Does more equal better?
With each advancement in computer technology comes more equipment, more power, more ports, more screen, more wires, more wireless, more connections, more manuals, more choices. And more experts telling us that the more technology we have the more we can do, the more we can stay in contact, the more people we can reach, the more we are in control. This only leads me to ask more questions, “Will more technology improve our relationships as individuals, as a society, as a world? Will more technology lead to better communications?”
As a marketing consultant, I could not design a 128-page catalog for print, build a company website, distribute news releases with hi-res photo attachments, or create a multimedia presentation without using today’s constantly improving computer technology. With my trusted partner, the pc, and a suite of professional software tools, I am a one-man band who can play like a symphony. And I am just one of thousands, millions across the globe who can achieve similar feats with the power of today’s digital technology. So yes, more technology can create better communications using a wide range of media to reach, and satisfy the needs of, different audiences.
What works for the individual, will it work for the masses?
With all this power, with our individual ability to create huge amounts of high-end content, as well as respond to content created by others – individuals, corporations and media organizations – we are at a turning point in human history unrealized until today. The well worn phrase, “we are all connected’, is true. The computer and its faithful companion, the worldwide web, give us unprecedented access, at least in theory, to potentially anyone on the planet (provided they have a computer, an internet connection, and the money to pay for both). Again the answer is yes, more technology gives us the opportunity to improve our relationships near and far, and in business and in our personal lives.
With more technology, we are able to talk with the person in the next office, the next state, in any country across the ocean and around the world. And because millions, one day billions, of us can talk to one other, we are building new digital communities through blogs and forums where we share our thoughts, our passions, our collective intelligence. As a group of like-minded individuals linked together through today’s technology, we have the power to directly communicate with, question, challenge and force change on those institutions that seek to control us.
Politicians and corporate executives, once able to retreat to their inner sanctums, are now under constant scrutiny by the ever vigilant digital public. Media conglomerates, which once dominated print and the airwaves, can no longer dictate what is news, nor can they spin a story as easily as before. Digital domination by one group does not exist. There is a system of checks and balances. Imagine that, another well worn phrase, “ the truth shall set you free”, just might be true after all.
We have more power to do good, but will we use it?
This new relationship with the world’s power brokers does not have to be confrontational. Rather, by opening a dialog with each other, we can appreciate another point of view, another’s research and experience and thus make media a more collaborative and enjoyable (and maybe even believable) experience.
Because of this shifting paradigm, we can have an ongoing conversation, a dialog that constantly changes, thus creating a reason to revisit a site, read another print article, pick up a daily paper at the newsstand or purchase a product or service with the confidence that it will perform as advertised.
On a person-to-person level, we can use more technology to become more intimately acquainted. We can learn from one another. Using the power of technology, we can create a new model for a better world. I’m optimistic. And I want more…
Jenkins, H. (2006). Introduction: “Worship at the alter of convergence” (pp. 1-24). Convergence Culture. New York: NYU Press.
Felton, E. (2004). Rip, mix, burn, sue: Technology, politics, and the fight to control digital media. Princeton University President’s Lecture Series, no. 1.