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The History of Digital Media

From its inception to today.

Tim Samoff

on 5 August 2016

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Transcript of The History of Digital Media

But before we talk more about Digital Media...
Introduction to Digital Media
What is “Digital Media,” anyway?
Today Digital Media might be defined as the seamless digital integration of text, graphics, animation, audio, still images and motion video in a way that provides individual users with high levels of control and interaction.
The evolution of Digital Media is a story of the emergence and convergence of these technologies.
“The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which stops only at the salient items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There is a new profession of trailblazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.” - Vannevar Bush (1945).
What about Media?
A Historical Timeline of Media
1771 - 2008 in 01:11:00
Digital Media = New Media
What does that mean?!
New media is a broad term in media studies that emerged in the later part of the 20th century. For example, new media holds out a possibility of on-demand access to content any time, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, creative participation and community formation around the media content.
Thank you, Wikipedia!
Which, of course,
is a version of
new media.
Why do we need to understand New Media?
Back to a little history...
Even before 1771...
China, 100 BC
Paper is invented.
Historical records and
stories can now be
Germany, 1455
Gutenberg invents the
printing press.
Literacy spreads
through Europe.
1814 - 1825
Photography becomes
a regular past time.
Actual visual records
of people and history
can now be stored.
United States, 1835
Samuel Morse invents
Morse Code.
Communication breaks the
distance barrier.
United States, 1876
Alexander Bell invents the
Conversations break the
distance barrier.
France, 1898
The Lumiere brothers present
the first publicly viewed film.
Some people become frightened
and try to leave the viewing.
United States, 1920
The first major radio broadcast from
Union College, Schenectady, New York.
This signals the birth of modern mass media.
United States, 1930
Conrad Zuse invents the
first calculator.
United States, 1936
Allan Turing’s “Turing’s Machine” defined as capable of computing any calculable function.
United States, 1943
The Zuse Z3 is the first machine to work on a binary system rather than decimal system.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
- Thomas Watson, IBM (1943)

United States, 1952
The IBM 701 is the first electronic
stored computer that used vacuum tubes,
RAM, punch cards and was the size of
a piano.
Between 1952 and 1973, an enormous amount of
development occurs within the computer
technology sector: from integrated circuits,
to removable media, to the use of RAM, the
practice of Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), and more... Many companies even began publishing the first laserdiscs.
Fast-forward to 1973...
In 1973, Kahn & Cerf present ideas for the structure of the Internet.
1975: Bill Gates founds Microsoft.
1977: Steve Jobs & Bill Wozniak found Apple Computer.
“Computers in the future may weigh more than five tons.”
- Popular Mechanics (1949)
Television “enters” the home.
Did you know that today, because of television alone, a person watches an average of 20,000 commercials per year?
1978: First publicly available cell phone
1983: First PC clone
1984: First Apple Macintosh computer
1992: World Wide Web becomes publicly accessible
1994: Internet becomes interactive (shopping, banking, media streaming, etc.)
“There is no reason anyone would want a
computer in their home.”
- Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corp. (1977)
And then...
“640k ought to be enough for anybody.”
- Bill Gates, Microsoft (1981)
Through the Internet, global networks revolutionize how people access information.
2000: “Web 2.0”
2004: Facebook is publicly launched.
2006: Twitter is publicly launched.
2006: Social networks? TIME Magazine names “You” as Person of the Year.
2016: Facebook has 1.7 billion users; Twitter has over 600 million users; Pokémon Go has nearly 300 million users.
New Media = Social Media
Full transcript