New Media (Blog #1)

My first memory of using the Internet is of visiting Disney Channel’s website, http://disneychannel.disney.com/, to play the online games. The games I used to play as a pre-teen included characters and story lines from various Disney Channel shows that ran in the early 2000’s such as Kim Possible, Lilo and Stitch, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and many more.

As I played these games, the Disney Channel website would prompt me to send a “shout out” for other users of the website to see. If I wanted to, I could send a comment about the game I was playing and hope that it would be posted. This was probably the first time I experienced interactivity in new media. Although it was nowhere near as interactive as social media today, I still experienced a level of connectedness with Disney Channel and other players.

The option to send a shout out is also an example of democratic new media. By sending a shout out, I could write any opinion or statement about the games (as long as it was kid friendly, of course). Taking a step back, we can see that the evolved democratic characteristic of new media has given Internet users a voice and with that voice they can say anything they please. These voices shape other Internet users’ opinions and even world views.

Bailey Socha and Barbara Eber-Schmid in their article titled “Defining New Media Isn’t Easy” state that new media enables “the average person to engage in political, cultural, social, and economic action” (http://www.newmedia.org/what-is-new-media.html).  

Obviously, a single shout out from a young girl playing Disney games isn’t going to change society’s world views. But, new media had to start somewhere, didn’t it?

Anyway, whether my shout out would be chosen to be posted on the Disney Channel website was out of my control. But back then, the fact that I had a chance to have my own idea or opinion posted was good enough for me. Would Internet users today take the time to send a message that may or may not be posted? (Even if it was going to be posted by a reputable company, such as Disney, with a large audience?) How has the use of interactivity and democracy in new media evolved?

By Sarah Erickson

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2 comments

  1. Wow, this just made me so nostalgic for all those awesome old online Disney games.

    Anyways, I think many people still take the opportunity to have their words appear on TV or on websites very often, like during “interactive” episodes of shows where people’s Tweets appear across the bottom of the screen. I know this is an embarrassing example, but on the Bad Girls Club, both viewers’ and members’ of that season Tweets appear at the bottom of the screen.

    There is also that new singing contest show that the contestants are voted in or out in real time by the viewer’s at home, which is definitely a very interactive way for people to connect.

  2. This post made me feel so nostalgic, I used to be obsessed with the games on Disney Channel. I remember the shout-outs Disney Channel had as well and I remember always getting so excited when my username would appear on the high scores chart.

    Also, I definitely think that Internet users still take the time to send messages that may or may not be seen through the use of Twitter. Hashtags can allow various topics, events, etc. to trend across the Web and there are a lot of television shows which use hashtags to allow for further audience involvement and additional promotion. I’ve seen shows such as Big Brother use people’s Twitter comments during live episodes.

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