Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Exploitation of workers

It was Karl Marx (1818-1883) who first noted that if a rich minority owned the farmland, factories and other means of production that the majority needed to use in their working for a living, then the rich would tend to increase their own wealth by paying poverty wages to the majority working for them. This worker exploitation poverty has certainly affected some societies.
An additional aspect of worker exploitation poverty also noted by Karl Marx is the exploitation by rich countries of poor countries. So governments and business in Europe and America often pay poverty prices for goods or services produced for them by poor countries in Asia and other regions. This may help reduce poverty in the rich countries, possibly only by increasing poverty in poor countries? http://world-poverty.org/exploitationpoverty.aspx

My presentation examines the exploitation of workers in poor countries by rich countries. The example I have drawn from is the manufacturing of clothes. 60% of clothing is made in developing countries, with China producing 13% of the Global supply.
These clothes could not be produced, distributed and consumed without being part of a bigger interconnected network. It is large companies in Western countries that are contracting factories in these developing countries. They claim that they are not directly culpable for the running of the sweatshops, but they are contributing to exploitative labour practises.

Employees of factories making clothes for George at Asda, Tesco and Primark said their wages were so low that, despite working up to 84-hour weeks, they struggled to provide for their families. There were also reports of physical and verbal abuse by supervisors and of workers being sacked for taking sick leave. All three retailers have signed up to the Ethical Trade Initiative, a voluntary code of conduct which sets out basic rights for employees, including a working week of no more 48 hours, voluntary overtime not exceeding 12 hours a week, and payment of a "living wage". They say they are doing their best to improve workers' rights. However, one factory owner told the Guardian buyers gave him little choice but to keep wages low. He said: "Buyers who come to Bangladesh tell us, 'we are businessmen, we want to make money. If we see cheaper prices in China we will go there'."
Take the case of South Korea and Taiwan as an example, in the 1970’s, these two countries gained new freedom and wages began to rise, so the companies headed to greener pastures and found them in Indonesia, China and most recently Vietnam. Countries were protective laws are poorly enforced and cheap labour is abundant. www.laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/walmart-campaign/news/11274

Another example of a company exploiting workers in these factories is Nike, they say they are not responsible for the conditions in the factories or the wages because they are in the business of marketing shoes, not making them, but Nike dictates the terms to the contractor, the design, the materials and the price. Companies like Nike have tried to avoid responsibility for factory conditions by saying they were ‘just the buyer’. The anti-sweatshop movement has made this excuse unacceptable and forced the retailers, who are after all, the ones who make the biggest profit, to take responsibility for the workers who make their product.
They have made attempts to change the situation due to public pressure. In 1999 Nike raised wages for Indonesian factory workers but it was still a far cry from a living wage. Nike still has a long way to go to meet anti-sweatshop movements, there is a call for companies to pay a living wage, allow independent monitoring in all factories and ensure that workers have the right to organize into independent unions.

Countless reports show the overseas workers to be underpaid, malnourished, and often physically and emotionally abused. Although Nike contends that they are paying above Indonesian minimum wage, the $2.36 a day workers earn is not even enough to buy three simple meals, estimated at $2.10. That's not even considering the minimum $6.00 a month rent, clothing, and hygienic products every worker needs. These miserable working conditions and exploitative wages seem especially shocking considering that Nike is one of the richest corporations in the world. http://www.nikewages.org./ http://spot.colorado.edu/shortk/nike.html

Stop Western multinationals and companies exploiting third world countries' workers. War on want is the main organization fighting poverty in developing countries; they campaign for human rights and against the causes of poverty, inequality and injustice.
Every day, Western multinationals and companies relocate to poor countries in Africa and Asia, looking for easy profits, preying on desperate workers and offering them miserly wages.
In the time it takes an unknowing consumer to buy a pair of jeans and a t-shirt (say, an hour), Primark will have paid one of its Bangladeshi workers 5p for an hour of their time to produce these clothes. And that 5p doesn't go very far; most will struggle to afford basic things like food and shelter despite many working 80 hours a week. www.waronwant.org/about-us

On the other hand though, there are many different points to consider when deciding how bad sweatshops really are. In an ideal situation, companies would pay employees a liveable wage and meet the standard regulations in the workplace. My argument is not to abolish sweatshops but change the way in which they’re run and the pay of the employees.

