Communication in the Digital Age

Topics: Facebook, Social network service, MySpace Pages: 6 (2147 words) Published: April 2, 2013
Survival of the fittest is the core of the Darwinian theory. This theory not only holds true in our environment but applies to our culture as well. As a society, we utilize technology daily whether it be a laptop, iPod, cell phone, or navigation system. We have seen different forms of all of the above recycled, improved and reused. As our society evolves, more technologies are created to enhance existing forms communication. Past developments are used as a platform for new innovations that help us to function better and more productively. In his book, “Orality and Literacy”, Walter J. Ong exemplifies the way in which new mediums reinforce and transform the old. Through the transgression from oral culture to literate cultures, he explains that you can have orality without writing, but you cannot have writing with out orality. The rise of new technologies and fall of older technologies throughout history reveal a pattern supporting Ong’s theory that the technology, which is most likely to meet the needs of society is most likely to survive. Ong emphasizes the shift from oral cultures to literate cultures to show how newer technologies are built from older ones. One of Ong’s examples is that the invention of printing was made to reinforce and imitate the act and structure of writing. The invention of print was the greatest accomplishment since literacy, its functions surpassed those of writing and were extremely beneficial, especially for businesses tending to the consumer. Not only did print increase accuracy and productivity while minimizing errors, it also transformed the duplication process from being tedious and time consuming to quick and efficient. Although Ong presents printing as the newest and most innovative technology of his time, it is considered dated and a thing of the past in today’s culture. Paper is frequently used in our society but has lost much of its purpose with the advent of newer technologies that reduce their use of paper. The e-book, an electronic version of a book, provides readers with an alternative. Rather than reading from an ordinary book composed of pages of text, the e-book offers a digital version of the book that can be accessed electronically. This new form of reading can be accessed using a computer, or tablet, minimizes the resources being used, but increases productivity. E-books simplify tasks that are typically more involved through its use of the Internet. For the convenience of the consumer, e-books incorporate special features that enable readers to look up the definition of words as well as the ability to shop online through their devices. Because e-books are not completely integrated into our culture, they use imitation as a tool to familiarize readers with the product. The action of turning a page is mimicked by the e-book which requires readers to swipe their finger through the pages to turn them. Although the ordinary book still survives, decreasing book sales and the closing of mom and pop bookstores indicate that the end is near. Ong explains that literacy was created as a solution to the limitations of the human mind and its ability to retain information. Similar to the way that the mind does not have the space to store information, our society has run into a problem with the immense amount of paper needed to document and keep track of things. Not only has the production of paper become extremely wasteful and hazardous to our environment, it also presents a tremendous problem in terms of storage space. The computer has revolutionized the way we live, store information and process such information. Paper has been a useful tool for documentation yet there are bigger problems that come along with it. Paper can be easily destroyed, lost and difficult to sort through without proper organization. The computer has solved such issues with its advances in databases that can hold and sort through any type of information all while keeping it safe. The...
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