New Media?! Come On!

This is hard to believe but twice in the last week I've run across the term "new media." The first instance was when I was asked to be the guest lecturer at the University of Cincinnati School of Business. My topic was the effect of New Media on marketing. The second case was just today, as I was doing research for a presentation to some radio networks about using digital media as a way to create deeper engagements with their listeners. I was reading a newsletter about the radio broadcast industry and this was the headline, "New Media Is A Game Changer For Station Marketing Pros."

I just want to put this in context. Let's compare it to another new media and it's adoption, television. The first regular broadcasts began in New York in 1931, however, the first license for TV broadcasting as we would recognize it, happened in 1941. The Golden Age of Television is considered to be between the late 40s and 1961. So, the golden age began less than a decade after the medium became common place.

It's hard to nail down exactly when the digital revolution began, after all do we go back to Babbage's Difference Engine from the early 1800s or do we go to his Analytical Engine which came later. Let's forget all that and move way forward to the common person's adoption of the digital medium as a way to gather information and to communicate. Let's say the real revolution started when the first web browser was released and when an organization to further the development of this infrastructure was created. That would put us in 1994 when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was launched.

That being the case, we are now about a decade and a half into this revolution. We ARE in the Golden Age of Digital. So please, please, stop calling it New Media. That term gives marketers, publishers and broadcasters permission to dismiss this new fangled thing. And they do so, at their own peril. That kind of thinking would have permitted a 1950 marketer at Texaco to pass on sponsoring a comedian dressed in drag. What a mistake that would have been.

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