To start with, we might briefly begin acknowledging that the field of communication (theory and practice) from mass media to networked media and information technologies, have been developing in a continuous process in a global history marked by progress in technology and changes in societies (economically, culturally and politically) throughout twentieth century, and its evolving process and changes brought several implications for social movements and citizen driven social changes.
“This changing landscape has created unprecedented opportunities for expressions and interaction, especially among activists, artists, and other political and cultural groups around the world who have found new media to be inexpensive, powerful tools for challenging the givens of mainstream or popular culture” (Lievrouw, 2011, p. 2).
Within the limits of this work, we might highlight one huge change in this communication landscape: media audiences and consumers are now also media users and participants.
In order to understand new media, it is useful to ground our thoughts on some theoretical frames. To start with, one crucial concept is mediation. Based on Lievrouw (2011, p. 4), mediation can be understood as the use of technological channels to extend or enhance communication, and the interpersonal process of participation or intervention in the creation and sharing of meaning. In this complex and ongoing mediation process, we have on one hand, reconfiguration of technologies, and on another hand, remediation of content.
In other words, when people employ technological channels and devices to communicate, they can modify and adapt media technologies to suit their various purposes and interests, and they also adapt and remix existing materials, expressions, and interactions to create new works and ideas.
To sum up, since the creation of internet and the rise of networked society, ordinary people are not only consumers of communication products, but also users and producers, and we can say that most of them are in fact using new media technologies to communicate and engage with each other.
By Cristina F. Souza
Lievrouw, Leah (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Oxford: Polity Press