I – A little bit on context
For the purposes of this work, 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.
Thus, before we talk about media activism, we think it is important to go back and discuss on knowledge of the development of media during last two decades. Last two decades shows us the dramatic changes in media and the way people engage with media. These changes are especially seen after the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 and resulted in alteration of media in the world (Hemer & Tufte).
First, new media technologies have been developing in such ways that have resulted in lowering cost of broadcasting. Currently, it is almost relatively no cost to have an online newspaper and online radio or online youtube channel.
Second, new media tools removed barriers to produce content.
Third, new technology increased the number of media organizations and media mediums: newspapers, radio stations, televisions, and internet (also we need to count online newspapers, online radios, and online televisions).
Finally, new technologies provided a new type of interaction with the source of media, content providers as well as readers. Thus, because of new media has become more popular among people, we strongly believe that internet has constructed a new type of media.
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.
Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong (2006) Control and Freedom Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics. Massachussets: MIT Press
Hemer, Oscar & Tufte, Thomas (2005) Media and Glocal Change. Rethinking Communication for Development. Buenos Aires: CLACSO.
Lievrouw, Leah (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Oxford: Polity Press
Nederveen Pieterse, J. (2005). Digital Capitalism and Development: the Unbearable Lightness of ICT4D. Lovink, G. and Zehle, S. The Incommunicado Reader (pp. 11-29) Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.