In reading Terry Flew’s chapter “What’s New About New Media,” I found myself intrigued with the idea of dematerialized output and virtual realms. Flew discusses these concepts in separate sections of his chapter, but I was fascinated with actually combining the concepts.
Flew defines the idea of dematerialized output as employees creating digital or intangible products as a means of income (e.g. coding, web design, online articles, and the like) (Flew 18). The idea that information and the tasks involved with producing, maintaining, and distributing it is not at all novel, but the delivery methods via “New Media” are. email, TCP/IP, social media sites, and many other technological forms of delivery of mass communication helps many businesses evolve and profit.
Workers creating and managing various information types and output is exceptionally commonplace. We are all accustomed to filing reports, sending emails, or generating documents for our jobs in one form or another. For some of us, our workplace is becoming more and more digital as we spend much more of our time working online or with some form of ” New Media.”
With all the time spent behind computers, many of us feel something akin to the Matrix’s John Anderson and his alter ego Neo. Searching for something in cyberspace that will give us a break from our dematerialized output, an escape from our reality- something virtual perhaps?
While I do not expect any of us to take blue or red pills and follow the glowing green ASCI characters down Neo’s proverbial Rabbit hole, the idea of virtual reality is exceptionally appealing to most. Online games, fan fiction websites, and online personas prove that a large portion oft the population interests are piqued when it comes to becoming someone else online. Eager to play out their fantasies or just become someone different from themselves its a small wonder that many people participate in the limited forms of virtual reality that are currently available.
How accepting would the populous be of a virtual world that not only incorporates leisurely activity, but one that creates dematerialized results for their workplace as well? People perform their jobs better if they are happy not only in what they are doing, but in how they do it. Would a scientist create better results if he was engulfed virtually in his experiements? Would seeing atoms created via an online reality, produce realistic lab results needed, or could it engage the scientist enough to find that missing component? Could corporations benefit from creating software and hardware components that allow workers to log in from home and perform their jobs? The reduction of gridlock, stress, and fuel consumption might be able to stimulate economies, and increase the amount of production in jobs that were capable of producing dematerialized work.
The concept of remote location for work or education is far from new, but incorporating a virtual environment of the employees choosing could benefit both the company and employee. if you loved your job, and the place in which you worked it could benefit more than just you alone. I think the idea is one worth pondering, and it would be interesting to see if something becomes of it in years to come.