Digitality (also known as digitalism) is used to mean the condition of living in a digital culture, derived from Nicholas Negroponte's book Being Digital in analogy with modernity and post-modernity.
Aspects of digitality include near continuous contact with other people through cell phones, 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. Some of the negative aspects of digitality include computer viruses and spam.
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.
In the 1990s, scholarship of the effects of interactivity with information began to be written and published, particularly focused on the immediacy and ubiquity of digital communications, the interactivity and participatory nature of digital media, and the role of "shallow" information searches. While in the tradition of Postmodernism in that they presume a decisive role for media in the formation of personality, culture and social order, 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. This made it possible to individuals to express themselves through interactivity of digital media.
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". 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
Digital technology plays an important role in 21st century life. In the United States, nearly two-thirds of people own smartphones. 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. 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. 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, and a large percentage of financial transactions made in the United States are being made without the physical exchange of money (e.g. online).
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. 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. 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. The digitization of textbooks and other written texts reduces the demand for the print versions. 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.
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. 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.
- Critical theory
- Digital philosophy
- Information age
- Media influence
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