If we raise the cost too much, then we risk driving out sweatshops all together.
Sweatshops give millions the standard of living they could have never had otherwise. They could help economic growth, and bring countries out of poverty. www.help.com/post/sweatshops

So what do we do? Do we boycott these stores and run the risk of abolishing sweatshops, or do we campaign for higher wages and better working conditions in the factories? I suggest we campaign.

Sweatshops create work and they are sometimes a much better option than other jobs available or no job at all. The only thing that angers the anti-sweatshops campaigners and myself is the fact that, these workers are not getting a wage they could live on, work long hard hours, are not treated well verbally and physically and many are not allowed to form a Union, all because a corporation that is worth billions (and can afford to pay higher wages) wants to make more money.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How safe is the Internet?

Many people are not aware of the dangers for adults and children on the internet, ranging from cyberbullies to adults looking for sex with children to viruses and other types of malicious software. The goal of the local telecommunications industry has been mainly focused with getting people online, rather than teaching them how to use the internet safely.

The internet can be a wonderful resource for kids, to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other pupils, and play interactice games. Any kid old enough to type a few words can literally access the world, but that access can also pose hazards. For example, a young boy might go on the internet and do an online search for 'lego'. But with just one missed keystroke, the word 'legs' is entered instead, and the boy may be directed to websites with a focus on legs - some may contain pornographic material.
That is why it is important to be aware of what chidren see and hear on the internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves online.
A federal law, the childrens online privacy protection act (COPPA) was created to help protect children online. It's designed to keep anyone from obtaining a childs personal information without a parent knowing about it and agreeing to it first.
COPPA requires websites to explain their privacy policies on the site and get parental consent before collecting or using a childs personal information, such as a name, address, phone number, or Social security number. The law also prohibits a site from requiring a child to provide more personal information than necessary to play a game, etc. But it is not just up to these laws, it is also up to the parent to try and monitor their childrens access on the internet. Online protection tools are available to help protect against predators but no option is 100% guaranteed.

Several sites have had talks about security and how to improve it. Facebook has come under fire for not doing enough to protect young people. MySpace, the biggest social networking site on the internet with more than 180 million user profiles, revealed it found 29,000 convicted sex offenders on its Web site.
Facebook, because of the murder of a 17 year old girl and the amount of complaints lodged, may have to give into pressure from the public and install a panic button on the website to help increase security.

Facebook meets UK child protection agency
By Adam Hartley
April 12th
Facebook execs set to meet with UK child protection agency to discuss 'panic buttons' for the website

Facebook execs are set to meet with representatives of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre in Washington this week to discuss ways of making the online social networking service safer for youngsters.
Ceop's director Jim Gamble said there is an urgent need to discuss the possibility of installing 'panic buttons' on Facebook, following the recent murder 17-year-old student Ashleigh Hall by Peter Chapman, a man she met via the site.
Chapman, 33, has been jailed for at least 35 years for the killing.
Facebook has previously said that it would not install a panic button on its main pages for users, but it looks like it may well re-consider that view.
"If you're going to operate a business that encourages people to frequent your public place so that you can advertise to them, then let's look after them while they're there," said Mr Gamble.
Ceop received 252 complaints about Facebook during the first three months of 2010 – 40 per cent of which were about the potential "grooming" of children'.

There have been people trying to expose these predators, for example, the Trouble Shooters. Last February, the Trouble Shooters posed online as a 13-year-old Houston girl.
They entered several different chat rooms listed on both Yahoo and AOL and it didn't take long for Houston adult men to talk sex with them. Dozens went even further and sent private messages where they talked one on one. Then, some arranged to meet in person.
But instead of finding the young girl they thought they were chatting with online, these men found the Local 2 Trouble Shooters with cameras rolling.
The day after that report, law officers began investigating every man who knocked at the door.

