The past has shown time and again that new media technologies have an impact on social coexistence. The new media technologies also have the potential to shape our society.
Understanding The Effect of New Technology on the Evolution of Media and Society
Writing, an important medium, has decisively changed the way society is organized. This made it possible to send instructions over long distances and to many people, thereby greatly expanding one’s own sphere of influence.
Régis Debray, a communications scientist, believes that the social and cultural factors, not just the level of expertise, are responsible for the growth of new media technology. He introduced the concept of “mediology” in this sense. He defines this as a discipline concerned with higher social roles and their relationship to transmission technological systems. It therefore considers not only emerging technologies but also the people who use them and, most importantly, the areas where they have been and are being used.
In the 11th century, China had wooden letters that could move. These, however, were not further evolved due to a lack of demand for printed matter and the Chinese character writing system. In the Latin writing system, only a few letters and characters were needed to represent the whole written language, so the movable lead letters were only cost-effective.
However, the development of a new medium does not guarantee that it can find a spot in the user’s daily life. Shift in media use is a phenomenon that may occur slowly or rapidly, depending on culture. The impact of consumers on the introduction of a digital medium is stressed by SR director Fritz Raff.
The new medium has an impact on the tasks and importance of the old media. In the first stage, the new media are often taken over by the existing ones. Derrick de Kerckhove describes in his book “From the Alphabet to the Computer” the interactions that were observed in the development of the individual mass media technologies. As an example, he cites the appropriation of telegraph technology by the newspaper and the subsequent development of the radio as an independent medium that competed with the newspaper. He also describes the impact television had on the press and vice versa. So the length of the articles decreased. The production and sales of reviews and magazines increased as, according to de Kerckhove, the audience’s attention decreased.
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The impact the internet has on existing media is also impressive. The online network “Craiglist”, which was founded by Craig Newmark in the USA and publishes free classifieds on the Internet, has withdrawn its advertisers from the classifieds market of the American press. Newmark is also seen as the gravedigger of the traditional media because of this fact. Likewise, the possibilities of auctioning or selling consumer goods via eBay and other consumer-to-consumer networks have reduced the importance of advertising journals, since advertisements on the Internet are cheaper and, due to its extensive geographical independence, reach a broader group of potential customers.
Evidence of the adoption of the new medium by the existing one must also be provided. The print media, television and radio use the Internet as an additional means of transmission for their content. Even if online editorial offices do their own research and publish, they are still committed to the print edition in terms of working methods and journalistic standards.