The year is 2022 and around the world people feel at home on the Internet. Whether they’re browsing social media, working remotely or studying from home, visitors of cyberspace have become heavily dependent on the convenience and immediacy of the web. You only need to glance at the market trends and statistics to see how the digital world of new media and cyberculture is defining our everyday lives.
The term “new media” refers to all forms of communication that take place online, from simple websites to virtual worlds. Cyberculture, sometimes called Internet culture, relates to the social grouping or cohesion that occurs online, such as online forums, blogs, chatrooms and e-commerce. There is an overlap between these two terms and as one evolves, so does the other – the rate of technological development makes stagnation impossible.
Comprehensive research has uncovered more information about Internet users and their changing behaviours. Some of the most notable insights can be seen in comparisons between people of different ages (and/or generations). Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012), for example, are migrating online by the day – not a surprise, but strong evidence of the general trends when it comes to online media and cyberculture.
Research conducted by OfCom in 2021 showed that 66% of study participants between eight and eleven had their own tablets. 91% of 12- to 15-year-olds owned a smartphone. While Baby Boomers grew up alongside TV, those in Gen Z are twice as likely to use VoD services (such as Netflix or Hulu) than they are to watch live TV.
Connecting With Others
People of all ages now rely on the Internet for a variety of reasons, such as social interaction and working or studying remotely, or even talking to other people about New Zealand online betting on forums. This reliance has shaped and continues to shape businesses’ marketing strategies as they try to find the balance between targeting younger and older consumers – i.e., those who live online vs those who don’t.
Studies have shown that Internet users are particularly receptive to visuals; both stills and videos. Online posts accompanied by images perform significantly better in terms click-through rates, while some data even suggests that Facebook posts with multiple images increase their clicks by 1290%. To those who spend a significant amount of time online this should come as no surprise – most Internet users would agree that an image or video makes a post more attractive and engaging.
An Ongoing Journey
When it comes to exploring and summarising the increasingly important role new media plays in our lives, one article is woefully insufficient. It is safe to say, however, that our “relationship” with the Internet and all online media is anything but static.
The idea of “cyberculture” was first explored in the 1960s and now, roughly 60 years later, an entire generation is growing up knowing that reality as intimately as “real life”. As with all transitions, this journey away from brick-and-mortar, towards a more virtual way of life holds challenges, but is nonetheless an exhilarating adventure for all involved.