The activites of a predator named Clawson in Texas came to light when Texas Rangers started investigating him, they said they discovered that his past online chatting led him to real sex meetings he had with two girls. Both girls told the Rangers about those sexual encounters.
A grand jury indicted Clawson on two felony child sex charges.
"Obviously, anytime you're dealing with someone who's seeking juveniles, it's satisfaction, due to the arrest was made and that the grand jury saw enough there to indict. So, yes, it's one less individual we have to worry about doing those types of things," said Sgt. David Rainwater, with the Texas Rangers.

Dr. Barbara Levinson counsels sex offenders and she's not surprised that police say they have found real victims because of the Trouble Shooter's investigation.
She said most men who look for underage sex online usually have quite a routine.
"It happens very fast. And the escalation can happen very fast," Levinson said. "They get them to be their friends and then they can get into very sexually explicit talk. And that's also part of the grooming. There remain men on the Internet that have done this over and over again and haven't gotten caught."
As for Clawson, he went before a judge and is free after posting a $20,000 bail.

One final example, from the thousands that exist, of how naive and trusting a young child can be, was the case of Danielle Helms' 14 year old daughter Kristin. She was like so many other teenagers who logged onto social networking sites looking for their friends and looking to make new ones.

Kristin Helms, a star student and athlete, was seduced by a predator nearly twice her age who traveled from Texas to California to have sex with her and when he left, the teen was psychologically crippled.
Kristin Helms eventually revealed her secret to her mother. Danielle Helms recalls her daughter telling her that she didn't mean to fall for him emotionally and saying, "It's not your fault, mom."
And then one day, while her parents were at church, Kristin hanged herself.
"It rips your soul in half, and I will never get that day out of my mind," said Helms. "It is an agonizing thought, the way we saw our baby."
Danielle Helms and her husband called the police when they learned Kristin was being seduced by Kiley Ryan Bowers, who was 27 at the time. They took away her computer, shut down her MySpace.com profile and forbade her to contact Bowers.
But Kristin Helms secretly communicated with Bowers, calling him behind her parents' back and using school computers to contact him.

Using internet communication tools such as social networking, chatrooms, email and instant messaging can put children at potential risk of encountering online predators. The anonymity of the internet means that trust and intimacy can develop quite quickly. Predators take advantage of this anonymity to bulid online relationships with inexperienced young people. Kids feel they are aware of the dangers of predators, but they are actually quite naive about online realtionships.
'Stanger, danger' was the main threat I was warned about growing up, the threat from the outside that crept in, the stranger in the darkened car that lured children in with candy. Now, sadly, parents must concern themselves not only with strangers hiding in public places but must contend with trusted caretakers who abuse children as well as the threat that comes from the internet.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Media Activist

The activist group I am about to set up already has other activists throughout Ireland trying to achieve the same goal. This is another group with the same hopes and aspirations towards solving a major problem in Ireland.

Since 2005 Hare coursing, Fox hunting and Carted Deer Hunting have been banned in the UK. Following this the Green Party Northern Ireland Assembly member Brian Wilson said,

'legislation banning the hunting of wild mammals with dogs already exists in England, Scotland and Wales, so it should be the legislation in Northern Ireland to keep in line with the rest of the UK'.

This was meet with resistance by 5'000 angry sportsmen and woman, who turned out in Waterford to demonstrate against the ban.
And there lies my anger as an activist. A large number of the population are not bothered by these blood sports, they want to keep the sport legal and have no interest in stopping it. There are actually several websites and hotels advertising the sport.

