Digital media are any media that are encoded in machine-readable
Digital media can be created, viewed, distributed,
modified and preserved on digital electronics devices.
1 Digital Media
2.1 Digital computers
2.2 "As We May Think"
3.1 The digital revolution
3.2 Disruption in industry
3.3 Individual as content creator
3.4 Web only news
4 See also
6 Further reading
Examples of digital media include software, digital images, digital
video, video game, web pages and websites, including social media,
data and databases, digital audio, such as MP3 and electronic books.
Digital media often contrasts with print media, such as printed books,
newspapers and magazines, and other traditional or analog media, such
as images, movies or audio tapes.
Digital media has a significant
broad and complex impact on society and culture. Combined with the
Internet and personal computing, digital media has caused disruptive
innovation in publishing, journalism, public relations, entertainment,
education, commerce and politics.
Digital media has also posed new
challenges to copyright and intellectual property laws, fostering an
open content movement in which content creators voluntarily give up
some or all of their legal rights to their work. The ubiquity of
digital media and its effects on society suggest that we are at the
start of a new era in industrial history, called the Information Age,
perhaps leading to a paperless society in which all media are produced
and consumed on computers. However, challenges to a digital
transition remain, including outdated copyright laws, censorship, the
digital divide, and the spectre of a digital dark age, in which older
media becomes inaccessible to new or upgraded information systems.
Digital media has a significant, wide-ranging and complex impact on
society and culture.
History of programming languages
History of programming languages and History of computing
Codes and information by machines were first conceptualized by Charles
Babbage in the early 1800s. Babbage imagined that these codes would
give him instructions for his Motor of Difference and Analytical
Engine, machines that Babbage had designed to solve the problem of
error in calculations. Between 1822 and 1823, Ada Lovelace,
mathematics, wrote the first instructions for calculating numbers on
Babbage engines. Lovelace's instructions are now believed to be the
first computer program. Although the machines were designed to perform
analysis tasks, Lovelace anticipated the possible social impact of
computers and programming, writing. "For in the distribution and
combination of truths and formulas of analysis, which may become
easier and more quickly subjected to the mechanical combinations of
the engine, the relationships and the nature of many subjects in which
science necessarily relates in new subjects, and more deeply
researched ... there are in all extensions of human power or additions
to human knowledge, various collateral influences, in addition to the
primary and primary object reached. "Other old machine readable media
include instructions for pianolas and weaving machines.
It is estimated that in the year 1986 less than 1% of the world's
media storage capacity was digital and in 2007 it was already 94%.
The year 2002 is assumed to be the year when human kind was able to
store more information in digital than in analog media (the "beginning
of the digital age").
Digital codes, like binary, can be changed without reconfiguring
Though they used machine-readable media, Babbage's engines, player
pianos, jacquard looms and many other early calculating machines were
themselves analog computers, with physical, mechanical parts. The
first truly digital media came into existence with the rise of digital
computers. Digital computers use binary code and
Boolean logic to
store and process information, allowing one machine in one
configuration to perform many different tasks. The first modern,
programmable, digital computers, the
Manchester Mark 1
Manchester Mark 1 and the EDSAC,
were independently invented between 1948 and 1949. Though
different in many ways from modern computers, these machines had
digital software controlling their logical operations. They were
encoded in binary, a system of ones and zeroes that are combined to
make hundreds of characters. The 1s and 0s of binary are the "digits"
of digital media.
"As We May Think"
While digital media came into common use in the early 1950s, the
conceptual foundation of digital media is traced to the work of
scientist and engineer
Vannevar Bush and his celebrated essay "As We
May Think," published in
The Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic Monthly in 1945. Bush
envisioned a system of devices that could be used to help scientists,
doctors, historians and others, store, analyze and communicate
information. Calling this then-imaginary device a "memex", Bush
The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the origin and
properties of the bow and arrow. Specifically he is studying why the
short Turkish bow was apparently superior to the English long bow in
the skirmishes of the Crusades. He has dozens of possibly pertinent
books and articles in his memex. First he runs through an
encyclopedia, finds an interesting but sketchy article, leaves it
projected. Next, in a history, he finds another pertinent item, and
ties the two together. Thus he goes, building a trail of many items.
