There are few terms in the past decade that have excited the popular imagination more than “New Media,” even though few self-described “New Media” scholars agree about precisely what it means or what makes it so new. Nonetheless, New Media has valuable lessons for modern business. The purpose of this chapter is to explore some various definitions of the term “New Media,” unlock the key concepts, and discuss how these theories and practices can facilitate professional communication in new virtual workplaces (with a particular focus on 3-D virtual environments). The goal of this chapter is to show how New Media conversations about Play, Space, Identity, Simulation, and Collaboration can help foster more effective virtual workplaces. While there is no magical template for building productive virtual workplaces, this chapter will help readers understand and apply some of the principles of New Media to better understand the obstacles and affordances they offer modern business.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Space: A computer simulation of a physical environment.
Participant: A person performing work in a virtual workplace.
Simulation: An activity whose purpose is to represent another.
New Media: (1) A work consisting of at least two inseparable layers, one of which is composed of data in a form capable of being manipulated directly by a computer. (2) A work whose purpose is to draw attention to its own materiality.
Collaboration: A task performed by multiple participants.
Immersion: The state reached when a participant is so actively engaged in a narrative that the mechanism by which that narrative is generated no longer distracts from it.
Identity: A collection of data or characteristics that distinguish one being from another.
Play: (1) As opposed to “work,” a pleasurable activity pursued for its own sake. (2) The free range of movement allowed before work becomes possible.