So I'm going to write in detail exactly what these sports entail and maybe by visually imaging the pain and horror bestowed upon these creatures, I may be able to change a small percentage of the populations views.
My account is not entirely biased, I do take into account the practises of farmers and others throughout the country. In saying ban blood sports, for example, fox hunting, we would have to address the subject of pest control on farms. Traps, burning them out, poison and other ways of keeping the numbers of pests down are just as inhumane. Research has shown that traps cause just as much pain as chasing. This is one of the reasons 5,000 people protested in Waterford. They're worried if it is banned, what will be next on the list.

If fox hunting is banned would farmers snaring and other methods increase? Research shows this is not the case. The number killed by hunting is not enough to have any effect on the farming community.

The reason behind the public reluctance to support the ban on hunting stems from the fear of wondering where the protests will end? If this is banned, what next? Will there eventually be a ban on mouse traps? On some farms chickens are killed by being placed in killing cones, where they are turned upside down, their throats are slit and they are left to bleed to death. Some rural butchers still use this method for sheep and pigs. The list of inhumane killing techniques is endless.

The next step after achieving the ban on blood sports will be promoting organic living. Appealing to the government to make this option of living less expensive. Find a more humane way for pest control and the butchering of livestock.

The media in Ireland does not address the subject of blood sports very often. Actually the only time I've seen the issue raised recently was on Frontline RTE. The main sources of information comes from independent organisations, who have set up websites. As for the methods of killing livestock, the media never shows the extent of the suffering some animals will go through. Meat is a huge market, the government would not want to put people off buying it.

In Ireland, we are actually quite fortunate, in that government officials or Garda have not intervened with the public voice as of yet. Not like places, for example, the Anti G8 protests in Genoa, where police destroyed all digital footage and documentation of police brutality at a peaceful march. Our mainstream media may be controlled but so far we have the freedom of speech on Internet links etc. But this is not enough. Many do not have access to these means, so they rely solely on mainstream media to give them all the information they need. This results in most of the public only ever seeing what the government wants them to see.

You could say that it is the reluctance of the public themselves to change their ways, or get involved. Ireland is still trying to keep up and alot of the older generation do not like change.
So this is were I'm appealing to all generations to start voicing their concerns and fighting for what they believe in.

To witness to barbarity of blood sports in Ireland click on the following link.


Witness for yourselves the abusive treatment of foxes, hares and deer in the collection of video footage. But also have a look at the humane alternatives that could be put in place.

A Day on the Hunt
Let me paint a picture of a day on the hunt. The horses are all geared up, the hunters are ready to go and the chase begins. A horse falls at high speed and is injured, it is lead back to the stables to be put down, (a horses broken leg can never be fixed). One hound is shrieking in pain because he jumped onto a barbed wire fence and can't get off. When hounds chase their prey they forget everything else so nine times out of ten they end up injured, it has been known for a hound to go off the edge of a cliff and fall to his death.

Hundreds of hounds have been killed by trains or cars. In England before the ban, eleven hounds were killed by the one train. If the dog is so injured they cannot continue the hunt, the hunters will just shoot them rather than have a vet rehabilitate them.

The hunt continues on, (livestock can sometimes be killed or pet cats and dogs). At this stage the fox is becoming tired. Imagine running for hours with a pack of hungry dogs chasing you. The fox is looking for a hole to escape but the hunters had been out the night before to fill any holes they could find. Even if the fox does out run the hounds, it will probably be too tired to find food. Even if a fox escapes its health will be severally damaged.

The hounds catch up with the fox and each take a bite, tearing into its body and yanking the fox till it rips apart. The process takes longer the less dogs that are on the hunt. Most die from having their guts ripped out.

The hounds cower and whimper at the sight of the whip, so its safe to say that most are whipped in their training. When they are passed six or seven some will be put down and if they are not born with all the attributes of a hunts dog they will be put down. Some huntsmen have admitted putting a dog down due to its colour.

A fox manages to escape down a hole so the huntsmen send a terrier down, this could go on for hours. When the fox is dragged out it is shot or killed with a blow by a spade. There is sometimes a fight in the hole between the fox and the terrier or it has been known for a terrier to get trapped under the earth and people cannot get him out.

