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The Zoom Interference Model of New Media. A Metaphor-Based Dynamic Approach in the Jungle of Concepts

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The purpose of this paper is to establish an experimental model of new media using theoretical approach. after investigating numerous interpretations of new media, the paper offers a metaphor- -based framework to guide you in the jungle of concepts. according to the hypothesis, the metaphor of interference supports the development of a theoretical model including the concepts of crossmedia, transmedia and intermedia. therefore, the zooming interference model and its illustrating case studies are going to be available to interpret the dimensions of new media also with a visualized version. the model supports a dynamic approach to academic discussions and a software development to study the changing new media. Link to PDF: https://journals.umcs.pl/ms/article/view/8697/pdf
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MEDIATIZATION STUDIES 3/2019 DOI: 10.17951/ms.2019.3.7-20
KATALIN FEHÉR
Budapest Business sch ool un ive rsi ty o f appl ied sc ien ces
feh er.katalin@un i-bg e.hu
OrCiD: htt ps://OrCiD.Or g/0000-0003-3293-0862
The Zoom Interference Model of New Media.
A Metaphor-Based Dynamic Approach
in the Jungle of Concepts
Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to establish an experimental model of new media using theoretical
approach. After investigating numerous interpretations of new media, the paper offers a metaphor-
-based framework to guide you in the jungle of concepts. According to the hypothesis, the metaphor
of interference supports the development of a theoretical model including the concepts of crossmedia,
transmedia and intermedia. Therefore, the zooming interference model and its illustrating case studies
are going to be available to interpret the dimensions of new media also with a visualized version. The
model supports a dynamic approach to academic discussions and a software development to study
the changing new media.
Keywords: zoom interference model; new media; atomic media; intermedia; crossmedia; transmedia
Introduction
e new media landscape is quite complex. Investigating the terms, phrases and
models, several interpretations are available in adynamically changing media envi-
ronment and with the growing number of academic sources.
e goal of this paper is to oer ametaphor-based, dynamic and simplied model
of new media. Aer ashort literature review of the concepts and buzzwords, the argu-
mentation is going to feature ametaphor to develop model as areference framework.
e metaphor “interference” is going to provide adynamic viewpoint with changing
perspectives via zooming. Across-, trans-, and intermedia-based model is going to
be accessible to summarize the contemporary new media landscape. For aminimal-
ist overview, visual illustrations are going to present the related new media patterns
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and interpretative case studies are also going to be provided. e ultimate goal is to
oer ametaphor-based dynamic model for further theoretical discussion and for
soware-based modelling.
Thesis 1: The term “new media” presents a jungle of changing concepts
Studying the terms, models and theories with reference to the new media, acom-
plex landscape is available with numerous approaches. According to the statistics by
the highly quoted academic databases such as Scopus, EBSCO, JSTOR and Google
Scholar, the number of publications are signicantly growing year by year. Based on
the summary of the Scopus, new media research is represented mostly in social sci-
ence, humanities and art. Besides, scientists from the area of computer science and
engineering are increasingly interested in this eld due to the digital transformation.
Considering these wide categories of disciplines with tens of thousands of publications
per year, numerous concepts have become available. Additionally, this landscape is
changing rapidly in line with the emerging digital trends (i.a. Lemon, Hoy 2018; Beck
2015; Holt, Sanson 2013; Finn 2012; Flew 2005). erefore, the term of “new media
is acting as amagnet for awide range of interpretations and concepts.
e foundation term is “mediatization” (i.a. Hepp, Hjarvard, Lundby 2015; Lundby
2014; Meyen, iero, Strengeru 2014; Kaempf 2013; Hjarvard 2013; 2008; Couldry
2008). It presents the core cultural-social symbols to transform them into media
forms. e original was the “old” or “mass media. It was followed by adigitalized
version, the so-called “new media” presenting “pull media” to enable interaction and
feedback (i.a. Geiss Leidecker, Roessing 2015). However, this approach has been ex-
tended in several ways in contrast with the previous form of “linear media” (i.a.