Occasionally he inserts a comment of his own, either linking it into
the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item.
When it becomes evident that the elastic properties of available
materials had a great deal to do with the bow, he branches off on a
side trail which takes him through textbooks on elasticity and tables
of physical constants. He inserts a page of longhand analysis of his
own. Thus he builds a trail of his interest through the maze of
materials available to him.
Bush hoped that the creation of this memex would be the work of
scientists after World War II. Though the essay predated digital
computers by several years, "As We May Think," anticipated the
potential social and intellectual benefits of digital media and
provided the conceptual framework for digital scholarship, the World
Wide Web, wikis and even social media. It was recognized as a
significant work even at the time of its publication.
The digital revolution
See also: Digital Revolution
In the years since the invention of the first digital computers,
computing power and storage capacity have increased exponentially.
Personal computers and smartphones put the ability to access, modify,
store and share digital media in the hands of billions of people. Many
electronic devices, from digital cameras to drones have the ability to
create, transmit and view digital media. Combined with the World Wide
Web and the Internet, digital media has transformed 21st century
society in a way that is frequently compared to the cultural, economic
and social impact of the printing press. The change has been so
rapid and so widespread that it has launched an economic transition
from an industrial economy to an information-based economy, creating a
new period in human history known as the
Information Age or the
The transition has created some uncertainty about definitions. Digital
media, new media, multimedia, and similar terms all have a
relationship to both the engineering innovations and cultural impact
of digital media. The blending of digital media with other media,
and with cultural and social factors, is sometimes known as new media
or "the new media." Similarly, digital media seems to demand a new
set of communications skills, called transliteracy, media literacy, or
digital literacy. These skills include not only the ability to
read and write—traditional literacy—but the ability to navigate
the Internet, evaluate sources , and create digital content. The
idea that we are moving toward a fully digital, paperless society is
accompanied by the fear that we may soon—or currently—be facing a
digital dark age, in which older media are no longer accessible on
modern devices or using modern methods of scholarship. Digital
media has a significant, wide-ranging and complex effect on society
The impact of the digital revolution can also be assessed by exploring
the amount of worldwide mobile smart device users there are. This can
be split into 2 categories smart phone users and smart tablet users.
Worldwide there are currently 2.32 billion smartphone users across the
world. This figure is to exceed 2.87 billion by 2020. Smart tablet
users reached a total of 1 billion in 2015, 15% of the world’s
population. The first mobile phone was released in 1973 by a
senior engineer in Motorola  and was only affordable by the
incredibly wealthy. The fact that such a large proportion of the
world’s population own smart devices demonstrates the rapid level of
growth achieved throughout the digital revolution.
The statistics evidence the impact of digital media communications
today. What is also of relevance is the fact that the numbers of smart
device users is rising rapidly yet the amount of functional uses
increase daily. A smartphone or tablet can be used for hundreds of
daily needs. There are currently over 1 million apps on the Apple
Appstore. These are all opportunities for digital marketing
efforts. A smartphone user is impacted with digital advertising every
second they open their Apple or Android device. This further evidences
the digital revolution and the impact of revolution.
Disruption in industry
Compared with print media, the mass media, and other analog
technologies, digital media are easy to copy, store, share and modify.
This quality of digital media has led to significant changes in many
industries, especially journalism, publishing, education,
entertainment, and the music business. The overall effect of these
changes is so far-reaching that it is difficult to quantify. For
example, in movie-making, the transition from analog film cameras to
digital cameras is nearly complete. The transition has economic
benefits to Hollywood, making distribution easier and making it
possible to add high-quality digital effects to films. At the same
time, it has affected the analog special effects, stunt, and animation
industries in Hollywood. It has imposed painful costs on small
movie theaters, some of which did not or will not survive the
transition to digital. The effect of digital media on other media
industries is similarly sweeping and complex.
In journalism, digital media and citizen journalism have led to the
loss of thousands of jobs in print media and the bankruptcy of many
major newspapers. But the rise of digital journalism has also
created thousands of new jobs and specializations. E-books and
self-publishing are changing the book industry, and digital textbooks
and other media-inclusive curricula are changing primary and secondary
education. In academia, digital media has led to a new form of
scholarship, called digital scholarship, and new fields of study, such
as digital humanities and digital history. It has changed the way
libraries are used and their role in society. Every major media,
communications and academic endeavor is facing a period of transition
and uncertainty related to digital media.