So basically I'm looking for support to bring in a legislation banning blood sports.
I will be hosting meetings, putting up posters, interviewing locals for an overall perspective, gathering signatures for petitions, sending out mobile alerts, setting up web pages, putting together advertisements and campaigns and holding demonstrations.

I need you to submit their opinions to media outlets and government officials. I need you to tell all your friends, work colleagues, neighbours and family members to support this action against Blood Sports.

Please also on behalf of banbloodsports.com send a message to Minister John Gormley stating
'I support the ban on the Ward Union' to minsiter@environ.ie


Juris, J. (2008) 'The New Digital Media and Activist Networking within Anti-Corporate Globalisation Movements' in The Anthropology of Globalisation: 352-370.






Friday, March 12, 2010

Globalization and the Media

Globalization and the Media.
The following is my response to the YouTube clip, Globalization and the Media, taking note of the reading, Theories of Global Media.

'The corporate media only tell you what they want you to know, not what the elite Globalists think you shouldn't'.
Television is the most powerful weapon of psychological warfare in history and yet it is a feature in nearly every household. It is a member of the family.
The programming conditions people to a particular way of thinking and viewing the world using fear and manipulation.
Corporate media has become government controlled making propaganda the main objective. You could say that they are the gatekeepers of information, people can only see and hear their point of view.
This brings up the questions of, do people not think for themselves? Do the majority never question authority? Do they never think outside the box?
They have been manipulated at an early age and the reporters, anchors, journalists etc have become trusted to convey the truth. It is the sheep following the Shepherd.
In saying that, it is not true for everyone. Across the globe there has been demonstrations and revolt against the corporate media. People have been demanding back the right to a voice, to an opinion. For example, in London, workers became so frustrated with the BBC reporting that they took to streets in protest.
People need to learn how to report again, after the way they have been reporting over the last few months. They need to get out there and engage with the public and not report from a backroom or an office building. They have to get away from being the governments tools of propaganda, stop selling their souls to the devil.
As well as demonstrating, people have began to set up independent media outlets. This is to give the public a voice, give them a chance to gain all information, not just what the government want them to hear.
New technology has been a breakthrough, allowing access more easily available to people worldwide to gain and distribute all information and all opinions. Volunteer, independent media outlets are being set up and the use of camera and Internet has spread.
The first independent Media Centre was launched during the protests at the World Trade organization summit in Seattle. Their website became the trusted voice of the campaigners.
People need to know that the Mass Media does not hold all the control. You can make yourself heard.
For example, G8 Genova, 2001. The police said they did not fire rubber bullets at the protesters but according the footage caught on individual cameras, this was in fact false. The police had shot rubber bullets and they also used police brutality to break up the protest. The growing use of cameras, camera phones, Internet, seen to it that the truth was exposed.
But the truth was never broadcast on the television, or transmitted on the radio or published in the newspapers. It was the independent activists that posted it on the Internet, to show the world what really happened.
'The powerful against the Powerless'.
But has the Powerless finally found a way to overthrow those now in power?


Globalization and the Media, YouTube.

Flew, T. (2007) 'Theories of Global Media' in Understanding Global Media:30-65

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The following essay looks at tracking Global flows; from the opening of the essay in the book 'The Anthropology of Globalization'. From this essay I will comment critically on the three key arguements discussed.

The understand the three key arguements, we must understand Globalization. What is Globalization? It is hard to define. In general, Globalization refers to countries joining together economically, through education, society and politics and viewing themselves, not only through their national identity but also as part of the world as a whole. It is said to bring people of all nations closer together, espeically through common mediums such as the internet.

Globalization according to Inda and Rosaldo is the intensification of global interconnectedness, suggesting a world full of movement and mixture, contact and linkages, cultural interaction and exchange, but it is not as easily explained as this.

