Introduction to Digital Communication

This unit offers both a theoretical introduction to the digital landscape and the opportunity for you to explore in practice how to use the new media landscape within advertising and branding communications. The unit is organised around three themes.

The first provides students with a conceptual map of the new media landscape. As new media appear, old media are redefined, take up new roles and reach new audiences. The key aim of this strand is to help you realise the multi-channel approach business adopt to reach different market sectors at different times. You will get an introduction to the history of the net, the early cultures, the arrival of the web, hypertext and online multimedia, the dotcom boom and bust, the development of Web 2.0 and its new services – Google, Facebook, Google +, YouTube, iTunes, Wikipedia, Browser technologies including Google chrome and Flock, P2P technologies, social networking, blogging. Building on the history, this strand will stress a number of key distinguishing features about the new landscape, including convergence, participatory culture, personal media, network society, the culture of control vs the culture of exposure, the attention economy.

The second theme of the unit focuses on advertising. User control online means approaches to advertising and branding have had to change. Businesses are still working out how best to communicate in the new media landscape. This strand will cover some of the options that have been tried to date:

1. The arrival of advertising on the web with banners

2. Spam, pop-ups and the return of intrusive advertising

3. Search engines and key words

4. Viral marketing – the development of virals – ads as social currency users are happy

to circulate – peer to peer marketing

5. Google Ads – the new micro-advertising economy

6. Facebbook, social networking and the music business

Building upon the knowledge and understanding gained in Principles of Marketing, you will be analysing how marketing is also evolving in the new media landscape.

The third and final aspect of the unit provides you with an opportunity to explore in practice ways to infiltrate online communities for advertising and brand communication purposes. As part of this you will learn how to develop your own blog, produce a website and design an advert referencing your website. Case studies-based workshops will introduce you to popular sowftare packakes like Flash and Dreamweaver, widely used in digital communications, and show you how to use them in the context of advertising and branding. Working collaboratively you will employ one of the Web 2.0 services to generate creative concepts using some of the new advertising options shown in class.

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