The Digital Era

March 7, 2012

Me + Internet

As I sit here trying not to procrastinate about writing, I decided that surfing the web be a good idea for inspiration. My idea of surfing was watching all the episodes of the Voice on Nbc.com that I missed. I stopped by Cbs.com to see if they have uploaded any of the CSI series. Disappointed that nothing has changed in the last hour, I ventured into the news to see what is happening around the world. The sites I went to included yahoo.com, bbc.co.uk, and news from Malawi at Nyasatimes.com.

Feeling lazy about opening another window on my computer to check my Facebook, I got on my phone to “see” (I should probably say “stalk”) what my friends and family been up to in the last hour. I thought about going on to Pinterest to gather ideas about decoration for my house or maybe some new recipes to add.  Since I had the app on my phone, but decided it would be best to get this show on the road.

The Question

All this was done in a time when I am supposed to be concentrating on the big question of how has the internet affect communication?

Personally, I don’t pay for cable television nor do I have any subscription to newspaper or magazine but I do have access to the internet 24 hours/7 days a week. Not trying to be ironic but looking at my internet active shows how far we as a society have come with the internet. 

I would consider the internet as modern day equivalency of the electric loom machine was for industrial revolution. We, as society, are in the process of moving ourselves into the digital revolution. The internet has changed every aspect of our lives.  It has changed the movement of how we connect, interact and react. The bonus of all this, is that the internet has also expedited the way we talk. The magic word is “Instant”.

William Dutton writes in his article Fifth Estate Joins the Fourth in Push for Freedom of Expression and the Press that Internet users in Britain view the network as being more essential as a source of information than television or newspaper.  

Communication

Now comes the fun part of explaining what the definition of communication is. The Oxford English Dictionary defines communication as:

Communication, n. Pronunciation: Brit. /kəˌmjuːnᵻˈkeɪʃn/ , U.S. /kəˌmjunəˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/

  • Senses relating to affinity or association.
  • The transmission or exchange of information, knowledge, or ideas, by means of speech, writing, mechanical or electronic media, etc.; (occas.) an instance of this.

Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss wrote in Theories of Human Communication, Ninth Edition defining what communication is:

“Theodore Clevenger Jr. noted that “the continuing problem in defining communication for scholarly or scientific purposes stems from the fact that the verb ‘to communicate’ is well established in the common lexicon and therefore is not easily captured for scientific use. Indeed, it is one of the most overworked terms in the English language. Communication [is] the transmission of information. Here information is transmitted, but it is not necessarily received or understood.” Pg. 3

So communication is the exchange of information, and when looking how the internet has changed this for society. We developed social sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter in which we now can discuss ideas, knowledge. Newspapers and Television have had to transform the way they communicate with community and their viewers.

Jeff Jarvis wrote an article titled News as a Service to be Sustained Rather than a Product to be Sold. In it, Jarvis explains that:

“Journalism is a service, a process, an organizing principle. It helps organize a community’s knowledge so that a better informed society can accomplish the goal it set for itself. They no longer need to be all things to all people. They can link to specialized coverage that is better than what they could have afforded to offer themselves.”

Television stations are not a just a TV station any more, they do more. When you go to Kwch.com, you will find that they shoot video for their stories but hey are photographers and writers as well.

Impact

Clay Shirky writes in his book Cognitive Surplus: How Technology makes Consumers into Collaborators that young populations with access to fast, interactive media are shifting their behavior way from that presupposed pure consumption.

Before the internet, there was a linear way communication occurred in media. For example newspapers, a reporter would go out and gather information. The business manager would go to businesses and they would buy ad space. At the end of the business day, reporters would write the news while the ads were organized to. At midnight, the press would start running and the newspaper was printed, shipped and ready to be consumed.

The internet has changed all this. The Wichita Eagle now publishes stories as they can get them. Stories designed to cater to their print and website. When they get a story they don’t hold it as they use to. The release the story and slowly build until they receive all the information.  Newspapers across the world have realized that news is constantly moving. Like a river, information is doesn’t stop.

I believe in my generation I will be a dying breed who actually enjoy reading the print version of a newspapers. Jarvis writes that if current trend line continue, the last American paper will be published in 2043 (or sooner perhaps).  This isn’t had to see when looking at the State of the News Media 2011 reported the following:

    • In this last year, online audience increased by 17.1%.
    • 41% of Americans cited the internet as the place where they got “most of their news about national and international issues”.
    • 47% of Americans now say they get some kind of local news on mobile devices such as cellphones or wireless devices.
    • For the first time, more money was spent on online advertising than on print newspaper advertising.
    • Online advertising overall grew 13.9% to $25.8 billion in 2010 according to data from eMarketer.

The communication through the internet is rapidly growing. Money is moving the same direction which means that businesses have realized the power of what the internet can provide.

Jonathan Gardner writes an article title 5 Huge Digital Marketing Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore on mashable.com. Gardner explains what businesses need to look into for their digital marketing. The internet has impacted how businesses advertise their product. The internet has created a huge shift in how marketing and advertising works. Companies like Mercedes Benz, have embraced different type way of communicating with their public.

The beauty of the internet that it is constantly evolving and growing, with sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Pinterest developed to allow their uses to create, share and get feedback on any idea, knowledge or experience.

The Answer

So the biggest impact of the internet is that my voice is communicating with the global community.

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