The term new media refers to various technologies that emerged or grew rapidly on a global scale during the latter part of the 20th century and into the new millennium. Most people who have an internet connection are already familiar with some of the main types of this media, which include social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs and video sharing sites like YouTube. This type of media has also greatly advanced cellular communication in the last twenty years, through applications that connect to the Internet and other technologies. As new media are constantly evolving to connect to as many different platforms and people as possible, one of their most striking features is interactivity.
The cell tower network, which can stream data to smartphones and tablets, gives people access to new media on the go.
One of the first forms of new media that the general public became familiar with during the late 20th century was virtual chat. Whether one-on-one or within a chat room, online chatting has quickly evolved from a primarily text-based tool to one that also includes audiovisual features through applications such as webcams. Because of the anonymity afforded by the Internet, many people who engaged in online chat began to reconstruct the narrative of their real lives, posing online with a different name, age, gender, or occupation. Today, the notion of a new online identity first introduced in chat rooms has expanded to include visual recreation through the popular Second Life web service. In Second Life, members can create their own 3D image, also known as an avatar, and interact with other members in a fully virtual world.
Newspapers began to embrace new media in all its forms.
Blogs are another form of new media that have expanded our notions of levels of interactivity. The ability for bloggers or citizen journalists to post any text, photo or video for other Internet users to interact with was initially seen as a breakthrough in global communications. The problem, however, of locating blogs that focused on specific topics of interest was solved by social networking sites, which allowed people to stay abreast of their own network of friends and organizations through a website. Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter also support blogs, cell phones and similar applications, allowing people to send and receive up-to-date information to a select group of users.
Streaming video on a computer is becoming a popular form of new media.
The hybridization of different types of media has given rise to some privacy concerns in recent years. The potential to combine different forms of new media into a single source, such as connecting to social networks, email, phone and web banking through a handheld device, makes you more vulnerable to identity theft through hackers and spyware.
Social networking sites are increasingly becoming an integral part of new media.