New media culture/ Cyberculture

This involvement contributes to changes in the way people see and perceive things, that is, in this culture, the reality is simulated in the virtual environment so incredibly that though we can determine the fake, we still mingle them together and overlap them. New media cultures urge us to upgrade our view, our opinion and our behavior on objects, for instance, a photograph is no longer original as captured behind the lens, it is now ‘immersed’ with many layers by graphic software such as Photoshop, a product of new media.

It is also arguable that the boredom and repetition of everyday mundane life cause people to try looking for something newer and more attractive. New media as a result service them with ‘Spectacular realism’. Undeniably, new media citizens are fascinated in watching an ‘IMAX’ movie due to the ‘illusion’ offered, however the arguable issue here is that its seduction blinds the audiences, sweeps them into the spectacular without noticing the narrative and character is poorly developed (Lister et al, 2009).

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Increasingly, these new media cultures are integrated and absorbed in our lives as an indispensable part, thus yield lots of positive social/communication consequences. Thanks to advanced communication devices, doctor and nurses can collaborate more efficiently, especially in emergency situation. Also, the application of new media technologies introduced in educational sector clearly outshines the outdated teaching-mode. That is, several studying methods are more commonly in use in educational institutes such as online study program at university or distance learning operated by providers which have an off-shore curriculum.

Meanwhile, the media technology infrastructures provide essential learning resources which serve for both lecturers and students. Through visual practical equipments, lessons are presented lively and concretely for better grasping knowledge. Cybercultures such as cyber-shopping or cyber-banking help users save their time. Instead of wandering around the market or getting stuck in queue at the bank, they could easily shop and transact money online via a mere click of the mouse.

Psychologically, thing like cybersex sustains the sensual relationship of couple who rarely see each other face-to-face, especially in army. Also, STD (sexually transmitted disease) patients could use cybersex to satisfy sexual desire safely without putting their partners at risk. About virtual communities, through social network services, a homosexual boy could safely have a chance to exchange and share feelings with people of the same plight, thus helping him reduce his inferiority complex along side with loneliness because of social bias and stereotype.

Furthermore, having a utopian view on computer games, journalist Steven Johnson sees they smarten up our brains, he contends ‘Novels may activate our imagination, and music may conjure up powerful emotions, but games force you to decide, to choose, to prioritize’ (Johnson, cited in Mileham, p. 61). Could this thus be inferred that the next generation would be more intelligent? However, it is impossible to ignore the side-effects of new media culture which has brought about more or less downside on our society.

In the era of new media where people and machines are companions with each other, do people recognize they have become dependent so much on new media? The engagement of technologies in film industry blurs the humane value of the traditional films. Moving pictures nowadays are produced with too many synthetic and exotic constituents, producers concentrate excessively on visual exterior elements without highlighting the interior plot, or they are influenced by audiences’ predilections?

The result is that movies with lofty behaviors become seldom, instead, the war between robots or the incredible attacks in action movies are dominant in worldwide theaters. What happens to Visual culture? It is now much more concerned with copycat and theft? A picture or a video now can be manipulated with various methods by various softwares, served for various purposes from beauty, commerce, entertainment to denigration, humiliation or black-mail.

People believe too much on what they obviously see without noticing the trick underneath them, sometimes this causes misunderstanding or scandals in society, particularly in issues concerned with politics or celebrities’ private life. The thriving of social network sites results in identity fraud, as journalist Harry Wallop fears ‘Facebook, which has exploded in popularity in the UK in recent months, allows people to post detailed, personal information about themselves, from their date of birth to all the schools they went to – precisely the information that banks ask for as security questions’ (Wallop, 2007).

Hence, thieves take advantage of this imprudence, our identities and privacies are unfortunately and unintentionally stolen. Also, there are ones who blame on application such as Google Maps, the satellite could show us where our addresses are, how our houses look like, to some people, this invades their privacies. The work of O’Shaughnessy and Stadler has mentioned on the negative aspects of reality TV, they see it is the ‘celebration of low culture and the grimier aspects of humanity’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2009, p. 541).

Indeed, every time we turn on the television, we run across several people sitting and chatting boringly, especially fly-on-the-wall show about celebrities, they talk about their everyday mundane life even including unacceptable activities and idiot speeches, which could lead to the downtrend of culture, the inflexion of ethics such as backstabbing or voyeurism . Even in competition shows where participants fight against each other to survive, to some extent those shows promote ‘a ruthless kind of social Darwinism, an ethic of survival of the fittest’ (O’Shaughnessy ; Stadler, 2009, p.

541), which is quite impossible to accept in society nowadays. Another point to critic on new media culture is that it blurs the sense of some culture aspects. For instance, library of city become a repository, a museum of book, citizen nowadays do not care much of reading books in library, instead, they deem that the treasure on the internet is always easy to find and trustworthy. This discrimination imperceptibly make society have a bias against library, a crucial unit of mass communication, a spokesperson for community culture, it is dimming the pure value of the so-called ‘knowledge service provider and skill builders’ (Henry, 2009, pp.

30-31). There is the lyric saying ‘Too much of anything can make you sick, even the good can be a curse’ (cited in Wilkins, W, Kipner, S ; Merritt, A)*. As shown above, new media could be employed for very good and convenient purposes. However once being exploited, new media culture could turn against us by bluring the boundaries between fiction and reality. Instead of being served for mere communication and entertainment purpose, now new technology could very well be a prision trapping us in an illusionary world.

To conclude, they can be somehow descriptions of our lives but absolutely cannot be considered as a substitute. People should be aware of the inflation of this new culture and not let them affect on the way we live, work and think.

Word count: 2208 References # Flew, T 2008, New media: an introduction, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Sydney, NSW. # Henry, R 2009, ‘Have we lost our way? Examining the Purpose of Libraries in a Post-Litterate Society’, Library Media Connection, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 30-31, retrieved 13 December 2009, Education Research Complete database.

# Lister, M, Dovey, J, Giddings, S, Grant, I ; Kelly, K 2009, New media: a critical introduction, 2nd edn, Routledge, New York. # Lumby, C 2003, ‘Real Appeal: The Ethics of Reality TV’, in C Lumby ; E Probyn (eds), Remote Control: New Media, New Ethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 13. # Mileham, R 2008, Powering Up: are computer games changing our lives, Wiley, West Sussex, England. # O’ Shaughnessy, M & Stadler, J 2008, ‘Documentary and Reality TV’, in Contemporary Communication, 2009, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic.

# Sharma, D 2009, Fiction and Reality, EzineArticles.com, retrieved 10 December 2009, <http://ezinearticles. com/? Fiction-and-Reality&id=2647372> # Ventre, M 2009, Just how real are reality TV shows ? , msnbc. com, retrieved 11 December 2009, <http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/30092600/> # Wallop, H 2007, Fears over Facebook identity fraud, Telegraph. co. uk, retrieved 11 December 2009, <http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/uknews/1556322/Fears-over-Facebook-identity-fraud. html> *Wilkins, W, Kipner, S, Merritt, A 2009, Song: ‘Fight for this love’, Album: ‘3 words’, Singer: Cheryl Cole, Label: Fascination Records, UK.

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