The past decade has been a time of exciting, and rapid, change in the media industries. Many people today can hardly imagine a time without their PDA, cell phone, and DSL. These advances have brought us together, and tore us apart from each other and our communities.
These strides in technology have allowed us to do wonderful, groundbreaking things. Today, one can make a CD on their computer, put it into their DVD player, listen to that music through their surround sound system, and watch a “visualization” (colorful patterns) on the TV. Or for instance, one can take a picture with their cell phone, send it via email to a friend, and that friend can their print it with a laser printer. It is amazing how so many forms of technology are coming together to create a highly interactive lifestyle for all of us.
Today you can do virtually anything with the internet. You can order a pizza, pay bills, chat with friends, or watch a movie over the information super highway. However, where has this left our sense of community? Nonexistent. It has taken us out of everyday life and allowed us to sit at home and be anti-social. Some people have even purposely used the internet for that reason.
They will email instead of call or go in person, work from home, or shop online to avoid talking to cashiers and salespeople. The internet was intended to connect people, but it may be contributing to the decline of personal relationships in everyday life. However, cell phones have taken a step in the other direction, connecting us anywhere, at anytime. Some might argue the same about email, because it connects people from different countries and cultures across the globe.
Although some advances have furthered us from each other, for the most part people use technology to make their lives easier, so they will have more time to spend in “real” life with their families and friends, not in chat rooms with strangers. Chat rooms and messages boards will never come close to being a community because the emotional ties that bind communities are not present.
Hopefully, in the future technology will still serve as a way to create time for more hands-on, “real” life experiences. However, given the current climate compared to ten years ago, it is safe to say that more aspects of everyday life may “go digital”. All this has to do with is how we look at technology and its place in our lives. If we take it as an aid, there will be hope for the modern idea of community as a tangible, not digital, thing.