MPM107 – New Media Research Methodologies
Professor – Alexandra Bal
New Media Research Methodology
Over time the study of new media research has greatly evolved, although the term new media research did not originate until recently (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu). One of the most basic challenges facing new media research, is defining the object of ones study (Dovey). One specific common focuses of new media studies is the medias communication correlation’s with its audience. A large part of the communication research in the 20s’ 30s’ 50s’ and 60s’ was arguably new media research without being labeled as such (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu). The focus of media studies research over time would change from the current most popularized media form to the newest more technologically advanced creation of the era. In the 1920s and 1930s media research in the U.S and Europe revolved around the rise and influences of the new media of the time being radio and film. In the 1950s and 1960’s when television started to become popularized and begun to replace the radio as a key item in the living rooms of households similar new media research studies took place (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu). The concept of new media research only became widespread during the mid 1990s, when the next wave of innovative mainstream technologies specifically including the popularization of the internet beginning to take place (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu).
Although the internet became popularized in the mid 90s’, the internet as contemporary mediascape is now no longer necessarily considered to be a new medium. If the creation of the “ARPA NET”, which is the network that formed the basis of the internet, the technology is already more than 40 years old (Zaharidis, Pau and Camarilo). It way internet is evoluting however is creating a media form this is providing clear tensions between the focuses of 20th century traditional media studies, and the 21st century modern focuses of media studies. The changes in the traditional patterns of media production provided by digital technologies and the internets networking aspects is causing challenges to both practitioners and theorists (Dovey). The 20th centuries traditional media studies was centered around specific things including, the effects of technology being socially determined, active audiences, Interpretation, Spectatorship, Centralized Media, Consumer and Work. Where as 21 centuries New media studies such are centered around the nature of society being technologically determined, the Interactive users, the experience, immersion, Participants/co-creators and Play (Dovey). The rise of the internet had a major impact and greatly contributes to dissolution of multiple separate object-technologies and institution’s correlation with media that was popularized prior to the internet’s existence (Dovey).
Statistics show that the internet usage has achieved a penetration of 77.5 percent in North America 61.3 percent in Australia 58.4 percent in Europe of 2010 (Zaharidis, Pau and Camarilo) and these numbers continue to grow. The reason that this media form is so dominate and popular is because the boundaries of separating multiple media sources via the internet is seamless compared to the traditional mediums. The internets created forms of media that existed prior to its invention, including print, radio and television to all be simply accessible through their online domain . The internet similarly to the traditional media forms over the years was provided with many technological developments and improvements. These technological adjustments allowed the increase of audience power and control (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu). In the past the power and control that media provided was limited to a specific variety of options between specific themes or perspectives to select from that was all provided by various major institutions. Now the internet has become a mega platform upon which our modern forms of new media has emerged. It is evolving toward even richer and more immersive experiences. Unlike the previous media sources, internet allows common citizens to contribute substantially to the content and information available. Making a major focus in this field communication technology (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu).
The internet has grown to become a media source that provides new groundbreaking forms of interactive communication technologies which is now providing whats is being called the newest forms of new media technology. The internet has sustained many different types of communication that is organized and conducted by a large variety of both individuals and institutions. It has provided various communication technologies including emails, chat rooms and websites, which are channels for both mass and interpersonal communication, with material that gets produced by both professionals and the users themselves. Therefore, behind internet communication is not only a medium but also a mix of media and behind the internet alone is not a specific type of institutional arraignment but large variety of institutional and non institutional actors (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu).The internet has evolved to be the most important medium for information exchange and core communication environment for business as well as social interactions (Zaharidis, Pau and Camarilo). The digital advances in aspects such video capturing and creation over time has lead to massive creation of new user generated multimedia content and internet applications, that include 3D videos, simulations, immersive environments, networking games and virtual worlds (Zaharidis, Pau and Camarilo).
Communication and technology research, compared with mass media or interpersonal or organizational research, emphasizes more on the point-to-point or networked interactions (Dovey). More recent new media communication research has shifted from the prior emphasis on effects or impacts of it to a greater concern with how social groups and institutions adapt, structure, and shape the development and use of these communication technologies (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu). Now a lot of today’s new media is referring to the more specific sites and “apps” in the era of mobile technologies and web 2.0 including facebook, twitter, youtube, wikipedia and many more (Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu). New media reachers are beginning to simply change their object of study from “the internet” to the specific new media media that have appeared recently (Dovey). Media practice researchers see the new ecologies of media as an new opportunity for creating our own independent networks of research-based production and distribution (Dovey).
