Kik Messenger


Hey guys! That’s my twitter name, ^^^^^, follow me! My name is Bethel Muasau, I am a freshman here at WSUV, majoring in Biology, wanting to become a Family Practitioner.

In “What is New Media,” by Lev Manovich, he talks about all the possible media objects made through computers and media objects not made by computers. There are five characteristics that define new media according to Lev Manovich; numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. A new media object that has been in use of lately is Kik. It is not as popular as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even Tumblr. Kik was created by Ted Livingston from Waterloo University, in Ontario, Canada. It took Livingston 15 days just to reach a billion followers, “it took twitter two years to do that,” says Livingston. Kik is a free instant-messaging application that enables users to send messages to their friends, see when they’ve been delivered and when their friends actually have read the message. It even lets users know when their friends are typing a message. According to Manovich, the first characteristic that was mentioned that defines new media is numerical representation. In the article, it states, “numerical representation is a media object that is converted from analog media sources than composed of digital source,” (Manovich 27). On Kik, it allows the times to change and because of this, the binary code that contains 1s and 0s, are converted so that times, dates, and thanks to something called “digitization,” data can be continuous as well as represented with good quality, (Manovich 28). The second characteristic modularity – is the structural parts of new media, (Manovich 29). On Kik, the messages and the way the contacts are presented are organized the same way, every time you log on. Units presented each time you log on come in choices to either create new message or add new contact or add a smiley face, all of these units make up Kik. Third characteristic that defines media is automation. As Manovich said on page 30, automation is almost defined like automatic. The media object can be created or fixed automatically. Every time you “Kik” a friend, and there is no service, Kik will automatically inform you that the message has not been sent or the message is not able to be sent. The fourth characteristic is variability – otherwise known as existence of different, potentially infinite versions, (Manovich 32). This step would not be possible without modularity. This is the storage part of Kik, or any other new media device. Because there were other social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, and Tumblr, Kik was made so that there would only be messaging involved. Kik only involved messaging another person or other people. Lastly, the fifth characteristic – transcoding. According to Manovich, (45), “Transcoding is the ability for an object to combine “cultural layers” and “computer layers” to create a certain experience or mood for the user.” On Kik, the cultural layers are things such as what you want to input and people you want to add. The computer layers are the edits to things you want to input onto the object. Combining the two together creates the mood, as said, for the Kik user. Kik is a new media object that could be used effectively according to Manovich’s five principles.

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