The Modernist Approach of New Media

September 5, 2008

Emerging from the Industrial Revolution and throughout the twentieth century, the modernist view of technology has been adopted to address society’s influx of new media.  This approach to defining new mediums argues that the convenience, variety, and innovation offered by developing technology dramatically improves culture.  While there remain dissenters to its use, new media has been largely a welcomed addition to American and global culture. (Lister, 11)   

Over just the past few years, American society has seen an addition of gadgets and media that have been touted as improvements to society.  Smart phones, GPS devices, and iPods are a few of a slew of “all in one” media tools that allows one to communicate, travel, and entertain like never before.  In addition, websites like YouTube and Facebook have demonstrated the ease at which one can correspond with others through interactive video or social networking.  In fact, such mediums have become so popular, one observes that face to face and traditional forms of communication have gotten lost in the shuffle.  

Considering this, one must assess the consequences of these trends and determine if the recent changes in media have in fact made improvements to society.  Has the rate and convenience at which American culture now communicates affected the purity and importance of the communication?  Has it jeopardized the quality of face to face communication?  If so, what does that say about society’s emphasis of communication, and does it really mean an improvement in our culture as the modernist seems to hold? 

Author Michael Bugeja’s Interpersonal Divide delves into the consequences today’s new media has upon society’s relationships and the quality of communication.  He contends that today’s culture is relying increasingly upon virtual means of communication, to the point where the quality of relationships are suffering.  Here is a link to more information on the book:


2 Responses to “The Modernist Approach of New Media”

  1. Adrienne said

    Interesting points, Alex. I was especially intrigued by your assertion that the increased speed of communication might have some impact on the “purity” of communication. This begs the question – how are we assessing what is “good” communication, and how has this changed with the advent of new media?

  2. Thank you for your fair-minded mention and critique of my work, which I have been conducting at an institution of science and technology for several years. Interpersonal Divide investigates the corporations that have programmed consumer technology for revenue generation, and asks readers, simply, to inquire why they bought a gadget and then to assess how they are using. Otherwise, marketers make those decisions. Finally, I was intrigued by Adrienne’s comment on how we can assess good communication. In general, that entails any technology that inspires the user to engage more with others in real rather than virtual environs. Good communication also informs more than sells. The latter has killed journalism as we knew it, substituting entertainment and affirmation for commitment and social debate. That is not to say that technology cannot hold journalism accountable. I review regularly for News Trust ( Again, I appreciate the even-handedness of this blog and the link for those who wish to know more.

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