as wikis, flickr, forums, etc allows people to find others with similar interests to form communities and they can collaborate/contribute to "projects". Of course negative effects will also be discussed such as cyberbullying, people posting incriminating texts or pictures on facebook, and any possible effects on our face to face communication skills.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What is New Media?

I feel that new media is an evolved form of old media. Since it is similar to the old media except new media is simpler and more accessible than old media.

More people now have access to the tools of new media and those tools have become much easier to use. Clive Thompson makes note of this in his article about Youtube videos. He talks about how everyone now has access to the tools that are required to create films. Even I have created my own videos and posted them on youtube. They are short stop motion animation videos made with Lego pieces. Anyone can easily create a film now.

Software such as Microsoft Movie Maker makes it easy to create your own film. Or programs like Skype or AIM allows people to easily communicate to people across the globe both in instant text messages or video chats in conjunction with webcams. Hardware such as laptops, cellphones, or even video game consoles allow you to access those software applications with ease. Of course none of this would be possible without internet. Most new media is transmitted via the internet such as blogs, video chats, email, or wikis.

In my opinion new media will coexist with it and enhance it. New and old media will probably adapt features from each other as time passes on and may create a third form of media which is a hybrid of new and old media.In certain areas I believe there will always be a demand for physical forms of media. Old media has the advantage of nostalgia. People will still want to have books and dvds on their shelves as digital distribution makes streaming videos and reading ebooks more widespread. You cannot feel an ebook nor can you have your ebook signed by your favorite author. Streaming videos won't have collector boxes or posters and other things that often come with the physical version. Of course, there is always the possibility of virtual worlds being so realistic to the point where you can read your ebook like a regular book in a virtual world. In other areas such as communication, video chats and instant messages are a vast improvement over cellphone calls. But I did say earlier that they can always adopt features from each other, so there is no reason why cellphones can't be equipped with video chat capabilities. While image hosting websites allow people to share their images easily, and social networking sites allow people to keep in touch with their friends even if they no longer see each other in real life. The future is a mystery and uncertain, only time will tell.