Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How are new media technologies transforming the way in which we use media? Part 1: The Internet

In the field of media and communications, advances in new digital media technologies are continuously transforming the way in which we use media. Traditional media industries, such as print media, radio, cinema and television are all being influenced by new digital media, such as the Internet, and vice versa (Flew 2002, 4). New media conglomerates are beginning to have controlling interests over the entire entertainment and media industry. Viacom is one media company which has spread itself over a variety of media and entertainment, producing “films, television, popular music, computer games, websites, toys, amusement park rides, books, newspapers, magazines and comics” (Jenkins 2004, 34). The content of digital media is often derived from already existing, traditional media, and reproduced in digital form, generating new content (Flew 2002, 96). For example, audiences have traditionally been invited to call radio stations via telephone during talk-back programs to respond to comments and offer their opinions. Today, using a similar idea, audiences have the option to call, or alternatively email or SMS their responses using the Internet and mobile communications. Similarly, television programs such as Sunrise and Today allow audiences the opportunity to respond directly to the topics and questions of the day, giving viewers the freedom to interact and react to the program from the comfort of their own home. Consumers now have more choice in regard to how and where they spend their time and money on entertainment and media, and they have a voice (Tooth and Liebmann 2006, 3).

Perhaps one of the most influential digital media technologies is the Internet. The Internet has greatly influenced media and communications industries, opening up a world of opportunities in a variety of fields. Although the Internet was officially launched in 1969, it was not until the 1990’s that the Internet began to be the international networking system and communications technology that it is today (Schell 2007, 1-18; Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 259). By the beginning of the 21st century, the Internet was not only a highly useful and important new medium, but became a significant factor in the transformation of media and communications (Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 259). Today the Internet is being used for a variety of uses, including email, shopping online, and recently, as a new source of traditional media. Consumers are now able to receive local and international newspapers, listen to podcasts of a variety of radio shows and stations, download movies and stream television programs, all via the Internet. Furthermore, the Internet has developed a variety of other technologies allowing consumers to communicate and view media. Apart from the traditional uses such as email and search engines, consumers can also use the Internet to access chat rooms, use instant messaging, blogs and peer-to-peer applications (Goggin cited in Cunningham and Turner 2006, 265-272).

Right at this moment, many of you reading this probably have a number of browser windows open on several different web pages. Almost everyday I use the Internet to manage my life, for example, right now as I am posting on my blog I have
QUT Webmail, QUT Blackboard, my Gmail account, my Hotmail account, my Facebook page,,, and all open on my taskbar… all of which I am currently using and jumping from back and forth. I now use the Internet to do a large majority of things that I would normally do via traditional media – check my mail, communicate with friends, banking, listening to music, reading the latest news updates, shopping, etc… and I am sure that many of you will agree that your lives reflect a similar pattern. The Internet is clearly influencing, and in many cases, replacing traditional media technologies, and is transforming the way in which we use media.

(Also… see my posts on citizen journalism which add to this!!)


Flew, T. 2002. New Media: An Introduction. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Goggin, G. 2006. Chapter 15: The Internet, online and mobile cultures. In The Media and Communications in Australia, ed. S. Cunningham and G. Turner, 259-278. NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Jenkins, H. 2004. The cultural logic of media convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1):33-43.

Schell, B.H. 2007. The Internet and Society: A Reference Handbook. California: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

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