It was the year 1999 when I was first introduced to a computer. It was my eldest sister’s, and she was way too selfish to even let me click on the mouse. Also, I was seven then, and card games were enough to keep me occupied. I honestly couldn’t care less about the presence of a computer in my house. My first memory of using a computer was in elementary school. It was compulsory for all students in my school to be enrolled in a computer class that was held every week.
The first icon I ever clicked on was “Paint”. In second grade, every class was spent on learning how to be creative on “Paint”, and most importantly, learning how to “save” and “open” documents. I encountered the process of convergence by putting together different types of data such as sounds, text and images. That was definitely one of my first “Ah-Ha!” moments! “What is this magical thing that allows me to put together colors, text and images, and could actually save my masterpiece and allow me to edit it anytime I want?” Also, the strong quality of this feature (new media) is their huge storage potential. I could store more of my work in digital media than I could in printed media. Besides “Paint,” I discovered not just Microsoft Office, but also its assistant named “Clippy”. “Clippy” was an interactive paperclip that would offer you help with your work on Microsoft. That was a whole new level of new media at that time. Here comes my next “Ah-Ha!” moment. Van Dijk would describe this as interactivity because “Clippy” was a system that exchanged information with the viewer, processing the viewer’s input in order to generate appropriate response. Most of us have that one office assistant named “Clippy.” Did he/she serve you well? How was your experience with “Clippy?”
The concept of interactivity is supposed to be one of the most important characteristics of new media as it has developed from a face-to-face communication to a human-computer interaction. New media is constantly expanding my experiences in this tech savvy life. While new media is sucking up most of my time, I really don’t know what would I be doing now without it. What would you guys be doing right now if you weren’t on a computer? Fortunately for our generation, we have at least experienced life without new media.
By Cheryl Joseph