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Increasing use of smartphones, especially by young people.

Digitality (also known as digitalism[1]) is used to mean the condition of living in a digital culture, derived from Nicholas Negroponte's book Being Digital[2] in analogy with modernity and post-modernity.


Aspects of digitality include near continuous contact with other people through cell phones,[1] near instantaneous access to information through the World Wide Web, third wave information storage (where any fragment in a text can be searched and used for categorization, such as through search engine Google), and communicating through weblogs and email.[3]

Some of the negative aspects of digitality include computer viruses and spam.[4]

With the rapidly growing technology, children at increasingly younger ages are learning to speak through the cyber world rather than in face-to-face conversation. They are becoming more digitally literate and creating a new culture in which they communicate more efficiently online than they do in person.[5]


In the 1990s, literature of the effects of interactivity with information began to be written and published, particularly focused on the immediacy and ubiquity of digital communications , and the interactivity and participatory nature of digital media.[6] While in the tradition of Postmodernism in that they presume a decisive role for media in the formation of personality, culture and social order,[7] they differ fundamentally from the analog critical theory, in that the audience has the ability to do more than create a personal idiolectic text, but instead is able to create new texts which reinforce the behavior of other participants.[8] This made it possible to individuals to express themselves through interactivity of digital media.

Many works have been written outlining the fear of digitality. In the 1990s, the realization of digitality caused many artists to visualize and fear a future where analog would become completely extinct. They viewed digitalization as a deletion of the past.[9]

Although the computer was originally created to complete large scale computations, it ultimately progressed into a processing machine that could retrieve and interpret information very quickly. The first personal computer was first introduced by Ed Roberts in 1975 and this sparked the introduction of other "personal computers".[10] As technology continued to advance, more and more intelligent computers were coming to light with stronger processing power and wider range of utilities. This new age of technology lead to the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 which revolutionized the modern world. With the introduction of this World Wide Web people were able to more commonly access a data pool online with a trove of information. This information is now easily accessible from a Smartphone which can connect people from anywhere at any time.

In the 21st century[edit]

Digital technology plays an important role in 21st century life. In the United States, nearly two-thirds of people own smartphones.[11] Using social networking services and online forums, people are able to communicate with other users, regardless of geographic region or time constraints. The rise of this type of interaction partly explains the significant increase in phone use in younger people, and mobile technology is mainly used for the purposes of communication.[12] Digitalism is also slowly replacing many forms of physical aids, such as print encyclopedias and dictionaries, with people turning to newer technology for various needs.[13] In his book, Nicholas Negroponte explains how necessities in the future will be digitized. For example, a large proportion of mass media (including newspapers and magazines) are becoming digitized,[14] and a large percentage of financial transactions made in the United States are being made without the physical exchange of money (e.g. online).

Computation is frequently discussed in debates on digitality. Modern theorists are now choosing to focus more on our relation to computers rather than the computers themselves as an important element of digitality.[15]

Social media[edit]

Social media are computer generated tools that allow for people to convey their thoughts, ideas, or interests through digital communities or networks. Social media are online platforms for human interactions with local and global reach designed to circulate information. These platforms support social interactions and give rise to a complex interplay between communication, social practices, and technological infrastructure.[16] This makes it so that everything is connected in real-time, and with these connections, people, information, data and events are instantly and globally spread. This allows for platforms like Twitter to be a media medium where there is an intersection of media and social interaction.[16] Social media is different from social networks but is commonly looked at as the same which makes differentiating them harder. Social media is just that, media. Just like television and ads, social media has a great potential for business and marketing opportunities where companies can formulate custom promotions geared for specific audiences.


Digitality in the 2000s has had a great impact in the world of education. The internet creates an abundance easily accessible and globally diverse resources.[17] The digitization of textbooks and other written texts reduces the demand for the print versions.[18] A vast majority of books now come with digital version of the text that allows for easier access from anywhere. This applies for scholarly textbooks, religious texts, books, and other texts that would normally have to be found in physical form. Digitalism has also made it so that children are now presented with electronic knowledge at a very early age, resulting in the increased implementation of electronics in school systems (for example in electronic learning, mobile learning, and blended learning). Students and academics alike have adopted social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging platforms to expand the horizons for learning.[19]

Intercultural communication[edit]

