In this report I will discuss the impact of electronic information on individuals and society. I am going to talk about how the ways people access information has changed and how new technologies have played a part in this. Firstly I will talk about how increased availability of electronic information has changed mine and my family’s daily lives. Then I'll consider how this has affected the older generation, in particular, the elderly. After that, I’ll explore some of the ways organisations these days communicate with individuals and society, and finally I'll talk about people who do not have access or don't want to have access to the internet and the possible consequences of this. Over the past few years the amount of information I receive from paper-based information sources has decreased dramatically while electronic information is becoming more and more significant to mine, and my family’s daily lives. On a daily basis I access many different types of electronic information such as text messages, internet and television. All these things have a huge impact on me and my family. For example, if I want to meet a friend, first of all I text them to find out if they’re at home and are not busy, while not so long ago when I didn't have a mobile phone I would go to their house and find out if they were at home, which isn’t very time efficient. Another example of how increased availability of electronic information has changed my life is the way I find the information I need. Not so long ago I was searching for information I need in paper-based sources such as books, newspapers and magazines. While now I mostly use the internet, and a search engine such as Google for searching for information. But the problem with search engines is that you have to be very accurate and know exactly what kind of information you want to find, otherwise you may not find what you need or not exactly the kind of information you need. I sometimes also watch the television; television provides light entertainment, education and information. It means that I can be kept up to date with what is going on in the world by watching the news, or alternatively can be kept amused. In the rapidly aging population, the elderly are called upon to adapt to new technology and the demands of modern society. It is widely accepted that elder individuals show low adjustment to new technologies compared to younger generations, either because they do not have the technological experience or because of their current health status. At their effort to use new technologies, they usually face many difficulties related to the complexity of new technology. Other contributing factors for this low adjustment to new technologies are the lack of incentives, economical obstacles, digital skills and appropriate training. A commonly held view is that the market is not currently investing enough on innovations for the elder users, such as comprehensive and user-friendly services for healthier living conditions. In addition, many products and services often are not appropriate to the needs of elder users, exacerbating the sense of frustration and leading to dependence on other people. The main sources of information for the elderly are the internet, thematic television channels and magazines. In their effort to take greater responsibility for their personal health, physical status and independent living conditions, the elderly users need to be more informed through the use of these sources. Technology may involve the use of most simple everyday electrical appliances (TV, kitchen, vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, etc.) or other more complex machines (ATMs, PCs, mobile phones etc.) This widely accepted use of new technology by the elderly population has a beneficial effect on their quality of life. More and more organizations are equipping the use websites to advertise themselves. When an organization has a website, they suddenly have a home base for the messages their customers have to share with everyone. They can take that to the next level by branching out and allowing their customers to sign up to be on an e-mail list on their website. They can then send potential customers updates for the latest deals, blog posts, and more. Although e-mail is a valuable communication tool, its widespread use in academic and business settings has introduced some new challenges for some people. I believe every business needs to use technology to gain competitive advantage. In today’s world, time and efficiency are very essential factors in business growth, so if you want your business to survive in this technologically demanding century, you will need to use technology. The type of technology used in business varies, as they do not all have the same needs of technology; it can be used for communication, manufacturing, packaging, quality control, record keeping, accounting, human resource management, data security, decision making, used to improve customer service, business marketing and promotion and more. Because it is a relatively new form of communication, basic social conventions for writing and responding to e-mail are still being worked out. Miscommunication can easily occur when people have different expectations about the e-mails that they send and receive. In addition, e-mail is used for many different purposes, including contacting friends, communicating with professors and supervisors, requesting information, and applying for jobs, internships, and scholarships. Depending on your purposes, the messages you send will differ in their formality, intended audience, and desired outcome.
The individuals who do not have access to the internet, do not know how to use it, or simply do not want to use it are being deprived of the benefits, social opportunities, and time saving methods the internet provides. This further segregates certain groups of society. For example, most uneducated people probably do not have access to the internet, and if they did, they would not be able to use it as efficiently as more educated people. The internet has changed the way we live, interact with others, and go about our daily lives. Social interaction no longer relies on physical location, which has many implications that sociologists are interested in studying. As a relatively new invention, we have yet to see the full implications and effects that the internet has on societies around the world. This opens up an entirely new and exciting field within sociology and it will be interesting to see where it takes us.