New Media simply defined is digitized media. This means that the digitalization or placement of any piece of information on non-traditional media platforms automatically puts it in the New Media world. New Media has become the singular, most powerful tool in the world, recognized and used by individuals, businesses and governments alike.
The one place to find billions of people clustered together observing, distributing and amplifying content for all to see is “online”. Offline media doesn’t quite come close for a variety of reasons including:
1) Their non-interactive nature
In this age where (almost) everyone is increasing in knowledge and wants the opportunity to give feedback to whatever they’re watching/reading based on the knowledge they have, the non-interactive nature of traditional media platforms makes them unappealing. People are no longer accepting every piece of information as fact. They have questions and platforms that do not make asking these questions easy and immediately continue to lose general appeal. Traditional media outlets fall under this category.
2) Their regionalization
Another unappealing side to traditional media is their confinement to areas/regions. A print newspaper in Queensland, Australia may have the most interesting and relatable content ever put together by man, but that content remains inaccessible to a global audience because of the restriction of that paper to that region. The same goes for billboards and terrestrial TV and radio stations.
3) Their fixed schedules
This is a microwave generation where people want what they want, when they want it and most times how they want it. A desire to find content on Economic Development and Policy Analysis should be satisfied at the tap of a button and New Media gets that. The scheduling of content on traditional media platforms is a turn off to many and this is just one more edge online media has over offline media.
Having explored the different arms of the media industry as a producer and presenter for radio, digital and cable television, contributor to print (magazines) and now as publishing editor of a digital publishing platform, the dynamics of New Media have not only opened my mind to its yet untapped potentials but has also sparked in me a deeper desire to invest and grow in this space. I have seen individuals go from being regular folk to being global “sensations” overnight because of their talent. They have gone from formerly unnoticed and un(der)appreciated in the world of traditional media to suddenly getting noticed on Youtube or Instagram and getting amplified by multiple mentions.
Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Wofai Ifada, Salt Bae are a few of such people. I’ve also seen businesses defend and dissociate themselves from allegations that would have cost them millions of dollars in sales if they hadn’t spoken up quickly. Verified Twitter accounts have now become authoritative sources of updates on products and businesses and sentiments aside, we have seen and continue to see how the president of America gets his side of the story out. I imagine him attending press conferences only as a sign of formality. New Media cuts out the middleman.
I often say that everyone is selling something overtly or covertly. There’s always something screaming, “BUY ME” or someone screaming, “BUY THIS” and in some cases, someone screaming, “BUY ME/BUY MY TIME”. New Media has made it possible for entrepreneurs and businesses to reach consumers directly just by being a hub where all parties reside. What this means is that a deliberate and intentional study of the nuances of New Media, as it applies to each person and business has to be carried out to guide strategy and ultimately ensure that the highest possible results/returns are received. What every strategy needs to then focus on is The Content.
According to a 2018 study by Microsoft, the average human being has an attention span of eight seconds. For content creators, this eight-second span should be regarded as an eight-second filter. Consumers of content have become adept at identifying irrelevant/poorly packaged information and moving on swiftly to the other options available. To thrive using New Media, understanding the behaviors and needs of this technologically adept stream of consumers is vital. For this reason, information has to be presented in a way that can’t but be optimally received by the targeted audience. Content in this age has to be intentional and created in a way that cuts through the noise.
We can’t all be founders of an e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence hub like Jeff Bezoz and we can’t all be founders of a social media and tech company like Mark Zuckerburg but we can all harness the immense potentials that their platforms, along with many others, have made available to all.
Toyosi Etim-Effiong is a Digital Media Strategist and publishing editor of Folio Nigeria, a CNN-powered digital publishing platform. She also coordinates the operations of Times Multimedia Marketing, a creative agency with its office in Lagos. With a master’s degree in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from the University of Nottingham, UK and degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Producing from the New York Film Academy, New York she has worked in banking and across multiple sectors of the Media and Entertainment Industry including digital and cable TV, radio, print (magazines), and digital publishing platforms. She sits on the board of the Green Girls Company Limited (organizers of the Miss Nigeria pageant and Raising Girls Summit) and is a First City Monument Bank SheVentures SuperMentor.