Impact of New Media on Society - Smartphones

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Impact of New Media on Society: Smartphones
The term ‘new media’ is one that is constantly evolving, and on a daily basis, encompassing more as well as newer and innovative elements in it. In the broadest sense, it is the opposite of ‘traditional media’, which includes print, television and film, and radio. According to New Media Basics, new media is essentially interactive, and it includes a host of communication mechanisms that revolve around the internet, and include elements such as e-mail, social networks, websites, blogs, online videos and pictures etc. And new media also includes new media devices and technologies such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, i-pods, and a host of other devices, which also includes smartphones, the main emphasis of this paper.

New media tools have enabled increased collaboration between people across the world, and has thus accelerated the pace and reach of globalization. It has allowed an unparalleled connectivity with widespread information, and most significantly, it has allowed for creativity, inventions and inno vations, as well as entrepreneurship.

This paper will focus on the impact of smartphones on society, focusing on the education, business, health and government sectors, as well as on an individual’s personal life. It will weigh the argument from multiple sides, with the support of theories put forth by specialists and theorists within this realm. The IBM Simon, released in 1993, was the first ever ‘smartphone’ known to man. This propelled Nokia and Ericsson into the creation of their own superior versions, the ‘Communicator’ and GS88 respectively. It was in 2002 when the smartphones as we know them came into being with the Pocket PC, Palm OS and most significantly, the first Blackberry 5810. It was after this point that smartphones began to flood the market, with Apple’s I-Phone line, the Google Android, the Motorola Droids, HTC’s, and the Samsung line of smartphones.

Smartphones have had a dizzying and echoing impact on society, with its effects being felt in nearly every aspect of life. In regards to reach and richness, no doubt it is wide spread, and rich in content, options, accessibility etc. According to Colin Dean Murphy of University 
of
KwaZulu‐Natal South Africa, it has been statistically proven that mobile phones are the most widespread and predominant ICT’s (Information and Communications Technology) of this day and age. For starters, “they are generally cheaper than computers, offer mobility, and are densely converged platforms.” And most importantly Murphy states, that this has led to ‘globalized convergence’. It has supported and significantly enhanced links to global networks.

Smartphones have enabled constant connectivity, which one could argue is also allowed by computers, but what distinguishes the smartphone from a laptop or desktop, is the factor of mobility. Mobile phones enabled connectivity between people via phone calls and text messages, however smartphones have disrupted this, as they have allowed connectivity that is almost unparalleled. It has allowed people to interact on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, with all of these creating applications for the multiple smartphones out there. This does not only allow for enhanced communication but has enabled people to, for example via Facebook, to ‘check in’ and thus publically state their current location, allowing for others to physically access them more easily; it has also enabled

people to share precious moments such as holidays, graduations, holidays, a baby’s first steps etc. with their friends and family as soon as the picture is snapped with the smartphones cameras. It has brought about ease and efficiency in the workplace, and have allowed for employees, employers and coworkers to constantly be accessible officially via e-mail for instance, and important documents and information can be exchanged constantly. The browsers are available just as they are on a laptop...
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