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Glossaries and Terminologies

From the comments (How about a glossary page on this site?), Simon asks for some clarification on the terminology used in this blog. And that’s both fair and useful (as it means I have to situate some of the things I think are self-evident).

So. The daddy first:

New Media.

New media is here assumed to include all platforms, content and experiences that might be said to be mediated through a digital technology. That is, the manner of their reception is implicated by being delivered by binary data in some form, as opposed to a physical counterpart, as is found in ‘old’ media.

That’s as near a dictionary definition as I can make, although it is inherently complicated by temporality. To Marshall McLuhan (I’ve observed before now that my take on all of this is largely McLuhanite), television and broadcast technology constituted ‘new media’, and an effort to understand the impact of those changes informs his writings. From our perspective, the internet isn’t particularly ‘new’ anymore, and to a generation one or two below mine, ‘new’ is something different again. In my terms, though, the ‘mediated by digital technology’ tag gives me enough room to maneuver.

Furthermore, while I think of it, McLuhan’s observation that:

Our typical response to a disrupting new technology is to recreate the old environment instead of heeding the new opportunities of the new environment. Failure to notice the new opportunities is also failure to understand the new powers

adds a tangential context – each iteration of a New Media disrupts the existing technological landscape – probably better defined as a technological ecology – and in doing so changes our understanding, and use of it.

And, while we’re here – McLuhanite?

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) serves as a unifying ground upon which my work builds its proposals. Chiefly, McLuhan’s desire for a unified language of media (published posthumously as The Laws of Media (McLuhan, Marshall, McLuhan, Eric. 1992. University of Toronto Press), and proposed as Enhancement, Reversal, Retrieval and Obsolescence of media forms and content) is echoed in this work’s desire to address key issues heretofore taken for granted in the ecology of new media, and to propose a set of tools by which writers might engage with an audience increasingly native to the medium.

McLuhan’s overarching manifesto – that media ought not to be considered as a maelstrom of content out of which it is impossible to discern structural form and purpose – resulted in a body of work that defined a critical language for an infant media studies field (with particular reference to electronic media). While McLuhan’s findings have been challenged and debate has arisen around the veracity of his claims they nevertheless constitute a rigourous attempt to define a complete schema of media culture. In this manner, McLuhan’s thesis sits within a late Modernist agenda, reflective of a constitutive confrontation of new cultural forms and technologies.

There Si – does that help? I’ll categorise all of these entries as ‘glossary’, and once there are a few of them, also see about adding a separate page to the site.


4 comments for “Glossaries and Terminologies”

  1. Thanks, that’s much clearer. So when I write BOOBIES on my upside-down electronic calculator, that’s new media. Got it.

    Posted by Simon | May 3, 2008, 9:51 am
  2. Hahahaha… boobies!

    Posted by mongo | May 4, 2008, 10:44 pm
  3. Hahahaha… boobies!

    Posted by mongo | May 4, 2008, 10:44 pm
  4. Bloody internet double posting boobies nonsense

    Posted by mongo | May 4, 2008, 10:45 pm

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