New media, Nu Lang

Technology has more than just an impact on the economy, or on business systems. It has an impact on our lives that we often fail to notice as new terms subtly enter our speech and our actions. New media is defined as technology that involves electronic communication which increases not only the way we communicate today, but also vastly expands the audience and interactivity, functions which old media could not perform. Radios and print newspapers, the embodiment of old media are being rapidly converted into new media today. Online news websites and radio stations have changed conventional communication, bringing in entirely new technology like CDs, wireless devices and of course, the Internet.

While the world raves over advances in technology and the amazing mine of information that’s only one click away, it doesn’t notice how media has affected the way we talk and write. Phrases like “I’ll Google it when I get back” or “I’ll add you on Facebook” seem as normal to us as breathing, but to an older generation which has seen the days when people spoke in comprehensive sentences in dictionary English, it’s an unsettling change. SMS language, thought convenient at first is creeping into every aspect of life, some frustrated teachers complaining that simple words like ‘great’ become ‘gr8’ and ‘what’ becomes ‘wat’. The day when we start using ‘brb’ and ‘lol’ in speech will be a milestone in the destruction of communication itself.

Of course, people would argue that language evolves over time, becoming easier to use than ‘ye olde English’, but to someone actually viewing this transition its disturbing to find out how fast this evolution is happening.

Language changes the way we speak, which also changes the way we write. If you thought that at least classical literature would remain unchanged over time and stand a testament to language that once used to be, please disillusion yourself, because we have a new contender. Twitterature. Yes, 19 year old American teenagers have decided to turn the greatest literary works into 2800 character abbreviations or twenty ‘tweets’ and if Shakespeare was alive today , he’d probably flip his wig seeing his ‘Romeo and Juliet’ condensed into a twenty line novel with brilliant lines such as ‘WTF is Mercutio talking about?’ included.

And as if slipping new terms into our speech wasn’t enough, new media brings with it a list of entirely new languages, which can send techno-phobics running for cover. Java, HTML, C and C++, are not everyone’s cup of tea, but these languages no longer remain optional. For a media student, who skirted around science and computers to arrive at a non-technical subject, realising that technology has infiltrated and modified the print media was a bit of a shocker.

I don’t think there is the option of fighting the tidal wave that is the effect of new media. After all, the advantages that it brings honestly outweigh the negatives. To most, if not to me, minor changes in language are a small price to pay for the things we can do thanks to new media. Communicating-even face to face- is possible with people thousands of kilometres apart. It’s the ultimate way to save time, money and maintain relationships. And thought new media brought email, the death of letter writing, it also brought the world together. In the future, the naysayers may have to resign themselves to the fact that Twitter will be a source of hard news as well as random updates on peoples’ personal lives and there may come a day that we don’t speak at all, just text. V wil jst hv 2 gt usd 2 t.

Vrinda Manocha