Using forms of new media allow us to achieve a sense of belonging, and in order to do this we must first grasp a better understanding of the world around us. Computers, perhaps more than any other technology, help bridge the figurative and literal gap between people. As various narratives are shared on the internet, barriers are breached and cultures are learned. Instead of a breakdown in communication, an understanding is achieved.
As Tony Chalkley (2012) explains, a narrative is a “story that is constructed using various genres and other conventions in order for people to make sense of the world” (p. 33).
Stories are one thing that bring us all together, and all cultures share similar genres and conventions; the internet merely finds these similarities and aids in linking us together. Our very own lives are, in fact, stories, as we can be seen as the protagonists of our own stories and those we interact with as mere supporting actors. There are aspects of our lives that link us with others: conventions and genres, and through these we find our place in the world.
Murray also agrees that we use new media to understand the world around us, and focuses on its literary aspects.
She regards the computer specifically as a new literary medium and gives the invention of the computer Eliza, who was perceived to be a real therapist, as an example of the technology’s evolution: achieving the “illusion of life through the rules of behavior” (Murray, 2012, p. 7).
The internet is so essential because it allows us a digital world in which to preserve and share our stories and to find and understand others. Our relationship with computers and digital media may be a dependent one, but often for good reason, as it expands our minds, allows our creativity to blossom, and enables us to find like-minded individuals to share our own worldview with as they share ours with us.
As the internet has expanded and become more accessible and convenient to work our way around, it has evolved beyond mere communication and entertainment. It has become a tool for learning, a virtual environment where all narratives can merge and aid us in constructing ourselves, others and the world around us.
Chalkley, T., et al. (2012). Communication, new media, and everyday life. South Melbourne: Oxford.
Murray, J. (2012). Inventing the Medium. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.