Saturday, 12 March 2011

H807: Week 5 Reflections

Responses to questions posed about communication technology for Week 5:

Are such technologies finding new ways of conducting behaviours that were already in operation, or are they promoting new types of behaviour?

My view is that initially, technologies provided more convenient ways of conducting behaviours that were already in operation. This is particularly the case with communication technologies, as mobile phones made it easier to contact others and be contacted, emails provided an instantaneous replacement for letters, and so on. However, over time this has evolved, particularly with the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, which have facilitated networked communications. Consequently, individuals and organisations are adjusting the ways in which they connect with others as a direct result of the technologies available.

Are the technologies used uniformly, or do different communities use the same technology in different ways?

I don't think the technologies are used uniformly across different communities. The term 'different communities' here could refer to different generations, different localities, different cultures, different organisations and so on. The technologies are used for different purposes and in different ways. Facebook and Twitter might be used by one 'community' for fun and entertainment, by another for educational purposes and by another as a business tool.

Are internet technologies different in any respects from other technologies?

As mentioned above, the big difference with the internet (particularly since Web 2.0) is the almost unlimited potential for networks. This means that communication is not dependent on time or location, and the exchange of information is subject to virtually no boundaries.

Can you think of an example when a technology has changed your behaviour?

For many years I persevered with a paper diary, even long after I had access to a digital diary in packages such as Microsoft Outlook. I always wanted the security of having my appointments written down in a single place. This all changed when the University introduced a Microsoft Exchange server and I bought a smartphone capable of synchronising with the server. Overnight my paper diary was ditched and all my appointments were transferred to Outlook, but the great thing is that I have access to my diary wherever I am, via my phone. I can also add appointments on my phone and I think it is a genuinely beneficial technology.

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