Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Next New Thing

I think the next new type of new media will be an evolution of virtual reality. There could be a virtual reality game in the future where you put on a helmet and step into a virtual world. The player would experience more senses and be more connected to the technology of the game. In this way, the game(s) could become much more like reality. We see this type of virtual reality gaming in movies and television shows often. It doesn’t seem too farfetched to develop this kind of game in the future.

P2P and File Sharing

File sharing involves distributing information online. This information can include music, photos, videos, documents, and much more. People are able to file share via channels such as removable media, centralized servers, web-based documents, and P2P sharing.
P2P sharing, also known as peer-to-peer sharing, involves a centralized location where users can connect to a server and share files with others on the server. One example was Napster. Napster was one of the first big P2P sharing hubs, as “… college students praised [the site] because it enabled them to obtain hit songs without having to buy an entire album” (Choi, 2006). Users were able to share the single songs they craved rather than go out of their way to buy more than they wanted. P2P sharing creates sharing communities online, showing its relation to new media.

Privacy & Confidentiality

The topic of privacy online has become increasingly magnified with the continuous introduction of new media, specifically social networking sites. Sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter are great ways to connect with others, but they are also easy ways to share sensitive or private information. The problem with sharing information online is that once it is on the web, it is there forever. Sure, you can delete the post, but someone could have copy and pasted it or screenshot it. Not to mention sites like Facebook archive your activity on the site. Information is also automatically stored in code once created. People can talk online the same as when they talk in person, but there is a much greater risk of what you say being recorded and seen by unfriendly eyes. Of course, the same could be said for blogs and wikis. Putting sensitive information on the web for anyone to see could certainly come back to bite you. As new media continues to develop, we must be able to control ourselves and what information we distribute online for our own privacy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


New media is a great outlet for creativity. Social networking sites, wikis, blogs, YouTube, and many other new media forms thrive from and encourage creativity. Wiki-ing is creating your own site. Blogging is creating your own breaking news or stories. YouTube is creating your own videos to share, and watching others created by strangers. Social networking sites inspire creative discussion, and in some cases feed off of that discussion to improve the sites, such as Twitter did with “retweets” and lists discussed in Twitter Serves Up Ideas From Its Followers. New media takes the increased interaction caused by the Internet and uses it for starting social hubs all about creativity. Even if creating things isn’t the focus of the site, there is some form of creativity on it. Expressing yourself on Facebook, writing an article for Wikipedia, blogging about studying abroad: all of these are creativity at its finest. New media may very well be the greatest creative tool since the pencil.

Creativity and New Media

My classmate and I made this YouTube video this year for our marketing class. He has experience editing video so he was able to edit it well enough to resemble a Billy Mays-type commercial. The video is about a newly invented product called the Teecil. It is simply a golf tee and a pencil in one. The video has over 54,000 views and the creator of the Teecil has received orders that have referenced our video. It's pretty incredible to see how effective this new media tool is, especially for something like marketing.

Here is the link to the video posted on my friend's YouTube channel (moderate profanity): Jimmy with the Teecil

(I'm the golfer...)

Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds can be used in several different ways. The most common is simply that of a video game, or a way to have fun. I personally have never played games like World of Warcraft or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but have heard many rave about them. Others use it as a getaway. Worlds like that of SecondLife have been used to help people feel more involved or satisfied. The article ‘Naughty Auties’ battle autism with virtual interaction shows a great example. A man with Asperger’s created a world in SecondLife specifically for promoting social interaction with people with autism. They take advantage of the realistic discussion and second world while remaining in their comfort zones in the real world. This world is meant to help those who interact with people poorly in the real world improve their sociability. Some even use virtual worlds to go to familiar places, such as the Lower East Side discussed in I’ve Been in That Club, Just Not in Real Life, without the negative aspects experienced physically being there. Pros of virtual worlds include unique interaction with others, using the world as a getaway or safe haven, and the fostering of creativity. Creativity in virtual worlds can be anything from creating a character/avatar to developing your own community with rules and a “way of life.” Naughty Auties is a form of creativity caused by virtual worlds. David Savill created his own virtual gathering place with a specific goal in mind, and accomplished that goal. A virtual world is itself a creative way to “hang out” with other people. Cons of virtual worlds can be mostly related to getting too caught up in them. Spending too much time on games such as World of Warcraft could hinder your ability or opportunities to form relationships in person. There are many stories and plenty of stereotypes linked to virtual worlds of how people get lost in them. It will be interesting to see how virtual worlds evolve in the future. I’m sure it will involve more stimulation of the senses, with motion sensors and smells maybe. When I think of the future of virtual reality, I can’t help think something like Tron and putting on a helmet or suit to experience them.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Social Networking Sites

I used to have a MySpace account during the tail end of its peak popularity. I used it to interact with my friends, and I thought it was cool personalizing my profile with pictures, background images, and music. At the time, it was a fun thing to do online. When I first heard about Facebook, I was skeptical of it. I didn’t really think it would be that great. One of my friends finally convinced me to create a Facebook profile, and it very quickly outgrew MySpace. It had a little less creativity components, but it was much easier to communicate and interact with your friends. As time has gone on, Facebook has become even more popular, and not just with kids. Adults are now obsessed with it, as well. Facebook has become the most optimal way (for now) to keep in touch with friends or family you may not see often.

Twitter was another site I was skeptical of when it popped up. I thought it would be stupid, and had the common view that I didn’t need to know what people were eating for breakfast, etc. Finally, my friend and I decided that we would make one together (common theme of peer pressure, here…). At first, I used it sparingly to talk and joke around with friends, but now, I love it. It’s become one of my most visited sites, and I have completely changed the way I use it. I am a diehard New York Mets fan (unfortunate, I know), and I follow tons of baseball players, reporters, stat-keeping accounts, and fellow fans. I’ve even met new people via tweeting them about the Mets. Twitter for me is a huge sports hub. It is mostly Mets, but I do follow almost all things MLB and lots of other athletes and sports. I’ve followed more news sites as well. I go to Boston College, and during the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent events, the whole BC community was following the real-time updates from news sources like the Boston Globe on Twitter. I still keep up with my Facebook page, but I noticeably pay more attention to and use Twitter.

A fourth and newer site that has recently become popular is Instagram. I created an account this past year, and don’t use it too much yet. The extent of my using it consists of random and funny pictures as jokes every once and a while. I follow only a few of my friends and a couple athletes. It just recently added video capability, basically spelling an end to Vine. It is interesting seeing how Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all very popular social networking sites, but each has found a way to differentiate itself enough to be successful on its own.