The first two communication revolutions were the evolution of writing and the invention of printing. The world is now going through the third communication revolution resulting from the convergence of communication satellites, computers and digitization.
Digitization converts all information, text, sound and pictures into a binary code that can promptly travel through a global network of computers linked by telephones, fiber optics and satellites.
New media is the emergence of digital, computerized, or networked information and communication technologies. Most technologies described as "new media" are digital, some examples may be the Internet, websites, computer multimedia, computer game, CD-ROMS, and DVDs.
According to Van Dijk, the New Media is defined by its characteristics of integration, interactivity, and digital code.
The most important structural New Media characteristic is the integration of Telecommunication, Data Communication and Mass Communication into a single medium.
Integration is the merging of Telecommunications, Mass Communications, and Data Communications.
Two revolutionary techniques enable the process of integration.
1. Full digitalization of all media.
2. Broadband transmission through all connections by cable and air.
Van Dijk, J. (2006). The Network Society. (2nd Ed).
There has already been merging of certain communication forms but if they continue to merge, will we be left with just one form of New Media?
Interactivity allows a two way flow of information between a computer or other electronic devise and the user. A sequence of action and reaction.
Digital data is the most suitable for enabling interactivity. Interactivity sets apart the Old and new medias. Old media was more, sit back and interact, whereas, New Media has become more engaging. Technologies such as DVD, and Digital TV where the audience can control what they watch result in more interactivity. However, the internet is the main interactive system.
Today we are surrounded by a multi level convergent media world where all modes of communication and information are continually reforming to adapt to the enduring demands of technologies, changing the way we create, consume, learn and interact with each other.
Could these on going improvements, for example, in telecommunications be creating a spaceless world? Will electronics eliminate the need for face-to-face interactions?
We can already communicate large quantities of written information over long distances at almost no cost, by using information technologies such as email, fax machines, the Internet, and the World Wide Web. Existing technologies even enable us to hold virtual meetings in which people can look at and talk to each other over long distances.
So what is to become of society if the New Media continue to decrease social activity? Have they really thought it through? As Van Dijk pointed out, they did not think of the future consequences when developing private transportation as opposed to public transportation which resulted in traffic congestion environmental degradation and global warming.
So what will the consequences be of the roads for information and communication we are building?