Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yours, Mine & Ours:The Future is in Our Hands!

I remember when mobile phones first came out, thinking that my older sister was carrying around what resembled to me as a brick. It was big enough to be a brick, it certainly looked like a brick and it was just as heavy as a brick. Throughout the years though, I noticed that the capabilities, functions and aesthetics of this telecommunications device started to change.Initially I just attributed it to the evolution of technology but not once did I consider that it was the users driving this technology.

Technology options have been multiplying rapidly - consumer preferences are rendering some styles of communication more important than others. Because as needs emerge, users scrounge around and find something, tools and technologies emerge, and people figure out how to use them (Lohr, 2003). Citrix research found that consumers are driving the Corporate IT agenda, with half of the firms seeing effective web applications more and more useful in consumer life (Citrix, 2007).

Although, back when the internet was first established, users were unable to create and produce their own material, contributing to the material making up the World Wide Web, but as consumers needs shifted - technology changed to adapt accordingly.

Everyone has heard the song Video killed the Radio star, but is it accurate to say that new technology changed the focus of the old? Or is it more the point that consumers killed the radio star, because as our needs changed, so did the focus of our attention.

The fact that developments in communications media technologies have, throughout history, led to major changes in the way societies operate comes as no surprise to most people. It is not difficult to see that the invention and widespread introduction of the internet has had a lasting effect on the way people communicate and conduct business. But developments in communications technologies also have unforeseen effects that challenge pre-existing social orders.

For a start, the uses to which they are eventually put are often vastly different to those intended by the developers of the initial technology. For example, who could have predicted that internet would become forums for lonely hearts allowing consumers to interact with people on the other side of the world, without leaving home? While their primary use is still access of information, the range of uses to which the internet can be used for are continually widening, particularly when combined with other technological developments. As well, many of the effects of communications technologies are indirect.

Using the same example, the internet have removed the need for family members to live close to each other to remain in contact and allow companies to conduct their business from outside the central business district. Except in price, internet access does not differentiate between someone in the next street and someone on the other side of the world. With the introduction of the internet and other communications media, enables individuals to distance themselves imaginatively from their immediate circumstances and inclines them to take an interest in matters that do not bear directly on their day-to-day lives.


Citrix Research, (2007), Consumers driving corporate IT agenda, accessed, May 3rd, 2008

Hitwise, An Experian Company (2007), Internet Breaks down geographic legacies, accessed May 3rd, 2008

Lohr, S. (2003), Technology & Media: New Economy; markets shaped by consumers, The New York Times access May 3rd, 2008

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