Truly, technology cannot be talked about without mention of the internet and social networking sites. Using communication as a mediator of the two, here are the phenomenological theories that we may reject, already be aware of, or completely oblivious to. From theory to page, here presented are the 10 Characteristics of Technology.
Ubiquity is the state or capacity of being everywhere. Because of the power of technology, we have access to google docs, iCloud and dropbox anytime. These applications help a lot in the lives of students such as us because distance is no longer a problem. Through the use of google docs, we have transcended the bounds of space. A single document can now be editted by everyone from different places all at the same time. Ideas can be shared, projects can be done, files can be rewritten and no one has to leave their homes because the document is accessible anywhere. iCloud and Dropbox are available for everyone to store their files in and all they have to do to access it is open their account online wherever that may be.
With the onset of lightning-speed information sharing, everyone who has access to information is given the right to share his/her opinion about it. As such, even trivial things such as a high-ranking official smoking can easily be projected as a big scoop depending on how the surge of public opinions go.
Issues are magnified: by the media, by internet posts, and by individual people. A single picture posted online can become a matter of public debate and government concern – citing animal rights as an example. There had been many instances when animal maltreatment videos were found on facebook and began eliciting rage and harsh comments from the public; after which, the issue reaches the animal welfare agencies of the government and even of private organizations.
It is true that modern-day technology and communication possess the double-edged power of both building up and destroying a personality or a reputation – a simple wrongdoing can be magnified infinitely to the point that it can already be seen as a crime; on the flipside, acts of kindness such as the heroism of people during calamities are also honored and admired through the power of social networking sites.
The way the communication dynamic is used is very vital to the well-being of a known personality, for instance. Images of projection and perception are seen in such a way that their minutest details are zoomed in and magnified that every flaw is noticed and criticized – or every good aspect is praised and admired.
Ever since the internet started, people were able to access any information and communicate with other people. With the help of technology, information can be found just by typing into a search engine. Online magazine, e-books and other references can be found all over the internet. Old people keep saying how lucky the kids of today because back then, they need to spend hours in the library for research. Life has really been made easier.
Connecting with other people has also never been easier. Computers can have softwares that enable people to chat with others all over the world. Since smartphones are gaining popularity, people can install applications like Viber, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to connect and show what is happening in their lives. Some of these sites also help diminish the invisible barrier between celebrities and ordinary people. People can now see what a celebrity does in a daily basis because they post it on the internet. In other words, people can now legally stalk celebrities or even other people.
Legally stalking another person is one of the disadvantages of having accessibility to almost everything. The internet cause security risks and harder to protect people’s privacy. Also, this information may be accessible but not to everybody. Only those who can afford the technology can have access to the infinite information on the internet. As time progresses, more people are having opportunities to access the cyberworld.
Modern day technology gave rise to the quick reproduction and distribution of messages and data – and communication is no exception to this inseparable aspect of advancement.
In the medieval ages, printing was an expensive activity, and this was the reason why only the rich can afford to have books and amass knowledge from them. However, with the dawn of the portable printing press and the industrial age, production went on faster and by volume. Thus, information began to spread more quickly in the pages of printed books.
Two centuries later, books are almost leaving the arena of what can be considered the “information age.” Nowadays, people rely more on electronic copies of these books for their references for the added portability and ease of use. Information need not take a physical form – it was all in the virtual and electronic configuration.
With this advancement brought about by technological innovations, information can easily be reproduced and distributed – with no cost at all most of the time. Examples of this wildfire spreading of information are websites, blogs, videos online, among others. Communication seems to be an activity that is repeated over and over again and in various forms – most especially as an electronic activity – which is classified as a mediated-quasi type of communication in communication theory.
Considering the virtualistic aspect of modern-day communication, it is a dynamic which has become transcendent of physical forms. Communication takes place in the virtual world, a world that can be seen as either an extension or an entirely separate one from the physical world. In this virtuality lies the quick reproducibility of information which makes it easier for people to share and participate in the flow of knowledge at present.
5. Lack of Accountability/ Disposability
It is normal for our generation today to have accounts on social networking sites where we can post short statuses, pictures, videos, etc. With the amount of content that flows in to these sites and the instantness of sharing content, posts can be easily covered up with new stuff. As an effect, some people tend to express themselves in a “disposable” way. The characteristic of networking sites which focuses on the present such as Twitter and Instagram adds up to the cause of this behavior. People think it is okay to post something funny, wacky, and even embarrassing content on their account knowing that this has no lasting effect.
Because of technology, we are no longer contrained to time. We do whatever we want whenever we want to. Malls have developed their own website that allows their customers to shop even after mall hours. Employees no longer have to go to the bank itself to get their money because of ATM. Some banks even have online websites where with a click of a finger, their customers can transfer their money. Students don’t have to go to the library during the day to research and do their assignments because of the internet.
