What is Digital Media?

Simply put, digital media is any type of media that can be viewed or listened with the use of a screen. It can be broken down into its binary format and placed online for all to see. With the world turning more and more digital as time goes on (20 years ago, nobody would have imagined the rise of smartphones), it’s perhaps more important to be acquainted with digital media, how it affects our lives and the benefits it can bring us, especially when wanting to learn new skills.

One of the huge advantages, for me anyway, is that a piece of digital media can transcend time and space. An article published in a newspaper can be viewed at any time, sure, but this usually means having to go to an archive library and searching, for what could be hours, for the piece you’re looking for.

The beauty of digital media is once it’s online, it can remain there forever (as long as the server the piece is hosted on remains intact). Anyone from anywhere in the world can access your piece, whether it’s written, a video or photographs. It binds people the world over and is timeless. Someone in Korea, 20 years from now, could be reading this very piece. Truly amazing when you think that in recent history the best way to share information was a messenger on a horse.

Digital media includes many art forms. From film to poetry and collaboration has never been easier. If you want to share a vision of a film you’re making with a videographer in the USA, for example, this can be done providing you both have a good internet connection.

Another huge advantage that digital media provides us with is that you can constantly edit a piece. This is really useful when writing a developing story for an online publisher. If there’s breaking news that you’ve been hired to write an article for, the story is obviously going to develop. Digital media allows you to add details and edit your mistakes, something previously impossible when it comes to print.

I love the opportunity that digital media provides people. The barriers to access are fairly limited and therefore more people are able to participate in art, something which was gatekeepers for such a long time by the elite. You make a piece of work and you have a potential audience of billions. A favourite story of mine comes from youtube. An English guy began making horror shorts and uploading his work regularly. Since he started, he’s been picked up by a major movie company in LA and now works on blockbusters, a dream come true for sure! Although, he’s not the only one to have found fame and fortune through the internet. Justin Bieber was originally found on youtube and now he’s a household name. Truly incredible.

Digital media is a gateway to so many opportunities, from coding to graphic design, there’s almost no area of life that is untouched by this format. The page you’re on now, the theme I’m using for this blog, the magazine covers we love to read, all reply on people knowing and using digital media to create something that a user can enjoy. Sometimes people will make statements with their work, like any other art form, but it’s more than just that. Take coding for example; it’s a way to build programs, software, user interfaces and so much more. Whilst relying on technical skills to produce these pieces (namely maths), the result is something tangible that users must find it easy to interact with. If not, then you must go back to the drawing board and make it so.

Now, there are many ways to get into digital media and depending on what you want to create, will depend on what program or software you should familiarise yourself with. If you want to learn to code, for example, there are great courses for free online (such as Codecademy) and many websites you can use to get started (like codepen). These enable anyway with the will to get started on any project they want. As well as coding, there’s a crazy amount of youtube videos for literally everything. As mentioned previously, with the right will, you can learn nearly anything you want on the internet for free.

The internet truly rocks!

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