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Internet: 'new' Media Q. Critically Examine The Argument That: 'new' Media Are Merely New Systems Of Delivery Of The Same Kind Of Content (Howells, 2003).

1651 words - 7 pages

Imagine a tool that could be used to access data universally, research material beyond the capability of any library, create endless possibilities for innovative communication mediums, and allow the people to connect worldwide. This tool appears to be science fiction, but it is more of a reality because it is the Internet. This new media was created by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1960 as military tool then twenty-nine years later the web was developed to make it easier for physicists to use data on the Internet in one single system (Corner 2004). The Internet is relatively young and has already created as much impact as television. According to a survey compiled by Nua Ltd in 1999, the number of Internet users rose from 26 million in 1995 to 205 million in 1999, an increase of almost 700% (Nua 2001)! In some ways, the Internet is bringing the same stories on a new medium, but it is an entirely new system of communicating that creates possibilities that are opening up locked doors.As pointed out by Mitchell Stephens, "New forms of communication are reduced primarily to imitating older forms of communication" (Stephens, 1998), the Internet can be seen as a new delivery of the same message. An example of this would be to read 'The Age' on the Internet would provide the same content as reading 'The Age' in the newspaper, news is still news. The fact that the medium has changed does not necessarily mean that that the meaning of the content changes, people are just tying to find new and faster ways of dispersing information, as we have done in the past for example writing gave way to books and newspapers and speech created radios and telephones.Richard Howells acknowledges that new media are just "convenient and consumer-friendly hardware systems, which deliver similar texts without altering their content" (Howells, 2003). Postal mail has evolved into a new technology called email, they both can basically send documents and attachments but email has the convenience and capability to send information quickly and at no cost. Marshall McLuhan also created the concept of media being an extension of the human body he claimed that "all media, from the phonetic alphabet to the computer, are extensions of man that cause deep and fasting changes in him and transforms his environment" (McLuhan, 1969). Through the Internet we extend our senses to connect to people, like a 'global village' through audio and visual cues. Text, according to Mitchell Stephens, imitated oral forms of communications such as the Bible (Stephens 1998). The Internet's exchange of information from one computer to another is the extension of a face-to-face conversation of two or more people, we need to encode, interpret and decode messages sent to us just like protocol (computer language used on the Internet). Everything is stuck in the old and new continuum. The Internet is to an extent; a new way of doing old things because Internet includes all existing forms of media and...

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