An example of an effect of the way that new media on the internet provided by web 2.0 is giving individuals a substantial amount of new control and power is found in an article by Martin Karlsson titled “Representation as interactive communication. Theoretical considerations and empirical findings”. Karlsson describes media’s new form of social interaction between politics and the electorate. He discusses the importance of social media usage by political representatives in order to gain support from their citizens. Karlsson outlines the reasons and strategy applied by politic representatives to gain the trust and positive rating among the potential voters via the blogging media. He emphasizes, that today in order to promote their political views and appealing promising strategies, it’s essential to actively perform on the web media scene. Karlsson suggests that political representatives should be open to use these social media technologies to listen to what bloggers have to say about them for three reasons: accountability, inquiry, and connectivity. According to these categories, theoretically, the strategy of communication would expand successfully and subsequently and lead to desired goals. Accountability generally describes the point that us as citizens deserve the explanation as to what the goals, ambitions, and interests of different political representatives are. The second being inquiry describes the importance of knowing what the citizens want from the political representatives, the importance of knowing their struggles, their demotivates, and what they are unhappy with in order for them to strengthen their weaknesses and harken their suggestions. The third point is connectivity. When the citizens are able to speak and get their voices out there to the political representatives and have them listen to what they have to say, this doubtlessly strengthens the relationship between the citizen and the political representative hence making them more popular amongst the crowd meaning a reinforced possibility of re-election. This method is particularly useful because people deserve to know what the political representatives are being elected for as well as the reason behind their re-elections. In his work, Karlsson goes into detailed review and comparing of an original political campaign system and a new form of communication using new media between civilians and the government itself in this form of political representatives as online bloggers. This idea provides a sense of a closer relationship between the supreme power and authority and the citizens through this aspect of new media offered via internet. This gives a feeling that the modern society becomes more influential in terms of political regime, that simply human thoughts will be heard and considered, and that the voters are able to examine the potential governor more thoroughly (Karlsson).
The definition and the overall functions, studies and culture of new media research and it’s methods over time has greatly evolved to to become this form of modern new media that is hard to image living without. The focus of interactive communications in this field has too drastically developed over time and is currently providing people with the most power and control than ever before. Its caused for human nature to so greatly shift to the point that we now are easily able to communicate with people in positions it would be almost impossible to communicate with in the past. In a sense it dissolves the hierarchy to an extent, and allows average people to directly address whatever opinion or feelings they have that they want to share, via the variety of social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, Blogging sites and Youtube. This power and control in a way allows every individual to be on the same level and feel as if their thoughts and opinions matter. New media over will only continue to evolve and provide us with new innovative technologies that should extremely improve our standards of living. People now just have to sit back and be ready for new media’s next wave of transformation.
Dovey, Jonathan. (2008), ‘Dinosaurs and butterflies – media practice research in new
media ecologies’, Journal of Media Practice 9: 3, pp. 243–256, eBook
In this volume of Jonathan Dovey’s article he discusses the traditional patterns of media production and consumption brought about by digital technologies. He contrast the difference between traditional media studies and what we now consider to be new media studies. It goes on to explain how as the practices of mass media dissolve into the web, many of our assumptions are being questioned. The article dominantly focuses on what he called media 2.0 from web 2.0.
Francis , L. F. Lee, Leung Louis, Linchuan Jack Qiu, and S.C. Donna Chu. Frontiers in New Media Research. Routledge Research in Information Technology and Society. New York: Routledge, 2013. 7-15. eBook.
Frontiers in New Media Research is written by the four authors Francis, Louis, Qiu, and Chu because of the wide range of through examination of new media research that it covers. Over all this book covers the continuing emergence and diversity of new media forms, content, services, and how they are creating a shift from the clarity of technological objects to a frontier of convergence, digitization and dissolving the boundaries among technologies via new media. It discuses the integration of existing and new theories and methods, global themes in internet research, integrated/ new theoretical models. This eBook contributes to that broadening and deepening of understanding the frontiers in new media research.
Karlsson, Martin Representation as interactive communication. Theoretical considerations and empirical finding, Volume 16, Issue 8, 2013
The key points of this article by Martin Karlsson are covered in the essay. describes media’s new form of social interaction between politics and the electorate. He discusses the importance of social media usage by political representatives in order to gain support from their citizens. Karlsson outlines the reasons and strategy applied by politic representatives to gain the trust and positive rating among the potential voters via the blogging media.
Zaharidis Theodore , Pau Giovanni , Camarilo Gonzalo Future Media Internet” Communications Magazine, Series Editorial, Article
This article by Zaharidis, Pau and Camarilo focuses on statistics and facts about the origin, evolution and their predicted ideas of the future of the internet. They discuss and study the worldwide internets usage as well as the new forms of of media thats its beginning to appear. IT goes in depth about the concept of creation of new user generated multimedia content and internet applications, that include 3D videos, simulations, immersive environments, networking games and virtual worlds.