Intercultural communication is an important part of globalization. In the past intercultural communication was made difficult because of the distance separating different cultures. However, with modern-day technology and digitality, it is becoming increasingly possible to interact and learn about other cultures in an environment where people can openly speak. This interaction allows for people to compare and reflect upon both their own and different cultures.[20] The internet creates platforms and forums where people from different backgrounds can develop intercultural communication skills and gain a cross-cultural abundance of knowledge. With the digitality of religious texts and cultural meetings, it is increasingly feasible to be submerged in a culture or religion without the need to travel to the source.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bowen, Jonathan P.; Giannini, Tula (2013). Ng, Kia; Bowen, Jonathan P.; McDaid, Sarah (eds.). "Digitalism: The New Realism?". Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC). British Computer Society. pp. 324–331. doi:10.14236/ewic/eva2014.38. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Negroponte, Nicholas (1995). Being Digital. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 255. ISBN 978-0-679-43919-6.
  3. ^ Franklin, Seb. “Control.” MIT Press, 3 Sept. 2015,
  4. ^ Shelly, Gary B., and Misty E. Vermaat. Discovering Computers 2010: Living in a Digital World. 1 ed., Boston, MA, Course Technology Press, 2009.e
  5. ^ Buckingham, David (2007). "Digital Media Literacies: Rethinking Media Education in the Age of the Internet". Research in Comparative and International Education. 2: 43–55. doi:10.2304/rcie.2007.2.1.43. S2CID 51995385.
  6. ^ Hershman, Lynn. "The Fantasy Beyond Control." Illuminating Video: An Essentail Guide to Video Art, 1990
  7. ^ Bignell, Jonathan. Post Modern Media Culture. Akaar Books, 2000.
  8. ^ Landow, George P. Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization. 3rd ed., Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.
  9. ^ Swanstrom, Lisa. “External Memory Drives: Deletion and Digitality in Agrippa (A Book of The Dead).” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 43, no. 1, 2016, p. 14., doi:10.5621/sciefictstud.43.1.0014.
  10. ^ Henderson, Harry. Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. CRC Press, 2003.
  11. ^ Aaron Smith (April 1, 2015). "U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015". Pew Research Center. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  12. ^ Amanda Lenhart (August 19, 2009). "Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years: Pew Internet Looks Back". Pew Research Center. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  13. ^ Philip Evans; Thomas Wurster (December 5, 2000). "How Encyclopædia Britannica Was Blown To Bits". Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy. Capitalism Magazine. Harvard Business Review Press. ISBN 978-0875848778. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  14. ^ Annette Ehrhardt; Lisa Jäger; Christoph Röttgen. "Just how digital are newspapers and magazines today? A global perspective" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  15. ^ Boast, Robin. The Machine in the Ghost: Digitality and its Consequences. Reaktion Books Ltd, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Miguel del Fresno García; Alan J. Daly; Sagrario Segado Sánchez-Cabezudo (3 May 2016). "'Identifying the new Influences in the Internet Era: Social Media and Social Network Analysis". Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociologicas 153.[permanent dead link] (Login required.)
  17. ^ Jason Epstein (July 5, 2001). "Reading: The Digital Future". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  18. ^ Jonathan Band (November 21, 2013). "The Changing Textbook Industry". Disruptive Competition Project. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  19. ^ Vimala Balakrishnan; Chin Lay Gan (2 May 2016). "Students' learning styles and their effects on the use of social media technology for learning". Telematics and Informatics 33.3.
  20. ^ "EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page". Retrieved July 2, 2017.[permanent dead link]


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  • Franklin, Seb. “Control.” MIT Press, 3 Sept. 2015,
  • Swanstrom, Lisa. “External Memory Drives: Deletion and Digitality in Agrippa (A Book of The Dead).” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 43, no. 1, 2016, p. 14., doi:10.5621/sciefictstud.43.1.0014.
  • Anna Stenport, Garrett Traylor, and Scott MacKenzie. "Action, Avatar, Ecology, and Empire: Databases, Digitality, Death, and Gaming in Werner Herzog's Arctic." Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, no. 2, 2016, p. 45. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5749/movingimage.16.2.0045.
  • LANDSBERG, ALISON. "Virtual Memory: Time-Based Art and the Dream of Digitality." Critical Inquiry, vol. 43, no. 1, Oct. 2016, pp. 215–216. EBSCOhost,
  • Buckingham, David. “Digital Media Literacies: Rethinking Media Education in the Age of the Internet.” Research in Comparative and International Education, vol. 2, no. 1, 1 Nov. 2007, pp. 43–55., doi:10.2304/rcie.2007.2.1.43.
  • Shelly, Gary B., and Misty E. Vermaat. Discovering Computers 2010: Living in a Digital World. 1 ed., Boston, MA, Course Technology Press, 2009.
  • Hershman, Lynn. "The Fantasy Beyond Control." Illuminating Vdeo: An Essentail Guide to Video Art, 1990.
  • Bignell, Jonathan. Post Modern Media Culture. Akaar Books, 2000.
  • Landow, George P. Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization. 3rd ed., Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.