Let's Go Back: New Media Gets Old (pt.1)

As I sifted through CD’s looking for some good oldies to transfer to new media devices, decades of music passed with each sift.  Twenty years ago those CD’s would’ve been tapes. And just like tapes, vinyl and the 8-track the compact disc will be discussed in past tense too. When it does pass it will have seemed to come and go quickly. Why, the CD hasn’t been around for very long.

I can remember the shift from tapes to CD as a form of new media. It isn’t anymore.  Then it was the MP3. It isn’t anymore. Streaming is in now, as well as cloud based music services, that is, until it isn’t anymore. New media is forever shape shifting and when it does everything in relationship to it follows suit. And shortly after everyone’s on board it shifts again. But you know what? That’s phenomenal.

Here’s why: New media becoming old media means our culture is passing with good grades just like those great tunes I sifted through. Those tunes are just as great today as they were when released. That’s why I still own them. The medium in which the tunes were delivered has only shifted from one phase to another. They’ll never be forgotten. In fact, moving content to a more modernized platform simply reflects an update in our environment. We’re getting smarter.

Take our early primary learning environment for example. Do you remember grammar school? Did you retain what you learned such as the alphabet and numbers? Sure you did. They’ll never be forgotten. When our environment advanced to middle school and later high school so did our knowledge of what we originally learned, didn’t it? Not until later did we come to understand the meaning or history behind the letters we were sounding out and using in sentences. “For example the letter B derives from the Egyptian character for the word house”. (1) In earlier years that wasn’t necessary to know. Still isn't necessary to know but serves as an update in your thinking. Think about numbers, only the recognition and the ability to add them were important to know at the time. Who knew we’d learn later numbers were natural, whole, integers, rational and irrational? (2)

If we look closer there are parallels between our earlier years or primary environment and new media environment. Our environment is advancing not only the mediums of communication but also the technical abilities of the communicator. Some don’t take well to these new mediums because of the technical know-how sometimes required and the mere fact the shifts are swift. Before we can get a good handle on one, there’s a new one, or a new way. But once you learned to write an email it was never forgotten.  Shifts in new media have imposed a technical-will on our environment.

And there isn’t a choice.  Let’s go back to the basics. Grammar school didn’t offer a choice of courses to choose from. Grade school core subjects were non-negotiable. Back then it was more important for us to learn and less about what we learned. Not until later did we come to realize what it was we were actually learning. If we revert back to this way of thinking we’d be back in the habit of giving our selves no choice but to learn.  Surely, the building blocks of understanding follow.

It comes as no surprise how we can become overwhelmed, hyper stimulated and at times intimidated. How can one new media platform affect monetization versus the other? Moreover, how can we possibly come to understand the many faces of new media with its rapid shifts?  Is it necessary to know every advanced new coding language or every new media platform existent? No. Let’s go back to a simple cultural historic fact that is-we learn. The application of learning in the first place is what got us here. Let’s go back there.


Best regards,

Nerissa Kelly, Founder




Oppenheim, David S. Kidder Noah. Intellectual Devotional . New York, New York : Rodale , 2006.


Oppenheim, David S. Kidder Noah. Intellectual Devotional . New York, New York : Rodale , 2006.