New Media and Its Effects on Our Culture

There is no doubt in the fact that technology, specifically the new digital media, has changed the way humans do things. Technology has helped the world in a lot of ways — it paved the way for medical advancements, made communicating easier, and the list goes on. Technology indeed made lives easier, and it has gotten to the point where one cannot seem to live without it.  The new wave of digital media, in particular, has defined the society we are currently in. 

The Media Now 

Before, media was only limited to broadcasting, photography, and print. Although old media can still be seen today, the rise of new media has led the former to adapt in some ways. New media is now more interactive and less hierarchical. Media is now more engaging since it is now possible for the audience to participate in producing their own content and media as well. This was not possible before since old media has an authorship or hierarchical kind of characteristic; producers were the only ones capable of dictating content. Money and power were the two things people needed to have in order to create content —thanks to new media, this is not the case now. 

Today’s Culture 

The rise of new media has made it possible for people to connect and communicate no matter which part of the world they are in. This opportunity that was given by new media surely have implications on the culture that is seen in our society today. 

A culture that is so close, yet so far; this is the culture that everyone is experiencing today. Indeed, new media created endless possibilities for people to easily experience the presence of each other. It also brought things closer because new media made almost everything accessible. Walter Benjamin described that because of how accessible the culture has become, it removed the “aura” in life. He describes aura as “the feeling of awe or reverence” that happens after experiencing unique and outstanding objects. Mass production somehow altered the meaning of things since it made objects possible to be seen anywhere. The world slowly transformed to a place where time and space are not relevant anymore. People do even need to physically see each other anymore when they need each other’s company; videochats such as Facetime got it covered for you. The aura of being together and being able to genuinely experience each other is slowly being replaced by the computer screen. 

The truth is I consider myself as someone who is dependent on my phone. Almost everything that I need to do, I always end up relying on my phone. Simply going to places that I have already been in, I still rely on my phone by using the application Waze. It is quite peculiar that I have to always do this even if I memorize every single turns and direction going to my destination. It always seems like every movement I do is pre-determined by technology, specifically media. Everytime I type on google, list of words pop up as if it already knows what I am searching for, and most often than not, the choices presented to me have what I am actually looking for. I am positive that this does not only happen to me, but it also happens to every single person who has phones or laptops. This trend really eradicates the capacity of a normal human being to think for himself/herself since media already has the tendency to dictate all our actions. This ultimately creates a toxic culture of dependency on technology and media.

Of course, all the positive effects of digital media on today’s culture should not be left unnoticed. Its power of connecting people around the world helped the society to be more understanding and aware of the issues people are experiencing everywhere. Compared to how the society was before, where racism and discrimination was rampant, people are now more inclusive and informed. The ability of new media to transform relationships and lifestyles are signs of how powerful technology is, and so, one must always keep in mind that something so powerful like such can impact lives and cultures.

Miller, Vincent. Understanding Digital Culture. Los Angeles: Sage, 2011.

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