They say change is inevitable and nothing is constant. In fact the only constant thing is change itself. In the last two decades, the world has witnessed tremendous advancements in media and technology. This change is a continuous process that is still ongoing up to the present day. The rate at which advances and developments occur is very rapid such that one thing can be cutting edge today, and a year after, it looks obsolete.
In the early to mid-90s, we witnessed the rise of commercialized media. Television was no longer about news and shows. Adverts became more common. Companies and organizations found an effective way of marketing their products and services through television and radio adverts. The promotion of events and shows became more intense. Media houses were able to rake in a lot of revenue through adverts and promotions. In fact this method became the primary way of raising revenue for media houses. Journalists captured information through video cameras that used magnetic tapes for data storage. They also captured audio messages through recorders that used cassettes. Apart from television, newspapers were an equally important source of information. In fact newspaper articles offered more detailed information than news channels.
The World Wide Web also gained prominence in the mid to late 90s. Interconnection of computers enabled the sending and receiving of information over vast geographic locations. Websites were simple interfaces that lacked flash content that is nowadays ubiquitous all across the internet. Internet access was quite limited and was more of a luxury. People did not have much use for the internet as they relied more on other forms of media and technology at the time.
The 2000s ushered in the dot com era. Use of the internet started gaining momentum. Access to online resources became much easier and cheaper. The number of websites grew tremendously and emails became the primary method of sending messages over long distances. It replaced the postal method of sending letters. Emails provided both convenience and cost reduction in communication. Furthermore, they enabled instant delivery of messages to the recipient. Businesses began selling services and products through online platforms. This ushered in the rise of e-commerce whereby transactions could be carried out over the internet through the use of credit and debit cards (Jarvenpaa, & Todd 59-88). The mobile phone revolutionized communications the world over. People were now able to call and text each other without having to use a fixed line.
Fast forward to the mid-2000s, social media took the world by storm. Facebook, twitter and Myspace are some of the platforms that arose at that time. People could connect with each other all over the world. They were now able to share pictures, stories and experiences across the various social networks. The rise of high speed broadband enabled the quick and easy transfer of information. It also enabled the sharing of large files through peer networks. Instant messaging platforms arose. They are commonly known as chat applications. People were now able to communicate with each other in real-time (Ohmori, Yamao & Nakajima 134-142).
Online flash enabled the streaming of videos and live television over the internet. This is known as IPTV or Internet protocol television. Social media began to slowly replace news channels as a primary source of information. This is because when an event is posted on a social site, it goes viral in a matter of seconds. Media houses begun integrating social media in their communication whereby civilians could be able to report situations as they happen. People no longer have to wait for media crews to arrive at a scene. The smartphone revolution led to the availability of phones that are virtually small computers that fit in pockets. They allow their users gain access to a plethora of applications that enhance utility and productivity. Coupled with fast internet connectivity, they enable instant access to information anywhere at any time.
The rise of modern technology has greatly enhanced modern life. However, challenges also arise from it. This involves cybercrime and the propagation of terrorism. The threat of robots taking over human jobs is now a major concern. A complex situation is thus created regarding the future of technology and the general welfare of humanity (Nytimes.com).
Jarvenpaa, S. L., & Todd, P. A. (1996). Consumer reactions to electronic shopping on the World Wide Web. International journal of electronic commerce, 1(2), 59-88.
Nytimes.com, "People, Not Technology, Advance Change - Nytimes.Com". N. p., 2016. Web. 29 Feb. 2016
Ohmori, Shingo, Yasushi Yamao, and Nobuo Nakajima. "The future generations of mobile communications based on broadband access technologies." Communications Magazine, IEEE 38.12 (2000): 134-142.
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