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There can, of course, be many opinions on this subject -- people will look at it from many different angles. I'll take a political look at the question.
I would say that the changes in technology have reduced the role of the traditional media in today's society. In the old days, the way things worked was that the three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) did all the TV news and people got much of their information from those sources.
Nowadays, there are so many different news sources. You have various cable channels and many internet news and analysis outlets. The major impact of this is that people no longer listen to the same news sources. Mostly, you have liberals listening to liberal sources and conservatives to conservative sources.
This helps make our society more polarized because people from different sides of the political spectrum don't even get their news from the same place anymore so they have no common ground.
I don't think we know. There are some things that I think we need to consider. First of all, it used to be difficult to find information, so we often had to make decisions on what information we could find. Today there is so much information that we don't know what to believe; I'm not sure our final situation is any better than the first. Of course, if you're willing to put out the effort to check sources, you probably can make better use of all the information that is available today, but it's difficult to find the time for that (presuming you have the skill). Information is not knowledge; I think we often forget this.
There's also the "isolating" factor that comes with technology. A survey came out this weekend that states that students (not sure which age group) spend an average of 7+ hours/day involved with technology of different kinds (TV, Internet, Cell phone, MP3 player). Some of these seem to bring people together (Facebook/My Space), but these are not face to face interactions. People seem unable to spend time on their own, and need to listen to music and chat with friends (phone/computer) to fill their time. Because I learned to treasure "quiet time" where you think about ideas and yourself, I am concerned with anything that takes this important time away. I'm sure not everyone feels this way.
And, of course, there's always the question of who controls the technology that brings us the information. Animal Farm, 1984, Brave New World, and many other dystopian novels all paint a frightening picture of what happens when we think we're getting the free flow of information but are really getting what "people" want us to hear.
I guess it could go either ways; there are many things to like, and many things to be concerned about.
With more jobs being done by machines and computers, and with more people working from home, I'd agree that isolation is an increasing phenomenon. If you think about the movie The Matrix, it is also a kind of dystopian vision, but the idea of people's bodies being attached to machines to feed them energy is a hyperbolic statement about how connected we are to machines ourselves. If everything is available via computers: work, play, shopping, etc., it is theoretically unnecessary to talk face to face. Some people spend the majority of their time on computers to the point that it becomes their medium to reality. So, we trade convenience for isolation.
And going along with the other posts, the access to all kinds of information and differing branches of the media is wonderful in that you have access to so much information, but it is also overwhelming; and with biased news outlets, there is a tendency for those on the political left and right to exclusively watch those mediums. There's the added problem of reliability, so I think people still tend to get news from traditional sources (NBC, ABC, New York Times, etc. ) even if it is over the computer instead of television or print.
If people sought to use technology for more than convenience (i.e, sharing information) then we can't lose. Blogs give citizens an outlet to actually voice their opinions: they won't get the kind of exposure a cable news anchor would, but here is an example where technology has democratized the media.
Different approaches can be offered on this matter. I think one of the most fascinating implications offered here could be the very idea that the media itself has become transformed by technology. The emergence of online mediums for news, blogging as news, as well as receiving breaking and immediate news via text have all made news much more responsive to speed. This has helped to decrease the reliance on printed news medium and embrace a more "real time" news venue. This has given birth to the 24 hour news network and has helped to make the media more influential in coverage. Errors and gaffes now have to be relived for a longer news cycle than before, and each news event has many more arenas through which it can be filtered before its cycle has ended. We saw this over this past summer. The gunman at the Holocaust museum in Washington displaced the Iranian Protesters. Both of these events ended up being displaced by Farah Fawcett's death for about six hours, until Michael Jackson's death displaced hers. Each news event was run through an entire news cycle on blogs, cable news, and social networking sites. I think this is due to an increase in technology and people's access to it.
Changing technology seems to erase culture in the same way that the more money one has, the less dependent they feel towards one culture. Technology can erase racial barriers, as it does not matter what the race of a person is if you are communication with them on a discussion board.
In today's world news move much faster than decades ago. This is due to the modern technology . The amount of information and visual aggression have increased because of the competition between media companies.
We are used to up to the minute, around the clock, instantaneous news, available at the push of a button or the click of a mouse. Anything less than instant is unacceptable. So media has less chance to be refined and responsible, not to mention accurate. There is intense competition to be both the first to report news and the most entertaining. This has made us less discriminating in where we get our information from and whether or not we believe it.
The reason that technology affects culture and society so much is because of change. Technological breakthroughs are happening every day. It is very difficult to keep up with. When one technology is mastered it seems that a new and better one has come out. It can be exhausting.
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