Friday, 3 February 2012

Is Media Effecting Careers?

In the conclusion of Nancy K. Baym’s book “Personal Connections in The Digital Age” she suggests a thought that crosses everyone’s mind when introduced to new technology: “what they do to us, and whether it is good or bad”.(109, Baym) Of course this question is necessary. We are always searching for things that will improve our generation, and I wonder if this desire is pushing our acceleration into overdrive. Nancy also touches on a similar comment I made in my last blog about us being socially incompetent in reality, therefore making us socially powerful online. She foreshadows the concerns we have now, for lack of face to face conversations, and impersonal relationships with even our families. I fear that these concerns are so obvious today that we are about to struggle in many aspects of our lives, especially in our careers.
This class is part of the Media Studies program at Guelph-Humber, and although social networking has been a vastly expanding tool for our future jobs, I believe it is also damaging our field. Part of the course is journalism; this entails social skills, the ability to act comfortably around people, and perform interviews. Public relations suffer similarly in respect to event planning, and public speaking. If we cannot maintain the skills of personal communication (talking, striking up conversations, asking questioning etc.) where can we expect to gain the insight needed for news coverage? I don’t think journalism in drowning, in fact I think it’s thriving, language, and conversation will never die regardless of the medium. The issue I can see is that print media is declining. The internet has no doubt taken control of the majority of news coverage, it is fast and easily changed which coincides well with the fast paced, ever changing world we live in. When something newsworthy happens we are no longer hearing about days later, but with digital media it is instantaneous.
Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message" under a century ago. His quote still holds true today, I think what he meant was the medium is more significant then the content it provides. If we compare that view to the internet then that means people have expectations of this medium: to have endless amounts of information and to have it all immediately.

Seven Ky Concepts

Baym also strikes a discussion worthy topic about seven aspects of affordances which digital media offer. Which is the most important of the seven key concepts (interactivity, temporal structure, social cues, storage, replicability, reach, or mobility) in shaping our communication in a positive, negative, or mutual way?
Interactivity is an interesting topic, it is the way in which all aspects of media work, and how they have multiple abilities. When the telephone was introduced for example it was one machine, created for one purpose. No wonder we are hesitant at the thought of a “cell” phone that will allow us to not only make the calls as a usual telephone but to also text, check Facebook, get directions, etc. The challenge with interactivity is that it may not be influencing us a positive direction. There are multiple usages for multiple technologies, but we are taking for granted the connectivity, something such as the internet, is providing us with and instead using it for (as Baym suggests) shopping for shoes. This is where the topic gets tough, are we advancing in technology for the greater knowledge? Or are we rather advancing for the greater leisure experience?

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