By: Michael JH Hong, Editorial
A lady sits near the aisle deftly tapping on her Ipad; a man next to her scrolls through his Blackberry trackpad; a young man sitting across from both of them has his eyes fixed on his Kindle; while next to him sits a college girl with her laptop. Riding an early morning train from Long Island to Penn Station, New York, will give you a glimpse of how we’ve come to exchange information in the digital age. The tools and technologies that people use today are transforming the way we view and publish media content.
A recent (2010) study done by Nielson found that:
· Over 303 million people view more than 2.5 billion web pages each month.
· More than 123 million Americans are online each month, with the average viewer reading more than 43 articles or news items a month.
In the past, traditional journalism served as a medium in which people received news, current events and shared opinions. As digital content publishers build strong foundation of resources and credibility, more and more people are turning online to complement television and print publications.
So, what makes up this digital landscape?
Seventeen years ago, people may have passed off blogging as a peculiar phenomenon limited to tech-savvy individuals. Today, blog topics range from news about the latest technologies and political happenings to daily musings shared by mommies and daddies . According to research conducted by Technorati, between now and 2012 blogs are expected to grow at a rate of 75% and more than 145 million people (67% of the US Internet population) will be reading blogs at least once a month.
I knew Facebook was going to influence the world on an unprecedented scale when my fifty-two year old dad, who did not even know how to use a computer keyboard two years ago, decided to sign up for that globally celebrated social networking site. According to Comscore in 2010, 9 out of 10 U.S. Internet users visited social networks within the space of one month. I have a friend who Tweets every time she receives horrible service at restaurants in many different neighborhoods of New York. As her followers increase, her influence increases with it. Meanwhile, restaurateurs nervously eye her blackberry in its usual location… right next to the salt shakers on whatever table she happens to occupy. Professionals are increasingly using services like Linkedin to connect with employers and colleagues. In a recent survey of 2,000 professors, Pearson researchers found that 80% of professors incorporate social media into their teaching.
The Video Community
If you don’t know Aaron Yonda or Matt Sloan now, chances are you will come to hear about them soon. They are YouTube celebrities. Most of these celebrities started making homemade videos and films. Now, they boast up to 11 million viewers in the video community and some receive sponsors from corporations. Even Justin Bieber started on his path to stardom by posting his homemade video on YouTube. As people are tuning into video communities like YouTube and Vimeo, video communities are beginning to wield more and more traction and influence.
There are underlying premises that enable blogs, social networks, video communities and various other aggregate information syndicates to proliferate. The premises that pertain to digital content are:
· Creation of a sense of community. Even the most devout recluse longs for a touch of humanity. History may have witnessed numerous technological advancements, political upheavals, cultural revolutions and paradigm shifts, but one constant continues to pervade our psyche – our need to feel connected to our fellow humans.
· Facilitate time-efficient creation. I’ve read blogs created by housewives wanting to share their secret food recipes, viewed videos of sports fanatics wanting to rant about their favorite team’s performance and read numerous journal entries posted by average men and women. People can innovate based on quick, readily available resources published in online media. It acts as a canvas on which people can draw out their inner creative passions.
· Personable conversations. When you participate in a fruitful conversation in the “comments” section of a blog, you feel closely connected to your fellow bloggers. Much like the real world, there are people who agree as much as they disagree with your comments. Nevertheless, you’re entitled to your opinion as much as everyone else is entitled to his or her opinion. It’s not like a major publication where an opinion of one renowned writer or selective commentators represents the collective.
On my train ride back from Manhattan, I sat across from an older gentleman reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Set apart from IPad users, he somehow felt like someone I could strike up a random conversation with. Feeling rather convivial, I said, “He’s my favorite author.” Soon enough, we were discussing Dostoevsky, Pushkin and all sorts of amazing literary talents from Russia. It was a short conversation, but a fruitful one that left a heart-warming and lasting impression. Although I work with digital content and get to interact with all different walks of life, I still have a place in my heart for those old fashioned media.