Communication in the Internet, Digital Age New Media

Understand the new media, first of all, we must understand the era of the new media. Different communication methods in different periods, from newspapers, books, radio, television, to the current Internet in different periods of communication methods belong to the new media at the time. With the development of the Internet, the old way of communication was also defined as “traditional media”. New media was born based on the hottest new information and communication technologies of the time.

The new media of the Internet era, also known as digital new media, is unlike any other wave of new media in history. No new media form has ever stood as dazzlingly in the center stage of the times as today’s digital new media. Whether in terms of its own economic and social influence or its appeal to public opinion, the present is undoubtedly the era of new media. The influence of new digital media has broken through the media and information dissemination fields, and has profoundly affected the way of life of human beings, the composition of society, the business model of enterprises and the governance paradigm of the country.

The digital technologies of new media are not single, but clustered. Cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and other digital technologies are mutually empowering, forming the “cluster effect” of digital technology. The Internet is a special kind of digital technology, which is the catalyst to activate the digital technology cluster.

The Internet is a communication technology between computers, and its essence is connection. Based on peer-to-peer digital communication technology, the Internet connects computers connected to the network in pairs, thus constituting a huge information transmission network. In this network that spans space, any computer can become a node and any two nodes can exchange information with each other.

The mass communication activities outlined and defined by the traditional media chain have the basic characteristics of “closed”, “independent” and “single”. Only professional communication agencies and professional communicators can become the centralized communication subject. The majority of people can only become the object of communication, that is, the audience, passively participating in communication activities. With the development of the Internet and the change of communication channels, any individual or organization can become the subject of communication in a second by using new media tools with increasingly low access costs and use thresholds, forming a new landscape of communication with universal “subjectivity” participation. The new media communication with the active participation of all people has formed a very different characteristic from the traditional media era.

New media is the ultimate communication paradigm that encompasses all forms and modes of communication that have ever existed in human history. New media is able to integrate and disseminate all forms of information that have existed so far. Relying on digital technology, the new media content production process can realize the collection, calling, processing and output of cross-information forms on the same work platform and equipment, i.e., it can realize the integration of text, picture, video and audio information in the whole process of content production. Relying on intelligent digital terminals, users can access cross-form content information in the same device, the same application, and the same scene page, i.e., they can experience the fusion of voice, graphic, and video and audio content presentation.

The new media information dissemination network can realize both point-to-point communication and multipoint-to-multipoint interpersonal communication, as well as single-point-to-multipoint group communication and point-to-point broadcast mass communication, which is the communication of all people to all people. This ultimate communication ecology of all-to-all in new media transforms the discourse from a deterministic state in the traditional media era to a highly random and uncertain state. In the communication ecology of new media, everyone can be a communicator, and there is no permanent passive recipient, and everyone can speak out, breaking the closed nature of traditional media structure.

With the advantage of digital technology, new media communication can obtain extremely fast feedback. After a content is published, users can interact with it in milliseconds. Commenting, retweeting, liking, or even ignoring is an instant feedback. This kind of interaction greatly enhances the activity of communication, and promotes the shortening of the life cycle of content hotspots and the increase of the frequency of hotspot changes. This makes the agenda-setting ability and the generation of discourse more random and greatly enhances the uncertainty of discourse. Closure both inhibits vitality and stifles development enthusiasm. As an economic organization, traditional media has a relatively low efficiency in allocating and utilizing resources. Before the advent of the Internet era, this inefficiency was not challenged because it was protected by monopolies.

The emergence of the Internet and new media has broken the closed structure of traditional media monopolizing the communication channels. The centralized communication channels previously monopolized by a very few traditional media fell apart and the overall landscape of information dissemination was fragmented.

Any organization or individual can open an account on platform-based media such as WeChat Public, Today’s Headline, and ShakeYin. An account is a media. The influence of a WeChat public number with millions of followers can be likened to that of a former metropolitan newspaper. In the past, there were only one to three metropolitan newspapers in each province, but nowadays there are many head WeChat public numbers and ShakeYin numbers with millions or tens of millions of followers, and there are countless waist and long-tail self-media accounts. The fragmentation of media has completely overturned the thinking and operation of the demand side of communication.

Now, when the Internet has given media and communication as a product function to the general public with low threshold and almost no cost, the “ability picture” and even the “power picture” of communication has changed radically: any organization and individual can use the Internet to “mediaize” themselves. Any organization or individual can use the Internet to “mediaize” themselves and make their voices heard.

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