Fortunati, O’Sullivan 2019; Siapera 2018).
Looking back, the history of new media started with keywords of “multimedia,
“hypermedia, “polymedia” or “cyber space” (i.a. Miller 2018; Elleström 2010; Picard
2002; Cotton, Richard 1997; Rushko 1994; Heim 1993; Benedikt 1991) in the context
of digital platforms and tools. ereaer, the emerging technological trends forced to
redene new media by smart technology and articial intelligence from automation
to personalization (i.a. Fox 2016; O’Donnel, Falk, Konrath et al. 2014; Petruska, Van-
derhoef 2014; Fehér 2014; Bacon et al. 2012; Huang et al. 2006). In the meantime, old
“mainstream media” concepts are switching to online platforms, social media, pro-
sumerism, and digital marketing which become major representatives of new media,
just mentioning the mostly cited scopes from the last decade (i.a. Rosenbaum 2019;
Grossberg 2016; Jarvis 2011
;
Lister et al. 2009). However, further diverse concepts
have appeared, such as “non-homogenous, “multi-layered”, “demand”, “disorder”,
“temporary”, or “individual”, “vibrant”, “emerging”, “random, “non-linear”, “user gen-
erated”, “enemy”, “next”, “future” or “aer” media (i.a. Macey, Ryan, Springer 2014;
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The Zoom Interference Model of New Media. A Metaphor-Based Dynamic Approach…
Quattrociocchi, Caldarelli, Scala 2014; Weiss 2014; akur, Summey, John 2013; Al-
duán et al. 2012; Bennett, Kendall, McDougall 2011; Jacucci et al. 2010; Schreibman,
Siemens, Unsworth 2007).
In parallel, the changing digital trends put pressure on the business and academic
discussions to develop buzzwords describing the new media from vlog to the inu-
encer culture (Sjöblom et al. 2019), producing ajungle of changing concepts at the
same time. To say something novel about the contemporary media again and again
constitutes adiverse landscape of new media understanding. e main goal of various
concepts is to inuence the discourses in business or academic debates to have further
business opportunities or scientic citations.
To summarize the jungle of concepts, new media result in several approaches and
become more extensive. Considering this evolution, two mainstream concepts have
become remarkable. According to the rst one, new media are spreading (Jenkins,
Ford, Green 2013) and become ubiquitous (Carillo, Scornavacca, Za 2017) based on
the digital services. According to the other approach, new media expand so intensively
that they will disappear as an identiable phenomenon and practice (Deuze 2016). In
both concepts, new media deeply penetrate society and culture and become elusive.
Moving forward to aworkaround approach, the question is what is the most eective
method to grab this complex and changing phenomenon.
Thesis 2: The diverse contemporary concepts of “new media”
should be anchored by a metaphor rst
e new media shall never stop to be new, reformulating their own image con-
stantly. In this case, the consequence is as simple as possible. If apermanent denition
seems to be impossible to be found, anon-denition-based approach is required.
According to the deductive approach used in this paper, concepts of new media
represent atoo diverse landscape, hence, it cannot be summarized in asimple deni-
tion. According to the theoretical hypothesis, an alternative reection would provide
asimplied and comprehensive summary of the studied term. To step forward towards
this reection, it is useful to highlight the most popular approach of academic and
professional discussions, namely the “convergence” model (Jenkins 2006). is valid
model is intelligible and speaks for itself. Devices, platforms, genres, contents are
converging constantly. However, divergence is also triggering the new media by new
trends, tools, platforms and applications (Fehér 2013). Considering these concepts,
adynamic landscape of the new media is highlighted.
e detailed hypothesis to this approach is focusing on anon-denition-based,
dynamic output. Metaphors are capable to summarize complex and changing
trends emphasizing various dimensions of the same phenomenon (Gibbs 2008).
erefore, with an extended hypothesis, ametaphor would be adriver to acom-
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prehensive and simplied model of the studied term. ese steps support atheo-
retical summary of diverse landscape of new media via adynamic model and with
aminimalist design.
