LINGO DECODED » #1: New Media

By Krystle van Hoof

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 19.43.26

What exactly is new about new media? What do we mean by media? What changes about it when it becomes new?

In Alternative and Activist New Media, Leah Lievrouw gives these questions a shot.

Lievrouw says that New Media has some things in common with what we would normally consider to be ‘media’ (broadcast media for example) but has several characteristics that set it apart—namely in the way that it is designed and used and its social and cultural consequences.

As a visual learner, I find it easiest to put these kinds of overlapping like-this-not-like-that definitions into an image of some kind. See below:


Now, with an example:

So, where does Social Media fit in?
You can think of social media as a subset of new media—it is made possible by the interactive potential of new media. By definition, social media must be social. Its purpose is to build virtual communities that allow for social interaction between users and user- generated and -curated content.  

New media, in contrast, provides opportunities for interaction but social interaction is not necessarily its raison d’être, as it is with social media.



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