New Media Needs A New Name

I’ve always wondered why people keep calling new media new. Marketers can only use the word new for so long. The FTC suggests a six-month limit on the use of the word new when advertising the introduction of a “new” product not previously on the market.

So how does the media that marketers buy get away with it? Color safe bleach could no longer say it was new ten years after it came out. Dot coms had their boom and bust ten years ago but digital media is still called new! It’s time for a new name for new media. But before we name it, we have to define it.

PC Magazine Encyclopedia gives us two definitions. New media is the forms of communicating in the digital world – publishing on CD-ROM, DVD, digital television and the Internet – using desktop, laptops and wireless, handheld devices. New media also allows smaller groups of people to congregate online and share, sell and swap goods and information. It allows more people to have a voice in the world.

This definition seems a little dated from a marketer’s perspective. I’d say what we’re really talking about is anything that promotes interaction (consumer to consumer, company to consumer, consumer to company) through digital technology. This definition of the media formally known as new includes:

Web Sites, Video ads, Widgets, RSS Feeds, Podcasting, Banner Ads, Short Films, Blogs & vlogs, Chat Rooms, Blue tooth, In-Game Advertising, Social Networking

So what can we call it? I suggest Interactive Digital Media. It know its not that catchy or flashy but it does include all the “new” media listed above while excluding “old” media like traditional one way television, radio and billboard communication. Unless of course you turn a form of traditional media into Interactive Digital Media. A good example is Chicago transit (CTA) using GPS-based bus ads with 50-inch digital screens.

Still craving a catchy name? How about Activigital?