Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Digital Technologies in Communication

When it comes to the thoughts of Nancy Baym,

I think that her theories are pointed in the right direction. She has seen first hand the way in which the digital age has transformed society. She quotes a lot of respectable people in both chapter one and two. One of which that stuck was in the very beginning of chapter one. She states, "We may be physically present in one space, yet mentally and emotionally engaged elsewhere" (p. 2). This quote is completely relatable especially for the generation in which me and my fellow peers live in. I think that the internet has taken over most of our lives and it is seen in every day interaction. There are plenty of examples, such as me going in starbucks to get a coffee, while looking at my phone, answering a text message and switching over to Facebook to finish a chat that I had started at home. I used to fight with my boyfriend because neither one of us could watch even a movie together without having to grab our phone or check our Facebook. The internet is literally morphing us into tech savvy people (which yes I think is a good thing, but as with anything in life there is also a draw back).
Baym does a really good job of looking at all aspects of our digital age and technologies. She realizes that there are both positives and negatives to what has happened in the past, present and what will even happen in the future. She talks about how there is both synchronous communication and asynchronous communication. Synchronous being face-to-face communication and asynchronous being multiple forms of anything but face-to-face. But whats important to note is that asynchronous communication is spreading like wildfire in this day and age and people are becoming less and less used to physical interaction. This may be bad for face-to-face communication but it also promotes more tasks to be done (such as jobs) and ways for people to constantly stay connected.
Baym also looks at the factors of what kind of people use new media. She finds that three main things matter when it comes to this. First education, she explains how a majority of the population are illiterate, something that would immediately stop an internet user, due to everything being visual. Next she talks about location and how more than half of the world doesn't even use internet, let alone know how to. And finally she talks about sex, and how males are more dominant when it comes to the use of the internet (p. 10).

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