Thesis 3: The metaphor of “interference” provides a dynamic new media model
Based on the above explained hypothesis, asynthetic metaphor allows to under-
stand the dynamics of new media. Focusing on the contemporary media as their
spreadable, ubiquitous, convergent and divergent movements, diverse media phe-
nomena interact and resonate with each other. is exible uid media are capable
to ow like the water where changes and movements become visible. Based on this
simile, apond would be imaginable. If something is dropped to inside, interference
will be visible. In case of more parallel drops, interferences will meet with each other
or will have separate movements (Figure 1).
Figure 1. e metaphor of interference
Source: Authors own study.
is illustration provides asimple way for abirds eye view to the interfering circles
which would be remixed generating further vibrations. e circles produce individual
and temporary characteristics with non-linear movements to constitute adynamically
changing overall image. Each of the circles can be convergent via interfering waves
and anumber of them may get into interactions with other circles. However, two or
more circles can meet in various ways and with dierent results. It depends on the
motions and the intensity of the waves. e two outputs are constructive and destruc-
tive. In case of the constructive impact, the waves are reinforcing while in case of the
destructive version waves erase each other. In terms of the original subject, some of
the phenomena of new media disappear while others become intensied.
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The Zoom Interference Model of New Media. A Metaphor-Based Dynamic Approach…
Personal and institutional users drop things to the virtual pond of this poten-
tial new media that also include their audiences. Buzzwords, storylines, viral eects,
spreading memes and further phenomena of new media represent these drops. e
waves either meet or do not meet temporarily with dierent levels of intensity and
motion. Some waves have contact with waterside boundaries as an object edge that
modies the pattern in dierent ways. Options would be constructive and destructive
in this case.
To sum up, the metaphor of interference resonates with regular perception and
provides abird’s eye view of adynamic new media. It also resonates with immersion
in digital-virtual experience (Lister et al. 2009) where dierent media formats meet.
Based on the interference metaphor, the cited convergence-divergence dichotomy is
going to be revealed in the next chapters by observed new media phenomena.
Thesis 4: A zoom interference model features
the diverse landscape of new media
e metaphor of interference provides adynamic and integrative perspective of
new media. Following this basic metaphor and bearing the original purpose in mind,
solely asimplied understanding of new media is in focus.
Emphasizing again, this paper does not aim to discover all the processes and
phenomena within the new media. It is not concerned with details of the frame-
works of media, the impact of the media or with other points under consideration.
e goal is only aclose reading of new media to develop aframework model based
on the proposed metaphor. Having abird’s eye view above the hypothetical pond
by the metaphor of interference, there is available an observation view of acomplex
ow. From this perspective, the metaphor of the time-determined dynamics could
be supplemented with another aspect of the dynamics. is is the method of zoom to
observe the media operation closer and further. e dimensions of zooming promote
the understanding of the existence or lack of connections to dierent phenomena of
new media.
Atomic media
Starting with the rst and closest zoom, the basic form of new media becomes
visible. is consists of interfering circles resulting in interference on surface of the
water. is core media phenomenon is the atomic media (Figure 2). Atomic media as
basic representative of media phenomena are working in themselves without any direct
interaction with other atomic parts of the new media. e atomic new media contain
digital data collections to represent asignicance, and also, hold hidden metadata for
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digital services regularly without human perception but only to feed algorithms. e
atomic new media is just present something, such as aphoto on ascreen to be visible. It
gives an opportunity to create only apotential to interfere with other atomic new media.
Figure 2. Atomic media without interaction
Source: Authors own study.
Crossmedia
If the atomic media interact with another set of atomic media, crossmedia (see:
Figure 3) are produced. With this zooming out on the landscape of new media, there
is the focus on intersections, interference, interactions and their constructive and
destructive dynamics.
Figure 3. Crossmedia in interaction
Source: Authors own study.
