Communication, Technology and Culture

Communication, technology and culture are three words that can be considered very different yet very similar at the same time. What is more important is the impact each of those ideas can have on the other, whether negative or positive. Web 2.0 presents a perfect example of how communication, technology and culture can be affected both negatively and positively. Today’s blog entry will examine precisely that: how Web 2.0 affects communication, technology and culture. Communication has changed rapidly in the last decade alone, but even more so in the last few years specifically.

Web 2.0 has nearly replaced numerous communication techniques of the past. “Snail mail” as it is now known has been overshadowed by social networking and instant messaging, the home phone has become obsolete thanks to video chat and Skype. Some negative aspects a serious change like this could bring include weakened personal relationships. Since we are no longer taking the time to sit down and write a good friend a letter or call our mothers one could argue that Web 2.0 is diminishing us as relational beings. On the other hand, one could argue that Web 2.0 increases our communication with others because of the various outlets that allow us to communicate.  Additionally these platforms such as Facebook or Twitter essentially allow us to always be connected thanks to smart phones and tablets. It is technologies like Facebook and Twitter that allow us to communicate and there are many other technologies influenced by Web 2.0 that have both positive and negative aspects.

Even ten years ago, there were only a handful of bright minds who could accurately predict the future of technology. At this point it would’ve been unthinkable to have the world linked together online through social networking sites. Technological changes that have allowed this to occur have changed the world forever, both negatively and positively. In the positive sense, as shown in various political protests such as Occupy Toronto or the protests in Egypt, social media can be used as a tool to organize and assemble. Additionally, the same movements used social media as a personal news outlet. Both movements could alerts interested followers of updates at the click of a button before big news stations were even aware. Although this presents a major positive of the rapid growth of technology the same statement could represent a key negative aspect as well. The problem raised is the validity of the content released through social media. In journalism, numerous fact checks must be done before releasing a story and is often written objectively. Social media remains extremely subjective and untrustworthy. It is technology like this that is changing not only the role of journalism, but the culture of society as well.

Nowadays almost everyone can be considered a ‘pirate’ or a DJ, these are just two small examples of how Web 2.0 has affected our culture. Gone are the days of simple copyright laws and purchasing CD’s. Instead users download endlessly for minimal cost to themselves and serious profit loss to the entertainment industry. Additionally, users have been remixing content to the extreme thanks to new technology that makes doing so simple for even the most casual Internet user. We have also become very reliant on technologies like Web 2.0. Instead of remembering things we Google them, instead of calling someone we Skype them and instead of writing to someone we write on their Facebook wall. The real question we must ask ourselves is, are we becoming less human due to this rapid change of communication, technology and culture?


(insert computerized robot voice)

Have We Turned Into Something Worse?

– Ian McDougald


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