The Digital Dilema - Adapting to Technology


The contemporary person uses technology throughout their daily routines and it should be noted that without this technology the world would not be able to survive. New types of media have enabled us to become

connected easier and in combination with other technologies, making it easier to complete everyday tasks. The convergence of different technologies has been present throughout history but has just recently been speeding up and reshaping “the landscape of the mass media”. (Hurst & Harrison, 2007, p. 188) Despite this we encounter digital dilemmas and problems such as the age gap between generations and the need to adapt to the new technology used. If we think dialectically we can understand the processes of historical development in relation to the new media and the technologies (Hurst & Harrison, 2007, p. 16). By doing this we can explain the relevance and use of memes that can be transferred through different ideologies that different societies hold. The idea of ‘political economy’ shows how the media does not just contain the content or the way we view it, but who owns and dictates what we watch. Political economy can explain how the media is a multinational Industry rather than just a source of information and entertainment. The way in which technology develops, is a product of the need for society to improve on current systems. This links back with convergence which creates a dialectical change creating new technologies. (Hurst & Harrison, 2007, p. 75) Each of these ideas combine to show what makes new media and the use of further elaboration will help to prove this.

One of the most common digital dilemmas that individuals experience is the inability to use new and emerging technologies. The internet age gap has proven a problem for most families including mine, where the parents are unable to cope with the emerging problems related to the internet such as pornography and sexual predators. “A lot of parents feel helpless about what to do, so that makes it hard to acknowledge a problem for their own child” (Ohler, 2007) and this is related to “the enormous Internet “technology gap” between parents and their children”. (Ohler, 2007) The problem is that the parents do not understand how to use the internet or how it can contain such harmful devices. Until now, parents have not known or understood these underlying problems, until now where they are starting to emerge thanks to groups such as ‘the internet and your child’ (Child, 2005) whose aim is to educate parents of these dangers. With this comes the dialectic dilemma where we see our security and our own children’s’ wellbeing compromised. The internet has brought us many amazing things; education, connectivity, ease of access to information and with that it has brought; pornography, illegal music, sexual predators that pray on children. The internet has been part of a memetic structure in which we have changed from different technologies over time. One part of the internet; news coverage has continued from other sources such as newspapers, magazines and the daily news on the television. From the period when people had to read the papers to see what was happening around the world, we can now use the internet, this is a meme that will continue to develop through time.

When discussing the topic of political economy in the mass media it should be noted that the mass media is not just a source of entertainment but also a multinational Industry. An example of how corporations and large conglomerates generate large amounts of revenue through the media is ‘Time Warner’ an American company that generated $29.3 billion in the year of 2004. (Croteau & Hoynes, 2005, p. 75) In order for these companies to achieve these results, they must employ specialist tactics such as collaborative audience research. Where they send research representatives to survey consumers in order to find out what the people want to see and who wants to see it, changing their stations or form of media to suit the audience. This then moves into the next point of how the mass media corporations are able to control what we see and what we don’t see. Simple ideologies are also implemented through the information produced; memes such as the development of reality television shows, we all know what ‘idol’ is when someone mentions it, of course referring to Australian/American idol a nationwide singing competition. It can be seen that the mass media can create a sense of hegemony by using “subversive memes of ideology” (Hurst & Harrison, 2007, p. 52) and developing distances between certain groups or class structures.

Technology is “An object, or system of connected objects that can be used in a productive process to provide a practical solution to a problem”. (Hurst & Harrison, 2007, p. 58) This is the basic definition of what technology is, an object or system that has been created for a purpose of solving a problem. Technology is not just for creating solutions to problems, but to maybe further advance the way that we communicate, receive information and learn new things. Technology is created and reinvented over and over; changing constantly to advance in the amount of knowledge and skills we have as a society. From that we know that, advancements in technology and the creation of new technology is a result of “people socially interacting with new ideas and technologies – not the technologies, that has been decisive in forcing the pace of change”. (p. 58) The ability to listen to music has evolved significantly in the last century, but taken substantial steps in the last decade with the creation of digital media. Moving from the Phonograph to the iPod is a great advancement in technology using this as an example we can see how music has become more portable and easier to access. The iPod and other devices are becoming part of a large convergence where all digital media is being turned into one machine improving efficiency.
“‘New’ technologies are not new; technological development and technological change have been part of the human experience since the beginning”. (Hurst & Harrison, 2007, p. 75) Over time we have frequently developed our technologies and media, constantly reinventing them. Digital dilemmas will always exist when creating new technologies, but will be overcome when solutions are found in new technology. We can see that “the positive and negative aspects of technology are dialectically aligned and can be found in nearly all digital commodities”. The new media is a constant evolution of ideas and technologies that will keep improving over time.

References
child, T. i. (2005). The internet and your child. Retrieved August 19, 2007, from http://www.theinternetandyourchild.org/
Croteau, D., & Hoynes, W. (2005). The new media giants. In W. H. David Croteau, The Business of Media: Corporate Media and the Public Interest (p. 75). Pine Forge Press.
Hurst, M., & Harrison, J. (2007). Communication and the new media. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ohler, S. (2007). The internet age gap. Retrieved August 19, 2007, from Canada: http://www.canada.com/topics/technology/story.html?id=ed4a8b9f-2a4e-41c5-bc7b-05fec06ff77e

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