New Media: Digital, networked communication
New media includes both devices and programs that are increasingly dominating our space and time. The chart below separates new media by device and location.
Social networking sites that require registration indicate the numbers of regular users. Facebook is estimated at 300 million users. Skype states that is has 425 million registered users.
Welsch explains that rather than authentically communicating with one another, we are interacting with machines. This comic segment below from E! shows celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe speaking via cell phone to people in the same room.
Not only are we decreasing in authentic communication with one another, we are increasing in self-interest. Websites, Facebook, Blogs and Twitter are used for self-promotion and can generate a false sense of self-importance and a shallow, quick byte understanding of others.
We are now willingly, publicly revealing ourselves with new media. The idea of continually exposing our innermost thoughts is socially unprecedented. Wim Wender's film Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire, 1987) from just 2 decades ago, featured a famous subway scene in which only an angel could hear what people were really thinking.
Now on Twitter, anyone can have a window into anyone else's soul. For example, Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X, comments on a feeling of not feeling, while days before he was laughing at flamethrowers on YouTube. Twitter commentary varies from blatant self promotion, as with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, to corporate promotion like the NYTimes (which has gift ideas for the inner child with everything). Even a dog's owner has decided to post for him. Some people consider new media a type of democratization. However with only 1.6 billion people regularly using the internet, 5 million are disconnected. There is also the question if using new media can break through existing social barriers. While it is true that many small voices have received recognition, the most followed Tweets and blogs are those that belong to celebrities and corporations.
New media and television: Pappathanassopoulos describes that television and the internet are converging into screen culture. TV websites began as auxiliary and are slowly providing the same thing as the internet. TV websites are an advantage to channels because they add archiving and a more global audience.
Estonia was considered an old world Russian-Nordic fishing community. Since its independence it has joined Eurovision and generated new media like Skype. The e-election showed photos like the one above, with seniors demonstrating card readers and e-voting publicly. By contrast, computerless peasants like those featured below, dominate Estonia outside of Tallin.