Crossmedia (Ibrus, Scolari 2012; Enoch, Johnson 2010) goes beyond the atomic
version to formulate anew nature. e result is atemporary phenomenon having
apotential for interactivity with various forms.
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The Zoom Interference Model of New Media. A Metaphor-Based Dynamic Approach…
Presenting aspecic case for it, advertising holds avisible interference on video
sharing platforms if astatic banner produces an interaction with aparallel audiovisual
content. Normally, the videos are on the one side and the banners on the other side
of alanding page. e two sets usually contain completely dierent contents, brands,
messages. However, avideo-based advertisement rarely presents options for various
outcomes in the storyline. If auser nds arelevant option to interact with the storyline
nding the connection between the video and the banner, crossmedia becomes available.
is message intersection supports guided media consumption to promote targeted
oers. e interfered new media concept triggers amore intensive message structure to
involve the users (Harries 2002). e customer journey (Visuri, Hosio, Ferreira 2017)
through the interactive media resonance engages the customers in astoryline.
An additional example is the second screen phenomenon (Zuniga, de Garcia-Per-
domo, McGregor 2015). In this case, an audience follows astreaming on one screen,
such as atelevision, and also, on another one, like asmart phone to get access to
supplementary contents at the same time. e result is the crossmedia in the customer
journey nding connections and interactions between new media contents to produce
further media consumption or lack of it. In case of constructive activity, aplatform
supports one another, while in case of the destructive way, one of the screens can block
the other one from the ow process. e crossmedia smuggle dierent meanings via
interaction. e rst media content is coming with the other one.
Transmedia
Zooming out from the landscape of new media pond, transmedia requires the wid-
est-angle lens (Figure 4). Transmedia contribute to the creation of anew world result-
ing in complex networks of meanings and symbols via various atomic and crossmedia.
Figure 4. Transmedia to create own world
Source: Authors own study.
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e most well-known case of transmedia is amovie or avideo series with exten-
sions by further productions of professional or user-generated contents (i.a. Abba
2009; Jenkins 2010). Transmedia have two versions in this context. In the rst case,
it presents classic static versions such as animation or cartoon adapting the original
movie in aprofessional or amateur way. e second version implies adynamic content
workow by awider audience or fun based on the original content or storyline. Both
of them are available in most of the cases together. Target audiences and professional
productions present dierent genres, outputs and alternative interpretations to in-
teract with each other by dedicated platforms, applications, social media and further
digital tools. Members of the audience decide about their participation, interaction
or collaboration (Siapera 2018; Duy 2015).
Transmedia provide transitive, productive, spreadable, and layered meanings with
extensive interpretation of the original sources resulting in areection or convergence
of culture (i.a. Jenkins 2006; Hay, Couldry 2011). e created networks of contents,
genres, narratives and social sharing operate with an ongoing interactivity to build
aworld with concepts, meanings and symbols to identify atransmedia phenomenon.
One of the rst identied examples was the blockbuster movie entitled Matrix with
wide extension of transmedia storytelling via comics, animation, social media con-
tents and video games in fun networks (Jenkins 2006).
It is necessary to highlight that not all aspects of atomic or cross media are avail-
able for the whole audience of transmedia. Everybody follows dierent content net-
works. Interest, search history, personalised contents and genres determine alter
bubble for the users producing various viewpoints, and isolated cultural or ideo-
logical bubbles (Pariser 2012). Consequently, only smaller slices of transmedia are
available for an average user and abig picture is visible only for asystematic analysis
or research.
Intermedia
Last but not least, aspecic zoom nds borders of the pond according to the meta-
phor. In this case the pattern of the interference is broken down by an alternative way,
namely without an interference with another atomic or crossmedia. An interaction
belongs to non-media phenomenon in the culture or society (Figure 5).
e term “intermedia” (i.a. Elleströmm 2010) stems from the art history. Origi-
nally, it referred to amixed form of representations, just like Dadaism or Surrealism.
e advent of intermedia was the readymade in the sixties when an object represented
itself in an age of mass production. In the media context, TV-Buddha emphasized
the mediatized trends by Nam June Paik in 1974 (http://www.paikstudios.com) when
aBuddha statue watched his subsequent videotaped image on the TV screen via
closed-circuit camera.
