New media is the term given to any form of media that emerged at the end of the 20th century or in the 21st century. The properties of new media are that one can get access to it any time or anywhere, normally on a mobile device using the Internet. New media also offers the possibility of giving creative feedback and interaction with the author or publisher of the content. Compared to older forms of media, new media is much more democratic with the potential for anyone to create, publish and distribute their own work using the Internet and popular websites such as Youtube, Facebook, Wikipedia and Twitter. Another difference between new media and traditional media is the ability to get content in bits, where consumers have the ability to select specifically what they want rather than having to buy a bigger bundle.
New media has been an important tool in era of globalization, as it has opened up previously unimaginable forms of communication between people a world apart and has been seen as the "death of distance" by more than one commentator. Personal blogs, websites and pictures are now able to be seen by friends who are living on different continents, and these pieces of personal content can become very influential very quickly. New media can surpass borders, which opens up the possibility for the globalization of previously isolated cultures. In fact, the only way that totalitarian governments have been able to stem the tide of this form of borderless communication and exchange of ideas is to suppress the Internet entirely, as seen in North Korea.
New media has enabled social movements to make rapid gains within society. New media has been used to educate, organize and share cultural and social ideas with large bodies of people. Websites like Facebook allow the viral spread of material so populist ideas can spread with ease. One of the earliest examples of the use of new media in a social protest was at the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Conference in 1999. The protestors used new media to organize the protests and communicate and educate participants. New media was used to provide an alternative set of information and perspective in a widely publicized way that would not have been possible before. New media was also used in the 2011 "Arab Spring" to mobilize support and to communicate to the world the situation from a common person's perspective rather than the perspective of official state media, which often conflicted with the truth. In 2011, new media was powerful enough to bring down governments and cause regime change. On the other side, this new media was also used by looters in England in August of 2011 to mobilize and avoid the police and to commit wanton criminality on the streets, illustrating that like all tools, new media can be used for both good causes and bad.
Another form of new media is computer games on the Internet, such as Second Life or MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) including "World of Warcraft," where people can form their own social groups unbound by distance. New media has created the ability for people to live out their lives in a virtual reality.
New media, along with social media, provide challenges and opportunities for traditional media companies. Newspapers are currently looking to adapt to the challenges of having news widely and freely available online, removing the need to buy a daily newspaper. Some newspapers have adapted to this by going completely free and trying to make up the lost revenue through advertising, while others have tried to make their websites subscription-only to protect their content. The Internet has become one of the main forums for new media, and advertising companies are scrambling to create campaigns that have the ability to go viral and spread throughout the entire new and social media network. Since the beginning of the new media era, there have been many changes, and several generations of new media have already peaked and fallen such as Myspace, while others such as Facebook continue to succeed. New media is constantly changing and evolving, but unlike traditional forms of media the agent of change will be the user and not the publisher.