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					New Media Technologies:
Communication Theories

COM 300

Kathy E. Gill
23 Jan 2007
   Recap Last Week
   Characteristics of New Media
   Managing Overload
   Technology Adoption
   Lab
New Media
   Typically nonlinear
   Dynamic
   “Live” (maybe)
   Multi-media (visual, auditory)
   Relies on hypertext
   User controls pace and direction
   Transient audience
One new technology

 Presents information as linked nodes
 Breaks the linear narrative
     Envisioned by Vannevar Bush (1945)
     Coined by Ted Nelson
     Apple : Hypercard
     Online (software) Help systems
     Tim Berners-Lee
Networks of Remediation           (1/3)

 “A medium is that which remediates”
  … and it is measured “against” other
  media (like we just did)
 New media in turn change the “older”
   TV … tickertape
   Print … adopting web design conventions
Networks of Remediation            (2/3)

 Economic success depends on
  supplanting a pre-existing medium
   Conflict: newspaper websites v paper
   Conflict: CDs v downloadable (sharable)
 Hypermediacy
   Survivor… The Apprentice… mediated or
Networks of Remediation                (3/3)

 How do we separate technology from
  its social use? Can we?
   Technological determinism : says
    technology causes social change … Social
    determinism is the converse
     Corollary: “nature versus nurture” …
      “'technology-push” v “demand-pull”
   Can new media technology offer us
    transparent democracy?
     Howard Rheingold, John Perry Barrow
Why Use a Technology?
 Cognitive Needs – Desire (demand) for information,
  knowledge, understanding
 Affective Needs – Aesthetic, pleasurable, and
  emotional experiences
 Personal Integrative Needs – Inner-directed, deal with
  credibility, confidence, stability, and status
 Social Integrative Needs – Outer-directed,
  strengthening relationships with family, friends, the
 Escapist Needs – Desire for tension release or
                               - Katz, Gurevitch, and Haas
 What factors affect your acceptance
  (or rejection) of new communication
  channel, new product?
   Jot down
   Pair and share
Technology and Communication Media
   Caves in France
   Paper and charcoal/ink
   Printing Press
   Telegraph et al (radio, television)
   Computer mediated communications
     Internet: e-mail, IM, web sites, BBs,
      usenet, Skype (VoIP)
Quotable 1
“This 'telephone' has too many
  shortcomings to be seriously
  considered as a means of
  communication. The device is
  inherently of no value to us.”
  --   Western Union internal memo, 1876
Quotable 2

“Who the hell wants to hear actors
  -- H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927
Quotable 3

“I think there is a world market for
   maybe five computers.”
  -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
Quotable 4

“Computers in the future may
  weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
  -- Popular Mechanics, 1949
HCI   (1/3)

 Norman: “The real problem with
  being digital is that it implies a kind
  of slavery to accuracy, a requirement
  that is most unlike the natural
  workings of the person. People are
  analog, insensitive to noise,
  insensitive to error. People extract
  meanings, and as long as the
  meanings are unchanged, the details
  of the signals do not matter.”
HCI   (2/3)

 The world is complex: computer
  systems seek to render that
  complexity into something “simple”
   Yes/No (zero/one)
   Linear v Pattern Seeking
   Human Error – preventable? Whose
   CHI or HCI – false dichotomy?
     “People excel at qualitative considerations,
      machines at quantitative ones.”
Internet Technologies
 Efficiency
   IP v Telephony
 Medium Independence
   Medium in this case is the
    communication medium : telephone
    wire, cable wire, wireless, cell telephony,
    satellite, ??
Zuckerman and McLaughlin, link
Domain Name System (DNS)
 Analogous to the address used by a
  postal worker to deliver mail
 Domain Names
   Original: .com, .gov, .mil, .net, .edu,
   Countries: .us to .za
   New: .biz, .info…
 Works because of standardization
HCI      (3/3)

1.   How does the internet play a vital role in how man and
     machine interact?
2.   What are some misconceptions about our relationship to
3.   How much must we understand computers in order to
     function in our society? In the future, will we be more or
     less dependent on computers? Is this good?
4.   The machine-centered view is precise, orderly and
     logical, while people are distractible, creative and
     illogical. The public education system seems to be
     modeled more on the machine-centered view. How
     might this model affect students’ view of themselves?
5.   Do we as a human race really think that machines, that
     one day could be more intelligent than us, could
     successfully join us in our society? How would this
 There is an intrinsic relationship
  between content and technology:
  both contribute to meaning
 Tension between humans and
 Internet Technology is application
  independent, agnostic
What leads to adoption?
 Winston: supervening social necessity
   More than “build a better mousetrap”
 Advertising
   One goal is to build “need”
     FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt)
Rogers (1995) - Diffusion Theory
 Identified four main elements of an
  innovation-diffusion process
     Innovation
     Social system
     Time
     Communications channels
Linear innovation-diffusion
 The process by which an innovation
  is communicated through certain
  channels over time among the
  members of a social system. (Rogers,
  1995, p.5).
 Innovation: An idea, practice, or
  object that is perceived as new by an
  individual or other unit of adoption
 A process in which participants create
  and share information with one
  another in order to reach mutual
  understanding (Rogers, 1995)
 The adoption model follows an “s”
  shape curve over time
 For example …
Forecast: US Household Technology Adoption, 2005-2010
Forrester Reports. July 2005, Data Overview “The State Of Consumers And Technology:
Benchmark 2005”
Innovation-Decision Process

