Blackberry, iPod, Wi-Fi sniffer and G5 with 20-inch cinema display. Five years ago, these words held no meaning. But today, Amy L. Webb relies on these tools to get through a typical day in a world in which times are definitely changing.
Along with working as an adjunct journalism professor, Webb is editor in chief of “Dragonfire,” an online publication, and the author of “MyDigiMedia technology, innovation and insight for traditional journalists.”
As a woman who always chooses the latest gadgets over a new bag or shoes, Webb dedicated 30 days to observing how digital media, such as mobile phones, mp3 players and laptops measure up when all traditional forms of media like newspapers, magazines, and television are out of the picture.
In an article titled “The Digital Diet,” published in “The Philadelphia Inquirer” in August, Webb said that by using only the gadgets listed above, she was able to get everything she needed and more.
“It’s the info and not the medium that matters,” Webb said.
This may shock anyone who is used to reading the paper every morning or winding down in front of their TV to watch their favorite shows at night.
According to Webb, new media is only one way in which technology is changing the way people go about their daily lives.
Webb believes the role of the Internet is shifting too, and is becoming much more interactive now than it was when it was first introduced.
Referring to Web sites such as Facebook.com and MySpace.com, Webb reinforces a popular concept called “Web 2.0,” meaning the Internet is becoming much more user-friendly.
“I think what we are entering now is a phase of integration,” Webb said. She said she sees another big trend underway, inspiring her to launch “Dragonfire” in July 2005.
“One problem is that now there is way too much information available, which makes it harder to find it. We enable people to aggregate,” Webb said.
Webb mentioned www.digg.com, where users can rate news stories and give feedback as if they were professional journalists. Blogging is also a way for users to become more interactive in media.
As a journalist, Webb sees an exciting change for students who are about to enter the field. They will most likely go about researching and delivering their stories in very different manners, she said.
“For reporters, I think blogs are a good place to get information. However I don’t think they should be used as a primary source,” Webb said.
Though Webb said she gears a lot of her passion and digital media studies toward journalists, she sees a change that is affecting students in all majors and encourages them to become accustomed to the new gadgets and the technological revolution that is taking place.
“You don’t have to buy the stuff but you want to know what it is,” Webb said. “Now is a good time, if not to get on board, then to at least get knowledgeable about the industry.”
Kristin Granero can be reached at email@example.com.