Individual as content creator
Digital media has also allowed individuals to be much more active in
content creation. Anyone with access to computers and the Internet
can participate in social media and contribute their own writing, art,
videos, photography and commentary to the Internet, as well as conduct
business online. The dramatic reduction in the costs required to
create and share content have led to a democratization of content
creation as well as the creation of new types of content, like blogs,
memes and video essays. Some of these activities have also been
labelled citizen journalism. This spike in user created content is due
to the development of the internet as well as the way in which users
interact with media today. The release of technologies such mobile
devices allow for easier and quicker access to all things media.
Many media production tools that were once only available to a few are
now free and easy to use. The cost of devices that can access the
internet is dropping steadily, and now personal ownership of multiple
digital devices is becoming standard. These elements have
significantly affected political participation.
Digital media is
seen by many scholars as having a role in Arab Spring, and crackdowns
on the use of digital and social media by embattled governments are
increasingly common. Many governments restrict access to digital
media in some way, either to prevent obscenity or in a broader form of
User-generated content raises issues of privacy, credibility, civility
and compensation for cultural, intellectual and artistic
contributions. The spread of digital media, and the wide range of
literacy and communications skills necessary to use it effectively,
have deepened the digital divide between those who have access to
digital media and those who don't.
The rising of digital media has made the consumer's audio collection
more precise and personalized. It is no longer necessary to purchase
an entire album if the consumer is ultimately interested in only a few
Web only news
As the internet becomes more and more prevalent, more companies are
beginning to distribute content through internet only means. With the
loss of viewers there is a loss of revenue but not as bad as what
would be expected. Cisco Inc released its latest forecast and the
numbers are all trending to internet news to continue to grow at a
rate where it will be quadruple by 2018.
See also: Open data, Open access, and Open source
Digital media pose many challenges to current copyright and
intellectual property laws. The ease of creating, modifying and
sharing digital media makes copyright enforcement a challenge, and
copyright laws are widely seen as outdated. For example, under
current copyright law, common
Internet memes are probably illegal to
share in many countries. Legal rights are at least unclear for
Internet activities, such as posting a picture that
belongs to someone else to a social media account, covering a popular
song on a YouTube video, or writing fanfiction. Over the last decade
the concept of fair use has been applied to many online medias.
To resolve some of these issues, content creators can voluntarily
adopt open or copyleft licenses, giving up some of their legal rights,
or they can release their work to the public domain. Among the most
common open licenses are
Creative Commons licenses and the GNU Free
Documentation License, both of which are in use on. Open
licenses are part of a broader open content movement that pushes for
the reduction or removal of copyright restrictions from software, data
and other digital media.
Additional software has been developed in order to protect digital
media. digital rights management (DRM) is used to digitally copyright
material and allows users to use that media for specific cases. For
example, DRM allows a movie producer to rent a movie at a lower price
than selling the movie, restricting the movie rental license length,
rather than only selling the movie at full price. Additionally, DRM
can prevent unauthorized sharing or modification of media.
Digital Media is numerical, networked and interactive system of links
and databases that allows us to navigate from one bit of content or
webpage to another.
One form of digital media that is becoming a phenomenon is in the form
of a online magazine or digital magazine. What exactly is a digital
magazine? Due to the economic importance of digital magazines, the
Audit Bureau of Circulations integrated the definition of this medium
in its latest report (March 2011): a digital magazine involves the
distribution of a magazine content by electronic means; it may be a
replica. This is an outdated definition of what a digital magazine
is. A digital magazine should not be, in fact, a replica of the print
magazine in PDF, as was common practice in recent years. It should,
rather, be a magazine that is, in essence, interactive and created
from scratch to a digital platform (Internet, mobile phones, private
networks, iPad or other device). The barriers for digital magazine
distribution are thus decreasing. At the same time digitizing
platforms are broadening the scope of where digital magazines can be
published, such as within websites and on smartphones. With the
improvements of tablets and digital magazines are becoming visually
enticing and readable magazines with it graphic arts.
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