This is the beginning of a directed study on New Media (a very open and general kind of descriptor for what we'll be talking about). I will link to an article (or two) and then pose a few ideas or questions for consideration. So, let's begin the discussion on blogs.
We can begin by asking a few questions (that don't necessarily need to be answered here):
What is “new media”? What is “old media”?
In his forward to the book edited by Quentin J. Schultze and Robert H. Woods Jr., entitled, Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2008), Clifford Christians states, “The discussion of media technologies—radio, film, books, internet, gaming and the rest—are a venue for the permanent questions about our place in the universe.” (Schultze, 8)
Schultze begins to describe new media: “The idea of mass media has been replaced by networked media. Narrowcasting has replaced broadcasting. Media power has become democratized; low-cost digital production lets younger evangelicals tell stories in multiple venues.” (Schultze, 15)
Narrowcasting can be defined as the dissemination of information to a specific audience (also called niche marketing). It presupposes that there is no such thing as a mass audience.
Podcasts are a type of narrowcast, since they are generally targeted towards a specific sharply-defined audience. Just a note regarding Apple and the podcast - it doesn’t really come from the term "iPod," but it became synonymous with it.
Advertising can be thought of narrowcasting, a kind of persuasion, an attempt to make us think a certain way. It moves in one direction, towards the audience, attempting to sway the consumer is a particular direction.
What about some of the opinions that we have, some that might be coaxed along by narrowcasting, that we hold without firsthand experience? Why do we hold these kinds of opinions and how do we develop them?
Schultze states, “we are inclined to use communication, including media, to support our existing views of reality. We pick and choose media according to what we want, what we enjoy, what we like to discuss with others. For instance, Christian contemporary music fans download more of it than do the music’s detractors. We use media to mediate our experience of reality in tune with our interests and desires, even our religious beliefs. If we don’t like U2 or Amy Grant, we spend time with friends who share our criticisms. We like to know that we have got it right, even self-righteously so!” (Schultze 20)
“those shared definitions of reality function like shared maps that help us navigate life by making judgments about faith and culture, including popular culture.” (Schultze 20)
Take a look at this article: Qian, Hua and Craig R. Scott. “Anonymity and Self-Disclosure in Weblogs.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12:4 (2007).
What are the authors' points in the article? Do you agree or disagree?
Also, take a look at the following blog posting, which suggests how to write good blog postings. Is this useful?
Finally, are blogs now a thing of the past? If so, what has replaced them? If not, how long will they last?