Some of you may not be aware that I recently enrolled in the Communications@Syracuse program to get my Master of Science in Communications. One of the first courses I am taking for this online program is Intro to Digital Communications. We’ll be learning about the “evolving nature of digital communications,” while also discussing current issues facing our digital culture, among other topics.
In week 1, our class discussed digital convergence and the advantages and disadvantages that have come from this converging of media. Essentially, how has the technology of today affected how we live our lives. The simplest example of digital convergence is that our smartphones, tablets, and computers now allow us to listen to music, view directions, read articles and newspapers, take pictures and record video, watch TV shows and movies, take notes, use the calculator, and play games all on one device. Before the digital age, you would most likely have one device or medium for each of those activities.
Many of the advantages I think of in real life in the form of a question about the past: “How did a group of people go to a music festival or Mardi Gras and not lose each other within 20 minutes?” (My mom says she and her friends would link arms when walking down Bourbon during MG, and if one person needs to use the bathroom, then everyone needs to.)
Other advantages are the speed information becomes available, the opportunity we all have to be content creators and have a voice (you are reading my blog after all), and an increased feeling of safety.
Disadvantages discussed included the need to fact check more often, because the individual social creator isn’t answering to any editor or boss. Additionally, accuracy can drop. Think about when breaking news occurs. The first reports come out on Twitter. Similar reports surface. Then, it always seems a report surfaces disputing part of the original story. Thus, unfortunately we must always be somewhat wary of early reports.
This was my first class of two (the other is multimedia storytelling), and I’m excited to learn more about the changing landscape of digital communications. More good news and info to come.