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New Media - Essay Example

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Today, the new media is at a critical juncture as new technologies are introduced, which, in turn are radically altering the ways in which society communicates. Ideally, this phenomenon is supposed to be a positive development. The emergence of new technologies such as the…
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New Media
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Download file to see previous pages With all the praises heaped on the ability of the Internet to empower people, the facts tell us a different story. In 1999, an investigation by the United Nations Development Program found that only 2.5% of the world’s population was connected to the Internet and approximately one quarter of the digitally connected in the world resided in one country – the United States. (cited in Buckingham & Willett 2006, p. 252) More recently, sobering global statistics report have been published by the International Telecommunications Union that of the 141 million Internet hosts across the globe, 106.2 are in the United States and a mere 0.274 million in Africa. (p. 252)
Furthermore, while the new media, particularly in the area of information technology, provides us enabling benefits, it is important to underscore that technological developments are themselves shaped by socially bound perceptions of the needs, interests, and purposes that technology serves. According to Judy Wajcman, “technology is always a form of social knowledge, practices and products. It is the result of conflicts and compromises, the outcomes of which depend primarily on the distribution of power and resources between different groups in society. (cited in Goggin & Newell 2003, p. 3) The growing primacy of commercial motivations for the Internet over access is a case in point. The information superhighway, write James Everett Katz and Ronald E. Rice, is little more than a new medium for corporate American to control and profit from. They argued that the principle behind the national information infrastructure was grounded in privatization and commercialization. (p. 24) Here, access to information is no longer a central presumption of human needs essential to citizenship; rather, consumer interests have become the fundamental requirement in order for the evaluation of the performance of social systems. The technologies that are tagged with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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