The first arguement is the impact Globalisation has had on space and time. Yes, we live in a interconnected world but there are limits to the areas where this exists. There are limits to the mobility and connections some people have. The world is shrinking and distances are becoming shorter, but the world is not shrinking for everyone and in all places. Some people cant afford that ticket, that phone call or an Internet connection. There is a small minority with no access at all to any of these things.
Although in saying that, the places that do have rapidly growing flows of capital, people, goods, images and ideologies are drawing more and more places of the globe into interconnection.

Globalisation according to Inda and Rosaldo suggests that there is more to it than increased global interconnectedness. It suggests a reordering of time and space. To try and explain this we will take a look at David Harvey and Anthony Giddons.
David Harvey wrote that 'Time and Space compression' is the speeding up of economic and social processes. It has shrunk the Globe, so basically distance and time do not hold people back anymore, it is overcoming the barriers of space. For example, if a major, violent, riot broke out in the DIT Dublin, people from all over the world would be able to watch it at the same time, real time. It is shrinking space and shortening time, speeding up the pace of life.

The satellite communication systems deployed since the early 1970's have rendered the
unit cost and time of communication invariant with respect to distance. It costs the same
communicate over 500 miles as it does over 5,000 via satellite'.
Inda, J. X. and Rosaldo, R. (2008) 'Tracking Global Flows' (eds.) (2008, 2nd Ed)
The Anthropology of Globalization: page 10. David Harvey.

Anthony Giddens, like Harvey, considers Globalisation to involve a reorganizing of time and space in cultural and social life. Giddens wrote that 'Time-Space Distanciation' is the stretching of social life across time and space. There are two types of social interaction, Firstly there is face to face and secondly there is a more remote form, taken place across time and space.
Over time localities have come to rely less and less on face to face connections and more on interactions across distance. For example, in Bangladesh, the workers are making clothes for the stores Penny's, Tesco's, and ASDA. (although according to the 'War on Want' organisation, the conditions and wages of these workers are horrific).

The second argument in 'Tracking Global Flows' is that 'Globalisation has pulled culture apart from place', or de/territorialization.
Borders and boundaries have become easily crossed making cultures no longer geographically fixed. People are travelling from all over to find a new homeland, turning places into spaces of cultural juxtaposition and mixture. Objects from cultures, for example, food, clothes, music etc, are circulating in the expanding networks. The reasons people leave their own country is usually due to war, poor economic conditions or as the case was many years ago, colonisation.

The third argument in the text is the notion of cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism suggests thedomination of some cultures over others. The infuence of the Western countries are the most evident. There are millions of immigrants in Western countries today. They bring with them their traditions, customs, practices and cultures.
You could argue that it could lead to the downfall of some cultures, the dominant cultures of that country could destroy the smaller ones, but in saying that, there are widespread chains of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian restaurants across Western countries. The people that have come to live in different countries are holding onto their traditions, practises, beliefs and cultures. Hopefully this will continue so we dont all become the same, with the same beliefs, cultures and practices.


Inda, J.X. and Rosaldo, R. (2008) 'Tracking Global Flows' in Inda and Rosaldo (eds.) (2008, 2nd Ed) The Anthropology of Globalisation: 3_36



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Whiskey as a Network.

Choose any one product and explain how its production, distribution and consumption can be seen as a 'network'. Identify relevant nodes, ties and flows in this network. Pay attention to the role of ICT and indicate where technology might fit into the network.

Irish whiskey is becoming one of the fastest growing spirit categories in the industy, with sales increasing more than 60 percent in the past decade. The product is enjoying a revival worldwide, and in a world that is becoming increasingly smaller with each year, you will never find yourself far from an Irish pub. Whiskey is an essentail fixture of these Irish pubs, this product and Ireland and inseperable.

Whiskey could not be produced, distributed and consumed without being part of a bigger interconnected network, which is made up of nodes, ties and flows.

Irish whiskey has been in production since the 16th century, with the first major (and still open today) distillery Bushmills being founded in 1608. Even though there are only three Distilleries still active in Ireland, Bushmills, Midleton and Cooley, there is still a huge demand worldwide. Jameson ships out 2.3m case equivlants (case equivlants are 9 litres of spirits) every year. It has become not just a drink to celebrate St.Patricks day, but a drink for any occasion.

