Technology has grown to be a part of the human culture (Gitelman, 2006) because it has become a massive part of people’s lives. However, I think the concern is not that it has become a part of human culture, but that it is controlled by only a few people (see previous posts).
According to some researchers, it has also been used to change society and is now a threat to other historical aspects of human society (Gitelman, 2006; Marvin, 1987; Schwarzenegger, 2012; Winston, 1998). These authors believe that “new technology” distorts the connection that could formerly be quickly drawn from past innovations to the current ones.
According to Gitelman (2006), there ought to be “different people on the same mental map sharing” for a proper timeline or history. This means that the constant reinvention of technology has created a gap in society; hence, people can no longer quickly draw a mental picture of when a particular technology began and when it is likely to change (i.e. disconnect in technological history).
It is even more difficult for younger generations to understand what technology was like, years before they were born. Also, institutions that ought to preserve such knowledge are adapting to these technological changes, thus, widening the gap.
For instance, social media; how does one determine when it was first adopted in a particular country or community?
It has become almost impossible to measure the starting point of things in many communities today like it was in the past. Many more recently adopted practices (that have become “culture”) have blurred the line between the past, present, and future. Immigrations, ships, airplanes, cable television, internet – all forms of technology or its effects have made it easy for undocumented changes to occur in many societies.
I remember being taught in secondary school that the first newspaper in Nigeria, “Iwe Irohin” was published in 1859 by Henry Townsend. I wonder if this is still possible today.
How does a person measure information in a digital media society that has redefined the concept of time and space?
You tell me!
By Ngozi Adighibe