Levinson, Paul. “Why “New New” Media?” In New New Media, 1-16. New York: Allyn & Bacon, 2009.
In Paul Levinson’s article, “Why “New New” Media?”, Levinson discusses the widespread implications of understanding the differences not just between old media and new media but also the differences between new media and new new media. Levinson begins by defining the five most prominent principles of new media which include:
- You Can’t Fake Being Nonprofessional – authors are not working for a newspaper or broadcast medium
- Choose Your Medium – people can decide which medium they prefer which complements their specific talents
- You Get What You Don’t Pay For – media are free to the consumer and sometimes for the producer
- Competitive and Mutually Catalytic – media are competitive and they simultaneously support each other
- More Than Search Engines and Email – new new media are different because they allow users to customize options, create content, and add specific applications (2-3)
One key element present in both new media and new new media is that “it give[s] users the same control of when and where to get text, sound and audio-visual content” (3). Within the scope of new new media, there are multiple categories. Levinson acknowledges that overlap occurs between categories; however, he defines these categories “based on the services they provide and the way they provide them” (5). These categories include 1) Print, Audio, Audio-Visual, Photographic, 2) News, 3) Social Media, 4) General vs. Specific Systems, 5) Politics and Entertainment, 6) New New Media and Governmental Control, 7) Microblogging and Blogging, and 8 ) Hardware vs. Software. Levinson also discusses how hardware such as the iPhone has propelled and made possible the speed with which the systems previously mentioned have become available (8).
Levinson then catalogs his own involvement with new new media experiences. This list of “achievements” in regards to new new media establishes his own knowledge on the topic and builds his credibility as one who understands the field. Indeed, since joining Facebook in 2004, Levinson has created a MySpace account complete with blog posts, uploaded video segments of televisions appearances to YouTube, contributed to Wikipedia articles, created three podcasts, began an independent blog on Infinite Regress, joined Digg, signed-up with Twitter, and joined Second Life (9-10). He then explains how he organized his book based on the “order of importance of the new new media in the 2008-2009 world, followed by several chapters that address across-the-board issues pertinent to all new media” (11).
I found Levinson’s article interesting and insightful, given that I am only somewhat familiar with the new new media he discusses. In fact, I have only joined two of the new new media he mentions, but I am a frequent user of (or familiar with) almost all the new new media listed. The section toward the end of his article which discusses “The Dark Side of New New Media” resonated with me, particularly because of a recent incident at Lovejoy High School. Apparently, cyberbullying has recently driven a boy at the school to attempt suicide. He is currently in the hospital, barely emerging from a coma, and yet students at the high school are continuing to post disgusting, hateful content on his Facebook page. One student even posted a YouTube video this weekend titled, “How to Commit Suicide.” We need to be cognizant of such horrific events because new new media is not going away any time soon. Therefore, we have the responsibility as technical communicators to use the new new media is appropriate, professional, and ethical ways to achieve a positive purpose. How can we engage effectively with new new media while setting positive examples to the younger generation of new new media users? Additionally, how do we communicate the ethics of new new media in a practical way?