The headquarters for Bushmills and Midleton are in the Dublin headquarters of Irish Distillers, Cooleys distillery is ran from the distillery itself, as they are an independant factory.

The headquarters could be considered as the central node, all processes are controlled from here. This centre connects with the next level of nodes, these nodes are where the product is produced, packaged and distributed, for example, the Distilleries. The next level of nodes are the shops, pubs and any other places the product will be sold to, before being bought by the consumer.

For the whole process to be a success, all these nodes need to be connected so the product can pass from stage to stage. The connections between these nodes are known as ties.

The ties for whiskey to be produced, distributed and consumed would begin from the origins of the raw materials used to brew whiskey, which would be fermented grain mash, such as, barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat and maize. All ingredients for whiskey is grown and distributed to the distilleries from Irish land and Irish farmers, no ingredients need to be imported.
So there is a tie between the farmers and the Distilleries. The ties continue from the Distilleries to the location for sale.

The success of the product relies on advertising, through television advertisments, the radio, the internet and also, the representation of whiskey in movies have helped characterize whiskey as a cool, gentlemans drink. All these things create ties with customers worldwide. It is through the ties that information about whiskey reaches the customers. The information flows through the ties, allowing the customers to gain knowledge about the product.

Overall, the cycle of whiskey production begins in the fields of Ireland, the ingrediants are then sent to the Distilleries, the finished products are sent to the location of sale and then the money handed over by the customers is sent to the centre headquarters.

It is a web of interconnected nodes, ties and flows, that work together to produce and distribute the product.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The first two communication revolutions were the evolution of writing and the invention of printing. The world is now going through the third communication revolution resulting from the convergence of communication satellites, computers and digitization.
Digitization converts all information, text, sound and pictures into a binary code that can promptly travel through a global network of computers linked by telephones, fiber optics and satellites.
New media is the emergence of digital, computerized, or networked information and communication technologies. Most technologies described as "new media" are digital, some examples may be the Internet, websites, computer multimedia, computer game, CD-ROMS, and DVDs.
According to Van Dijk, the New Media is defined by its characteristics of integration, interactivity, and digital code.
The most important structural New Media characteristic is the integration of Telecommunication, Data Communication and Mass Communication into a single medium.
Integration is the merging of Telecommunications, Mass Communications, and Data Communications.
Two revolutionary techniques enable the process of integration.
1. Full digitalization of all media.
2. Broadband transmission through all connections by cable and air.
Van Dijk, J. (2006). The Network Society. (2nd Ed).

There has already been merging of certain communication forms but if they continue to merge, will we be left with just one form of New Media?
Interactivity allows a two way flow of information between a computer or other electronic devise and the user. A sequence of action and reaction.
Digital data is the most suitable for enabling interactivity. Interactivity sets apart the Old and new medias. Old media was more, sit back and interact, whereas, New Media has become more engaging. Technologies such as DVD, and Digital TV where the audience can control what they watch result in more interactivity. However, the internet is the main interactive system.
Today we are surrounded by a multi level convergent media world where all modes of communication and information are continually reforming to adapt to the enduring demands of technologies, changing the way we create, consume, learn and interact with each other.
Could these on going improvements, for example, in telecommunications be creating a spaceless world? Will electronics eliminate the need for face-to-face interactions?
We can already communicate large quantities of written information over long distances at almost no cost, by using information technologies such as email, fax machines, the Internet, and the World Wide Web. Existing technologies even enable us to hold virtual meetings in which people can look at and talk to each other over long distances.
So what is to become of society if the New Media continue to decrease social activity? Have they really thought it through? As Van Dijk pointed out, they did not think of the future consequences when developing private transportation as opposed to public transportation which resulted in traffic congestion environmental degradation and global warming.
So what will the consequences be of the roads for information and communication we are building?