These innovations have enabled people to have control over their own time.
Over the years, it is becoming a “small world after all”. The world seems to be shrinking, but not literally. Technology has given access to anything or anywhere in the world at a click of the button. People can now communicate with foreigners without having to go through an airport security scanner. The internet has now remove those boundaries and allow people to talk using video chat applications and other social networking sites. It is amazing how we can talk to people from the other side of the world without moving an inch. Besides social networking sites, information about happening in other countries are available in the internet. An example is the recent Yolanda storm that happened in the Philippines. With the help of the internet, other countries are informed of what happened and were able to send their aid. Families that are temporarily separated by distances were also able to know what’s happening back in their hometown because of technology.
But this kind of interaction will never be the same as physical interaction. Talking face-to-face has a different effect and it would never be replaced by seeing loved ones or friends on a screen. Still, being able to communicate is better than nothing at all. In a way, technology erases miles of separation and still connects people.
Activity logs. Account history. Interaction notifications. Screencaps. Cookies and tracking software. Scandals. From the mundane to the extreme, it cannot be denied that technology nowadays especially with the help of social networking sites thrive on the surveillance, recording, and preservation of information in this other-worldly space.
Yes, technology has invented way to keep track of itself, and with its boundless storage of data, this could spiral out of control. Now, while this can mean a good thing, if we are not careful, it can be used for worse things. Our responsibility, then, being internet users, is, from our end, not to supply any such information that could be potentially incriminating. On the other hand, it is up to us whether to support this kind of culture, of upholding this surveillance mentality on others. This speaks quite relatably to technology, and how science is used for good purposes or otherwise.
And so the question arises. As users, what do we share to others, and what do we leave alone? Do we save, do we printscreen, do we share, do we record? And if so, what?
9. Shifting of relationships
Technological advancements have paved the way for a more interconnected social landscape. Centuries ago, an idea needed months to be transported from one continent to another in a very tedious and risky ordeal. Now, a person from Brazil can communicate and idea to a friend in Hong Kong in a matter of seconds via facebook chat. This ability has ushered in a new era; presence need not be physical, mobilization need not be locomotive. Ideas can shape societies the world over at an exponential speed, and it even changes the way people relate to each other.
Heightened communication provides an avenue by which dialogue can occur between and among people, making apparent the concept of globalization coined as the “flattening of the world”. Humans are very social beings, and this interconnectedness has molded people’s attitudes towards one another in a way that was not necessarily so glaring in previous generations.
10. Illusion of Precision
Nowadays, with the rise of information sharing not just within social networking sites (retweeting, sharing, liking, reblogging, favourite-ing –call it what you may –) but also across platforms (a site always having options to transfer to another social networking site), it is easy for the same pieces of information and similar articles on a particular subject to be ‘floating’ around and volleyed, to and fro, among internet users.
Couple that with articles consisting of superficial details, and sometimes even inaccurate information, probably due to the decreasing attention span of internet users and a more fast-paced system, there seems to be a false sense of precision with regard to the level of reliability of information. Being bombarded with these repetitive often-superficial opinions and takes on a particular subject/trend, it is easy to see this among younger internet users.
With political issues here and there and each hot media topic onto the next, how extensively do people write about, talk about and express their opinions about such things? Are we really getting the kernel, the seed of the whole issue, or do we content ourselves with the trappings and the outside layers?
Let’s take one illustration. The RH bill debate, which has become widespread some time ago, spurred such internet activity that almost everyone had something to say. But how many, would one suppose, have actually read the bill? How many, would one suppose, have blasted their comments so loudly, having read only one or two articles about it? Furthermore, how many have experienced the arrogant, naive, dismissive tone of the uneducated comments about it, which seems to care only on rallying other people to their side? It is this illusion, that the little we actually know and get from social networking sites is sufficient enough (while it could be informative), that is pulling down the knowledge bar in the information pool. Despite the unlimited space of social networking sites and the internet, let us not add to the sheer volume of information. Rather, let us improve on the quality of it.
And so, with these characteristics of technology focused on social networking sites and the internet phenomenon, shedding light on itself cannot but shed light on us as well, its makers and users. Having been thrown into this new knowledge (or probably not so new at all), how do we change, mold, and use it for better purposes? Do we change anything at all? Or do we simply allow this to take shape however it does, and hope that it does not become too late if we regret not having done anything about it?
Exconde, Jana; Gomez, Reena; Magdaluyo, Krissa; Obang, Kier; Que, Patricia; Sanchez, Arion; Sevilla, Storm
*Characteristics taken from Communications 12: Information Society Class