 The mental process through
  which an individual passes : from
  knowledge to forming an attitude
  toward the innovation (adopt,
Five steps
   Knowledge
   Persuasion
   Decision (adopt or reject)
   Implementation
   Confirmation
Social System
 A set of interrelated units that are
  engaged in joint problem-solving to
  accomplish a common goal.
 Members or units of a social system
  may be individuals, informal groups,
  organizations, and/or subsystems.
Critical mass (1/2)
 Rogers (1995) : "the critical mass
  occurs at the point at which enough
  individuals have adopted an
  innovation so that the innovation's
  further rate of adoption becomes self-
  sustaining.” (network effects)
Critical mass (2/2)
 The critical mass theory is a social
  system perspective, not a technology
 The irreversible phase may take place
  when not only the critical mass point
  is overcome but also the dominant
  design is brought about at least in
  terms of the technological innovation.
   Examples?
Adopter categories
   Innovators
   Early adopters
   Early majority
   Late majority
   Laggards
Technological Innovations
 Hardware - the tool that embodies
  the technology as a material or
  physical object.
 Software - the knowledge base for
  the tool
Summary Adoption
 What are some of the reasons we
  adopt a new product?
 What are the five stages of adoption?
 What is Critical Mass?
More New Media Theory
 Marshall McLuhan: Canadian, author
  of Understanding Media (1964) and
  The Medium is the Massage (1967)
 Lev Manovich: professor, UCSD,
  author of The Language of New Media
  (2001) and Soft Cinema: Navigating
  the Database (2005)
McLuhan     (1/3)

 Believes media (technologies) affect
  cultural (social) change
   Differentiates between a medium and its
   Same content (words) is a different
    message when delivered in print, face-
    to-face, or on television – what is less
    important than how
   “We shape our tools, and they in turn
    shape us."
McLuhan      (2/3)

 Historical Construct
   Tribal Age (oral culture – intuitive)
   Age of Literacy (invention of phonetic
    alphabet – emergence of logic)
   Print Age (invention of printing press –
    linear thinking – science – individualism)
   Electronic Age (ushered in with
    telegraph, poster child: TV – global
    village – decline of logic and linearity)
McLuhan    (3/3)

 Compare our immediate knowledge of
  the 2004 December Tsunami with the
  1556 Chinese earthquake that killed
 If, as he suggests, print created
  individualism and nationalism … what
  might networked communication
  create? Will familiarity breed
  contempt or collaboration?
Manovich’s Five      (1/6)

   Numerical Representation
   Modularity
   Automation
   Variability
   Transcoding
Manovich’s Five        (2/6)

 Numerical representation
   “zero’s and one’s”
   Vector graphics v Bitmaps
   Analog v Digital
     Early complaints about CD v LP
Manovich’s Five         (3/6)

 Modularity
   The “whole” consists of many “objects”
       Example from blog: Google Images
       PPT and Excel
       HTML page (javascript, JPGs, etc)
       Individual blog posts
Manovich’s Five     (4/6)

 Automation
   What computers do best!
   From blog post: “Apple’s new OS X
    Tiger… and Automator”
   Photoshop automation; running “Cron”
    jobs; database driven websites
   RSS readers
   Object management and search (Google)
Manovich’s Five      (5/6)

 Variability
   Website customization possible by
   Presenting data (shaping appearance)
    based on output device: monitor, PDA,
   Scaling (zoom – Google Maps)
Manovich’s Five       (6/6)

 Transcoding
   Two distinct layers: cultural layer and
    technology layer … the intersection is a
    field called Human-Computer Interaction
 Discussion Leaders
   Process, expectations
     Journalistic or Scholarly Article
     PPT
     Post to web site
 Assignment 1 Due Friday!
Diffusion Theory
 Rogers (1995) outlined four parts:
     Innovation
     Social system
     Time
     Communications channels
 And five steps:
     Knowledge
     Persuasion
     Decision (adopt or reject)
     Implementation
     Confirmation
 We define (or frame) new media in
  comparison to old media
 There is an intrinsic relationship
  between content and technology:
  both contribute to meaning
 Churchill : “we shape our buildings
  and then our buildings shape us”
 Empowerment means responsibility
 Proposals – break into peer groups
   Feedback in person, online
   Discuss final proposal – due Friday via
 Next Assignment (distribute)
 Discussion Leaders
   Process, expectations
   Effects of Four CMC Channels on Trust
   Glossary of Internet Terms
   Hypertext Terms (W3C)
   JCMC
   Patterns of Hypertext
   Semantic Web: Intro

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