Why do I still call it New after all these years?

In the summer of 1985 I started in the audiovisual industry and the small company I joined experimented with interactive video. We called it New Media. We were trying to mix text, graphics, video, stills and audio into longform and meaningfull interactive experiences, mostly aimed at well defined groups of people for training purposes. Then came along videodisc (Laservision, as Philips called it). And I even remember the very early days of cd-rom. At the time we looked at the US for interesting opportunities and read The Videodisc Monitor.  Monthly delivered snailmail of 8 pages black and white reading, filled with examples, I then would try to market in Holland. 

New Media were new, because they were interactive. New Media were also new, because once in a while some company came up with something new. Like CD-i. When that happened I watched the entire Dutch interactive community drop videodisc and embrace CD-i. Leaving me perplexed and stunned, because I thought we were in the business of creating interactive experiences, not pushing physical media.

 That time I encountered the real meaning of the word (or should I say ‘frame’) ‘New’:

  • stop what you’re doing, declare it dead or non existent
  • embrace the new New
  • keep following every hype
  • evangelize the New

It is funny to notice that today’s most promising new New Medium (the iPad) will bring on real longform multimedia interactive experiences. Back at the beginning. Maybe it is new afterall?

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