The central premise is worth bearing in mind - it's not the technology it's what people do with it that's important:
Most often, when people are asked to describe the current media landscape, they respond by making an inventory of tools and technologies. Our focus should be not on emerging technologies but on emerging cultural practices.
Henry's Eight Traits of the New Media Landscape are:
- Innovative: the rapid development of media technologies means that the cultural impact is unpredictable - each new technology spawns a range of different uses.
- Convergent: every idea, image, story, brand and relationship will play itself out across the broadest range of channels.
- Everyday: the pervasive nature of media has led to new behaviours like "continuous partial attention", coined by Linda Stone, a researcher at Microsoft. The danger is that with media being pervasive, we will no longer be able to see it, any more than fish can perceive water. It becomes a new kind of medium, as it were.
- Appropriative: here he talks about the emergence of a remix culture.
- Networked: media technologies are increasingly interconnected, allowing the effortless flow of content from person to person, or increasingly from many to many, replacing the sender / receiver mainstream media model of old.
- Global: media flows across national borders [except into China] and allows the development of international communities - like all of you out there.
- Generational: increasingly generations define themselves around their media behaviours - think the Myspace Generation - making inter-generational understanding even less likely.
- Unequal: his point here is about the digital divide - being visible online is a prerequisite for participation in this culture - anyone unable to participate is rendered invisible.
How we adapt to the world we are creating is perhaps the most interesting thing about working in any part of the media.
But I think people confuse colonising Second Life with understanding what people are getting out of online role playing games, what motivates people to contribute to online communities and what that might tell us about how people think about the world and themselves.
Emergent platforms are not spaces to invade - they are spaces to learn.
Read the wise man's wise words here.