In the book New Media Art, Mark Tribe and Reena Jana named several themes that contemporary new media art addresses, including computer art, collaboration, identity, appropriation, open sourcing,telepresence, surveillance, corporate parody, as well as intervention and hacktivism. (Tribe, Mark; Jana, Reena (2007-02-22). "New Media Art - Introduction". New Media Art. Taschen/Brown. Retrieved 2007-11-29.)
Non-linearity can be seen as an important topic to new media art by artists like Bill Viola who explores the term as an approach to looking at varying forms of digital projects. This is a key concept since people acquired the notion that they were conditioned to view everything in a linear and clear-cut fashion. Now, art is stepping out of that form and allowing for people to build their own experiences with the piece. People always ask, "What is the difference between non-linearity and randomness?" Non-linearity describes a project that has freedom with certain parameters, whereas randomness has freedom and no boundaries whatsoever. Non-linear art usually requires the participation of an audience to reveal its non-linearity while random art, more-or-less, acts on its own. When looking at Public Secrets, one can see this piece as non-linear due to ideas stressed by people like Viola. In doing so, viewers can understand another theme in the many forms of new media art. The participatory aspect of new media art, which for some artists has become integral, emerged from Allan Kaprow's 'Happenings'.
The inter-connectivity and interactivity of the internet, as well as the fight between corporate interests, governmental interests, and public interests that gave birth to the web today, fascinate and inspire a lot of current New Media Art.
Many new media art projects also work with themes like politics and social consciousness, allowing for social activism through the interactive nature of the media. Some examples include Sharon Daniel's Public Secrets, a site that shows oppression and struggles behind the prison system in America; Applied Autonomy's Terminal Air, a site that demonstrates the practices of United States Central Intelligence Agency's extraordinary rendition program; Beyondmedia Education, a non-profit organization that collaborates with under-served women, youth, and communities to create and distribute media arts on social justice topics including gender violence and school safety; and Michael Mandiberg's The Oil Standard, a Firefox plugin that shows all prices of online products in the cost of barrels of crude oil.