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The Zoom Interference Model of New Media. A Metaphor-Based Dynamic Approach…
Figure 5. Intermedia for interpretation
Source: Authors own study.
ereaer, computer graphics and animations, video games, virtualization, aug-
mentation, robotics and articial intelligence have required feedbacks for changing
new media environments. For instance, the telegarden project (1995–2004, https://
goldberg.berkeley.edu/garden/Ars/) was adenitely powerful reection on the for-
merly fancy virtual gardens as social media gaming. e artistic installation allowed
users to view and to interact with agarden. is garden was lled with soil and living
plants and users could remotely build it with an industrial robot to cultivate areal
garden as an online gardening game. e results appeared on the screen for moni-
toring. In case of improper gardening, users killed the living plants which was areal
consequence compared to the pixel-based dead plants in online gardens. e project
was areection on responsibility to highlight the dierence between the physical
objects and their representations on the digital screens.
Further contemporary cases are available by smart technology and articial in-
telligence. e big data-based machine learning have opened the gate for computers
to produce music, literature or videos with or without human participation. Several
questions are involved in these versions of new media from copyright to the creativity.
Giving an example for intermedia, the Camera Restricta is aspeculative camera design
that will not allow you to take photos of heavily photographed places if too many
have already been taken by others at that location and posted in social media (e.g.
the Eiel Tower, Times Square). Additionally, aredesigned smartphone and its auto-
mated GPS-based application identify the cliché suspicious photos to ignore taking
aphoto. e goal is to allow users to produce non-mainstream or divergent content
as acontemporary art project (Schmitt 2015). Consequently, intermedia confront the
mainstream trends and tighten their boundaries via thought-provoking feedback.
Intermedia also formulate creative, moral, aesthetic questions of new media to reveal
the non-familiar forms of representations (Press, Williams 2010). It results in experi-
mental and extended phenomenon of media via out-of-box thinking.
In summary, adynamic model of new media has become available via the met-
aphorical approach and with dierent zooms from atomic media to media-reexive
extensions (Figure 6).
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Figure 6. e model of dynamic interference with options of zoom
Source: Authors own study.
e zoom interference model provides dynamic viewpoints in rapidly changing new
media environments. It gives an opportunity to cluster the convergent and diverse
new media trends. Besides, this model promotes acomplex and simplied framework
of new media on the above summarized way. Considering the resulting model, the
lesson is to force an inquiry to analyze apart of the big picture and vice versa.
Conclusions and recommendation
To sum up, the feature of the term “new media” was arelevant focus on contem-
porary media. e paper summarized an overview of the concepts with historical and
contemporary aspects. Focusing solely on the phenomena of new media and their
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The Zoom Interference Model of New Media. A Metaphor-Based Dynamic Approach…
dynamics via atheoretical approach, abird’s eye view have become available. e
metaphor of constructive-destructive interference illustrated the work of new media
to support amodel development. e time dimension of the illustration emphasized
the ongoing change and the zooming provided understanding of the workow of
new media cases. Presentation by atomic media, interaction by crossmedia, creation
of acomplex content network by transmedia and provocation by intermedia in one
model allow theoretical and comprehensive analysis for further studies without facing
ajungle of new media concepts. e research limit is alack of new media denition
as aconclusion. However, beyond the labels of “digital”, “interactive” and numerous
further options, denitions would be continuously reformulated following the up-
coming trends. Besides, denitions, labels or buzzwords are updated by both of the
above-mentioned scenarios as ubiquitous or disappearing new media based on the
resulted dynamic model.
e next step might be asoware to create model in order to visualize the above
outlined dynamics of the new media with zoom options and timelines. rough big
data and machine learning it is possible to study the changing trends and to nd
emerging cases. Consequently, apredictive model would contribute to the techno-
cultural research from computer science to digital humanities.
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