The Internet vs. Principles of New Media. Winston vs. Manovitch.

How does the Internet fit into the principles of new media?  The ideology of “new media” has been around since the 1880’s, since the invention of the typesetting machines, which included standardization of design and fonts. In actuality “new media” is not so new.

My job title at work is New Media Production Coordinator, but I never really understood what “New Media” meant beyond PowerPoint presentations and digital video and photography. Thanks to Lev Manovitch and his Principles of New Media, I now know the secret to this illusive term “New Media”.

Manovitch provided a glossary of terms that I use on a daily basis, resolution, sampling, DIGITIZATION. But where do they all fall in the chain of command of new media? Manovitch broke everything down to a very elementary level that helped me follow, because, despite the fact that I use these terms these terms EVERY day, I really never bothered to explore what they actually meant. I have broken the complexities of Manovitch down to ten easy steps for dealing with the details that make up New Media and how this relates to Winston’s points about the Internet:

#1 our culture is undergoing computerization- we all know that, but all new media is composed of digital code. It can be described mathematically. Zeros and ones. Media becomes programmable. Removing noise from a photograph.

The Internet is basically computers communicating with other computers. Zeros and ones and backslashes.

#2 Discrete – the standardization of objects and methods. Very important in the evolution of New Media. The Internet has evolved to the state it is today through standardization of emails and web pages.

#3 Modularity –a piece of digital media composed of different elements is modular. When one piece is missing the whole thing doesn’t work, the WWW is modular, different elements are built up other elements

#4 Automation- Take #1 and #3 and you got automation. Automation leads to diffusion and ease of use. How the Internet went from informational to useful.

#5 Variability- is the INFINITE possibilities that a piece of New Media can have. Anyone who has done any digital video or audio editing or even digital document knows about possibilities, and well incorporating #1 and #3, adding numerical value to a modular piece can result in INFINITE possibilities. I’m not sure there is another service of information as variable as the Internet.

And alas I end with a direct quote from Principles of New Media, “By the end of the twentieth century, the problem was no longer how to create a new media object such as an image; the new problem was to find an object that already exists.” This was the introduction of archives and libraries of information and well, search engines, bring in Google, Firefox, and now… RSS….

My supplemental reading was RSS, Tivo for the Web.

RSS is like TiVo for the web, but not exactly. RSS is spitting back code to people that do not understand it. There is no easy user experience yet. Yahoo has incorporated RSS, while other internet portals such as MSN are a little tentative. Consumers are starting to want RSS, which causes for the technology to change and become more user friendly.

– Andrea Mydlarz Zeller

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