Thursday, June 24, 2010

New New Media...or Late Late Show

Unlike my colleagues that have takn Dr. Levinson's classes already, I will be experiencing one of his classes, Media and Social Awareness coming up in the Fall. He sounds like a very experienced and quite technical man. His heavy involvement in "new new media" is quite "daunting" and scary at times, the way he describes the plethora of new new media that exist. I will have to agree with Mike that I also think of new new media as anything digital, as in the case of HDTV and the infamous iPod (however I always thought that you could also become creative with the iPod and produce some kind of work with it)...anyhow, never mind me, I am not that technological. As you may already know, my technology goes as far back as Quadraphonic Stereo! But Levinson's descriptions of MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Digg were explained with so much care and consideration you can't help but get to appreciate the art behind these media. They do serve some purpose, and like I always say, they are there to "pick and choose" to your personal needs.

The book appears well written, with the student in mind, unlike the other books I have had to read for this course, which appear to be too technical at times. The idea of being a consumer and producer sounds quite appealing. However, my personal opinion is that the few new new media that I use put me at the consumer's end more than on the producing end. I don't know how to produce a video segment for YouTube, I am not involved in Twitter, have never sent a "tweet" from an iPhone or Blueberry (pun intended, to quote Levinson!), I am lucky to even have a cell phone! What troubles me is that many authorities in education and the media assume that every young person knows how to use new new media, without considering that there are people (like myself) who are just barely learning how to post on a blog. The blog for this course offers great exercise in blogging. At least my theory is that if you have working knowledge of a computer you can virtually pick up all of these new new media nuances in a flash. But does our work on new new media really receive the attention it truly deserves at a grand scale or does it become "written off" as a form of "entertainment" for the masses? How serious are amateur works taken to effectuate real change?

I couldn't help but title my post "New New Media...or Late Late Show! This new new media is a carryover from the original new media, which comprise of the Internet, email, chat rooms, etc. These former are still used by the way, only that new things like Skype, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. are further adaptations to what was already new media. Coversely, the old media of print, newspapers, and even television have all influenced what we now have come to embrace as alternatives. Just like when watching the Late Show movie at night, the Late Late Show is a carryover of the Late Show, featuring another movie, perhaps more violent or containing graphic content. You may disagree with this comparison, but here is the other side of this comparison: The Late Show is experienced by those still awake around 11:45PM, and so was new media, which was embraced rather quickly by the masses. On the other hand, The Late Late Show is given much later around 2AM and not that many people are awake to watch. New new media, with its interactive consumer/pruducer quality may be open for all to use and there may be lots of blogs about important topics, but the important people to whom the blogs or the amateur works are aimed at are "asleep" and probably don't care to see who is trying to make a difference using these new new media. If you get my point, then you fully understand that new new media receives too much hype and only becomes relegated to pure entertainment offering some false sense of security.

I am quite sure that Dr. Levinson has a great reputation and that anyone who sees his posts, including famous people, will respond with great ease because they know the work Dr. Levinson does and has done, going back to his contact with one of the stars of "Mad Men". It appears to me that no matter how much we are convinced that our amateur work is recognized or even matters, there are certain people who are more educated or "information wealthy" that can receive recognition or even receive contact from a top celebrity. I will give you an example: if you wanted to add Jennifer Love Hewitt as a friend on Facebook, you would be directed to her Fan Club. Let's face it, even if you made some poster or wallpaper with all of Jennifer Love Hewitt's phtos and even if you sent her a comment about her role on "Ghost Whisperer", she would not get back to you personally, especially if you are not some famous wirter or person in the entertainment world, or even someone with some connections. Our interaction with new new media has its limits, and the push for copyright laws to protect artists work is a step in the right direction, especially in cyberspace. Regardless, it is a pleasant idea to know that we can use these "tools" to teach us a lesson in life and even a lesson in creativity. That goes back to my initial premise of the computer, as a "learning tool" which acts as a "medium" but is not fully a medium.

Finally, the money issue always seems to make its appearance, even though personally it is sickening to me to have to hear it mentioned. I KNOW: we all need money and we all need to make a living off of it, but do we have to mention it all the time; it is a given, why waste time talking about the cost factor? Can't we at least talk about the pleasure something gives us or the satisfaction it provides? If we know that new new media usage promotes entertainment, then why do some people have to insist on discussing dollars and cents? If some people can make money off of blogs or uploading YouTube videos, then good for them! Making people believe they are in control of their work when in fact they aren't is not realistic. The corporations that have brainwashed most of the world are to take responsibility and reassess priorities. The buck stops here!

Overall, the book is probably the most enjoyable that I have encountered for a while. Regardless, it presents a grim outlook on education and how the outside world and corporate demands have seeped into the classroom and shattered traditional learning. It is unfortunate that students in a classroom are distracted by new new media and don't pay attention to a professor. Then what is the use of spending so much money (AHA!! Here is where we TRULY must discuss the value of money!) in a college classroom when it is poorly assumed that "kids know more than teachers"? Naturally, I don't buy that argument. If you are in a classroom, you come to learn and to be educated. If you are going to waste time texting and playing your iPod, for the sake of new new media, then don't waste your time in class and leave. Otherwise, two thumbs up for Dr. Levinson!


  1. When you mentioned how many authority figures assume young people know how to use new new media, that makes me strongly believe there should be future classes in grammar school aimed at teaching young kids about Communications and Media. I don't understand why there aren't Communication classes in grammar and middle school....or even high school for that matter.

  2. I would have loved to take a communication class in high school!

    It sounds like you are really going to enjoy class with Levinson.

  3. Actually, as far as classes in grade school, that's the idea of media literacy, and there are folks out there who advocate for it, and who teach it, and there are organizations like the American Media Literacy Association. As for the assumptions about what young folks know and don't know, the point is well taken. Since I actually teach the stuff, I'm well aware of how teenagers and young adults have trouble venturing outside of their comfort zone, which mainly consists of Facebook.