Discussion Post: Computer Mediated Communication
Reference- Van Dijk, J. (2012). The network society (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
I. The textbook describes several societal values that computer-mediated communications are affecting (and will continue to affect), including social equality, safety, quantity and quality of social relationships, and the richness of the human mind. Give examples, both positive and negative, from your own personal or professional life of how computer-mediated communications such as email and social networking can affect each of this values. Overall, do you think computer-mediated communications are a benefit to society or a threat? What suggestions can you offer to minimize the negative aspects of computer-mediated communications while preserving or increasing the positive aspects?
II. According to the textbook, computer-mediated communications do not reinforce oral, written (printed), musical, or non-verbal skills--the very skills that have historically been associated with scholarship, innovation, and creativity. To what extent do you think computer-mediated communications may, or are, causing these vital skills to decrease in populations who use computer-mediated communications most heavily? What compensations, if any, do computer-mediated communications offer? Give as many concrete examples as possible to illustrate and support your views.
III. Although computer-mediated communications are often examined from the standpoint of consumption and entertainment, they also affect politics and elections, education, and the labor market--both in the U.S. and around the world. Share concrete examples, both positive and negative, of how computer-mediated communications can or do affect the political process, education, and work. To what extent do the examples change if the people affected do not live in the U.S. or another developed country? If they are not wealthy enough to afford reliable access to computer-mediated communications? If they do not have the education necessary to be able to participate in the online job market?
IV. In its infancy, the Internet was often described as "leveling the playing field" in terms of content production and consumption. Rather than newspaper and book publishers, radio and television stations, and movie studios controlling the information people see (and how this information is presented), the Internet was "free" -- anyone, theoretically, could post and access any information desired.
And yet the information we see today is still controlled; it's just controlled by different companies--and at a level of granularity unheard of just a few generations ago. Today, according to the Pew Research Center, over 45% of all Americans get at least some of their news from Facebook. And accessing information through the Google search engine is so common that the verb google" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary over a decade ago.
Discuss the effects of consolidating access to information from many publishers and media outlets to just two or three. What effects might this have on democracy? On education? To what extent do you think most people understand that the information they see on Facebook, Google, or other popular sites is managed or controlled? How do you think this perception changes how people view or use the information they obtain through these sites?
V. The textbook notes that "the rich are getting richer" with regard to the Internet; that is, social and informational inequality is rising, not lessening, due to computer-mediated communications.
What proof does the textbook author provide to support this statement? To what extent do you believe the statement to be true? Give concrete examples to support your view, and suggest at least one change you believe would increase the benefits the Internet provides to those "poor in resources."
The response should include a reference list. Double-space, using Times New Roman 12 pnt font, one-inch margins, and APA style of writing and citations.