W hen thinking of digital media, is it possible to increase the power of a story through digital tools and channels? What does such a narrative say about the role of both masses and the individuals?
The concept of digital media and the focus on the “new” production
Since computers and internet entered our world, the concept of digital media, also called ‘new media’, is used to describe the intersection between communications, telecommunications and information technologies. As a multi-disciplinary science influencing fields like art, marketing, advertising, and communication, the digital media field constitutes a frame for many web-based communication tools and platforms — i.e. social media, blogs, podcasts.
Nowadays some types of production made via digital media can bring innovations and new synergies. Many of the products we use in everyday life are now able to perform multiple functions, gently pushing us towards the ‘new’. For example, the current appearance of the refrigerator, originally produced in the early 1900 and now almost reminding us of transformers, is able to provide us with information about the actual state of fruits and vegetables without the need for paper shopping lists.
Even the most common tool can suggest a social transformation when having embedded a communication tool that carries a certain message.
So, what is our role in this new digital communication process?
In the talk series we organized in the framework of Project Zoom, we discussed about digital media, media tools and the effects of content developed with new production styles with Eylem Yanardağoğlu, Head of the New Media Department of Kadir Has University. While considering the advantages and disadvantages of digitalization, Yanardağoğlu described the internet with the analogy of “a two-sided, two-faced God figure”. On the one hand, she touched on its support to democratization, freedom and cooperation; on the other hand, on its inequalities, highlighting the various algorithms that the big technology companies are able to monopolize.
The advent of the internet in the 1960s had a fundamental potential, as it allowed accessing information outside the mainstream media and shaking the power of their monopoly. Willing to take control over the free access and information dissemination, we started to see companies, market profit seekers as well as states’ restrictions stepping in. In this vicious circle between freedom, control and restriction, the possibility of producing and sharing content — such as individual posts, blogs, youtube videos, organization of online festivals, news from social media accounts, and visual sharing — showed that we can also be a part of the process. As Yanardağoğlu highlighted, at this point both the audience of traditional media has turned into an “active audience”. However, the freedom of expression of each citizen also includes the risk of circulating false and speculative content. Such a threat can spread faster than we can expect and bring negative consequences with it. This is why it is important to remember that content has to be filtered, remembering that we should approach each piece of information critically.
The correct use of digital tools and media, combined with the power of the story itself, can increase the expected outreach and disseminate the impact even faster.
So tell what’s wrong!
As actors of the macro structure, we continue to create different products with the tools we choose and unveil overlooked issues through the stories we tell. There is a lot to talk about and discuss, as shown by the applications we receive with Project Zoom on social and environmental matters, related to gender equality, sustainability, energy, innovation, climate change, public health and migration. With the history and nature of humanity, stories do not come to an end!