Kolton's ideas, thoughts and opinions

06 Feb

NCT: Twitter and Tear Gas

The first chapter in the book Twitter and Tear Gas by Zeynep Tufekci essentially breaks down how fast the world of communication is changing around us and how that affects our day-to-day interactions with the media and also with each other. He uses this to connect new communication technologies to community, self worth and social issues. He achieves that by comparing new communication technologies to older communication like newspapers and radios and by looking at examples of how new communication technologies affected protests, attacks and world news coverage.

The book opens up by talking about the author’s grandma who was born during the first World War and how starkly different the way that she grew up was. The grandma didn’t even know what her birthday was, something almost unfathomable in today’s society. The author also went on to talk about how because of this way of growing up, and this initial interaction with communication technology the grandma valued certain things way more than people of the new generations do. The author cited one newspaper article that they made it in, something the grandma cherished, something that almost made her cry just thinking about it and he didn’t get it.

When you compare things that used to be big deals in older times, like making your local newspaper, compared to what is valued in New Communication technology today it almost seems apples to oranges. When people have facebook, twitter and Instagram accounts that can get hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people following every single one of their posts could get them the notoriety, the sense of self worth, people used to receive in the newspaper.

While this may sound bad to someone like me who may be heading into the newspaper business, it can also be a positive. The author also points out that in this new system a creator has more individual control than ever before. Through the internet creators can cut out or minimize the impact of larger corporations, but still get their message out there and maybe more importantly creators are able to build their own brand without having to rely on the big money investments needed for television or radio.

The other thing this chapter talks about is how these new communication technologies have shrunk the world. Now all it takes to video chat with a person from across the world all you need is a solid internet connection and a smart-phone. This tech along with things like email have made it where no distance can separate people and this has made a fairly large impact on language as now there are less and less dialects as the world shrinks. This process can be called unification.

This shrinking of the world has also increased the rate at which the world progresses. In the 1600’-1990’s most of the information that was shared (architecture, science etc..) was done so through newspapers so it would take time for the information to be shared across the world. Now the world’s smartest minds are actively working together, bouncing ideas and honestly copying each others ideas at such a rate that it is increasing the speed at which stuff, like new communication technologies, are progressing.

This shrinking of the world has also created an increased sense and care of issues around the world. Earlier people could only find out about world issues was if their local newspaper or TV station covered the issue. Now anyone with a smartphone can document what’s going on (protest, terror attack) they can share it instantly and share it globally on things like Twitter. This is where the author thinks the internet and new communication technologies can make its’ biggest impact.

As the author focuses on this impact of new communication technologies he also looks at how they can also give people a sense of hope, belonging and community. And this is why we share these things online and why we are so willing to try to get involved when we see stuff like riots, protests or anything on social media.

One other thing that Zeynep Tufekci compares in this first chapter is how new communication technologies differently impacts certain nations. We covered how it can be positive and negative for those in countries with free speech like the USA, but in countries where the government tries to control its’ people new communication technologies have proved to be big problems. New communication technologies provide a voice to those that governments want voiceless and this is a problem that has gotten much larger since the development of the internet.

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