THE IMPACT OF THE NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTs)
“New culture ushered in in all spheres”
15 May 2015
By Simbarashe Mudzviti
INFORMATION society, information super highway, information revolution, information economy, network society and many more, are some of the buzz words related to this kind of transformation. This revolution has come in with a bulk of technophilic (positive effects) in the political, social, technological and cultural spheres.
The ICTs have changed the face of nearly everything around the globe, more so, when they are converged with telecommunications. This has had a ripple effect on society’s social intercourse as new ways of living have surfaced. Users of media products can access large amounts of different kinds of information at fast speeds by just clicking the mouse of their computers.
They now have many choices which, to some extent, has the potential of improving the quality of information from various competing providers. As information is the determining factor in the shaping of public attitudes especially in a democracy, such competitive environments are healthy for media users. This situation has resulted in the fragmentation of the users who have a glut of information in real time.
People can now become their own publishers by starting their own blogs which gives them the platform to share their views and personal experiences on conversational issues. The speed at which the information can be transmitted has been electrified. Boundaries are no more as people can interact with their friends and relatives over geographic locations.
The fields of marketing, public relations and advertising have not been left in isolation either. They have also benefited greatly in their interface with their customers, publics and target audience respectively with a more interactive and personalised interaction. Obviously, this results in more and repeat business and ultimately profits, hence continuity of business.
In the field of journalism, similarly, a new era has also been ushered that has affected the research, production and dissemination of news. Cell phones, personal computers, IPods and access to internet have facilitated regular and immediate interactivity between journalists and readers. News gathering has been greatly speeded. To an extent, as the 4th Estate, this would build confidence and trust by society hence cementing mutually lasting relations.
Online journalism has also been born as a result, which provides readers with new look regular news updates than the traditional media which cannot provide up to the minute updates. This is important in a democracy as citizens need to be kept informed about events and decisions that affect them.
Such changes require journalism schools to change their curriculum especially, their teaching and learning methodologies in order to adapt to the new landscape. They should now nurture a calibre of journalists who can multitask and be competent to write across all media.
This is a new world with its own demands. Let’s brace for it, for it is here to stay.