Saturday, September 26, 2009

How The Digital World Has Changed The Real World

The world has gotten faster. No it still takes 365 days to make a year and 24 hours in a day, but new technologies have enabled data to reach us faster than ever before. It is that pace that is quickening. From letters that needed days to be sent to electronic mail that is received in seconds to instant messages that are received in moments, information is transmitted and shared instantaneously. We are no longer a wired world, but untethered and allowed to roam free with wireless all around. Where once we had to wait till 9 PM for our movie to start, today it is not only accessible at the moment but is of our choosing and not scheduled by someone else. And we have come to expect this. In fact our children only understand this type of world; it is unfathomable when they go to Grandma's house and they can't pause the TV.

And it is a good thing, speed, accessibility, choice, instant communication, and constant connection: E-mail, IM, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, VOD, DVR, etc. In a way we are all like children demanding instant gratification, an "I want it now" philosophy. But has it hurt us as a society? Have we also gotten short-tempered and without patience, unable to wait our turn? And has that led to a lack of manners because we are always in a hurry and need our answers sooner rather than later. And thus we have Congressmen shouting out "You Lie" to our President during a televised speech. We have become ruder and less patient with drivers slower than us. On the other hand, this instant communication has also enabled Amber Alert, to quickly get news of a child's abduction into the public and help rescue children. It has brought many other good things, too.

Like any change in an environment, it comes with both good and bad results. In this changing entertainment landscape, let's appreciate the good that comes from the digital age, from convergence, speed, and instant flow of information, but let's also be conscious of our actions with others. Sometimes a more personal direct connection is better than an e-mail or IM. Despite the urgency and shortcuts, let's still find our patience when dealing with others and don't just let the speed of life pass us by; instead, remember to stop and smell the roses.

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