Impact of New Media on Society – Smartphones

Impact of New Media on Society: Smartphones The term ‘new media’ is one that is constantly evolving, and on a daily basis, encompassing more as well as newer and innovative elements in it. In the broadest sense, it is the opposite of ‘traditional media’, which includes print, television and film, and radio. According to New Media Basics, new media is essentially interactive, and it includes a host of communication mechanisms that revolve around the internet, and include elements such as e-mail, social networks, websites, blogs, online videos and pictures etc.
And new media also includes new media devices and technologies such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, i-pods, and a host of other devices, which also includes smartphones, the main emphasis of this paper. New media tools have enabled increased collaboration between people across the world, and has thus accelerated the pace and reach of globalization. It has allowed an unparalleled connectivity with widespread information, and most significantly, it has allowed for creativity, inventions and inno vations, as well as entrepreneurship.
This paper will focus on the impact of smartphones on society, focusing on the education, business, health and government sectors, as well as on an individual’s personal life. It will weigh the argument from multiple sides, with the support of theories put forth by specialists and theorists within this realm. The IBM Simon, released in 1993, was the first ever ‘smartphone’ known to man. This propelled Nokia and Ericsson into the creation of their own superior versions, the ‘Communicator’ and GS88 respectively.

It was in 2002 when the smartphones as we know them came into being with the Pocket PC, Palm OS and most significantly, the first Blackberry 5810. It was after this point that smartphones began to flood the market, with Apple’s I-Phone line, the Google Android, the Motorola Droids, HTC’s, and the Samsung line of smartphones. Smartphones have had a dizzying and echoing impact on society, with its effects being felt in nearly every aspect of life. In regards to reach and richness, no doubt it is wide spread, and rich in content, options, accessibility etc. According to Colin Dean Murphy of University ?of? KwaZulu?
Natal South Africa, it has been statistically proven that mobile phones are the most widespread and predominant ICT’s (Information and Communications Technology) of this day and age. For starters, “they are generally cheaper than computers, offer mobility, and are densely converged platforms. ” And most importantly Murphy states, that this has led to ‘globalized convergence’. It has supported and significantly enhanced links to global networks. Smartphones have enabled constant connectivity, which one could argue is also allowed by computers, but what distinguishes the smartphone from a laptop or desktop, is the factor of mobility.
Mobile phones enabled connectivity between people via phone calls and text messages, however smartphones have disrupted this, as they have allowed connectivity that is almost unparalleled. It has allowed people to interact on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, with all of these creating applications for the multiple smartphones out there. This does not only allow for enhanced communication but has enabled people to, for example via Facebook, to ‘check in’ and thus publically state their current location, allowing for others to physically access them more easily; it has also enabled eople to share precious moments such as holidays, graduations, holidays, a baby’s first steps etc. with their friends and family as soon as the picture is snapped with the smartphones cameras. It has brought about ease and efficiency in the workplace, and have allowed for employees, employers and coworkers to constantly be accessible officially via e-mail for instance, and important documents and information can be exchanged constantly. The browsers are available just as they are on a laptop or desktop, and enables students and the work force alike to promptly search for things, translate documents, and research topics and so on.
Students have found it to enhance their learning, and even enabled them to do entire assignments while being on the go. Additionally, smartphones are a source of entertainment, ranging from music, to fun apps, games and videos. It is for these smartphones that a whole range of apps have been created. Some apps are entertainment oriented, such as those surrounding photographs, music and games; others allow you to book flights or do bank transactions, while some are designed to accelerate knowledge and learning.
There is no genre that has not been explored by apps, and no lifestyle and culture, preferences and tastes that they have not catered to. We will now examine the effects, both negative and positive, of smartphone in detail across different sectors. Education Sector: In ‘The Impact of Mobile Access on Motivation: Distance Education Student Perceptions’, by Penn State University, students were interviewed in regards to their usage of smartphones, as well as the benefits and drawbacks they perceived and experienced.
Overall, students found smartphones to expedite learning and information, while offering the gift of mobility. Students we re able to access textbooks and course materials on their smartphones, their study time knew no barriers, as they could access the information at their ease and convenience. It was easier for them to seek help and get advice, as well as getting important class course updates from online groups and communities. Another favorite was flashcards, which students would download on their phones and study, especially if they were commuting, for instance on the subway.
Students can even download or stream class podcasts on their phones, and listen to it at a later time, and to utilize otherwise ‘dead time’ (for instance, commuting, travelling, waiting for lift/cab etc. ) This paper explored an up and coming sector, which has accelerated, and has also come to be entir ely defined by smartphones: ‘m-Learning’. M stands for ‘mobile’, which in turn stands for ‘on the move’. MLearning evolved from eLearning, since in this day and age, with the spread of smartphones and tablets, people are mobile, on the go, while they are acquiring knowledge, skill and information.
According to Tella, an m-Learner can access and work on his smartphone at any given point, at any given time, and thus it means the decentralization of information handling. According to USA Today, schools and universities globally are spending a large part of their budget on smartphones and tablets as a mode to attract students to their institutions as they have realized that it is such an important element in supplementing education. However, students are not all praise either for their smartphones. They have found smartphones to be very intrusive.
With the ever increasing pressure of studies, they feel that they cannot get away, as their smartphones are always with them, allowing them to get notifications and calls for duty by their class mates and professors alike. Also, it has made students lazy to a degree, and encouraged several to do their work in the last minute, which in turn results in many of them plagiarizing content and handing it in to the teacher right before class. Smartphones offer such an attraction and constant entertainment that students are sucked into the online world, that it greatly hinders interaction with nature and the value of face to face communication.
Business Sector: The Blackberry was initially marketed as a phone for the business man, and smartphone services initially were primarily for the business and industrial sector. Forrester Consulting conducted a study on RIM to ascertain the economic impact of a blackberry solution in North American enterprises. Blackberry smartphones, as well as other smartphones offer invaluable services and features to enterprises, such as ‘wireless voice and data applications including push e-mail, wireless calendaring, voice, text messaging, multimedia applications, and Web browsing’, to name a few.
Forrester Consulting found that with the introduction of Blackberry smartphones and services, (and thus we can apply this to all smartphones over all) there was an increased productivity, greater efficiency, less wastage and a more economical utilization of time and resources. Smartphones allow enterprises and businesses to constantly be connected. Business decisions can be made promptly; important files and documents can be sent, accessed, read and approved as soon as they crop up. However, a major criticism to this development is the fact that the line between ‘work time’ and ‘leisure time’ has been blurred.
No longer can an individual be separated from his work life, and it keeps invading his personal life, family time, meal hours and so on. Mazmanian, in her 2006/2007 study on Blackberry handhelds and services pointed out several benefits and drawbacks experienced by Blackberry users, and their gains and costs, can effectively be applied to other smartphones. On the one hand, she said it enabled monitoring communication flow and controlling message receipt, but conversely, there was a compulsion to always check your blackberry, and an inability to disengage yourself from it.
There are major implications in the realm on social relations, as it reduced the quality of social life, and quality time spent with family and friends, and instant messaging applications such as Whatsapp and BBM, resulted in people spending less time together, and actually engaging in verbal communication and physical contact. Health Sector According to Boulos, Wheeler, Tavares and Jones, the health sector has found smartphones very advantageous to their industry. It has allowed for immediate access to medical sites by doctors and patients alike.
Patients are able to make their appointments on their smartphones, with several hospitals and clinics having their own apps for this purpose. Also, patients of various diseases have apps, specific to their diseases and treatments on their phones, which allow them to monitor their health regularly and efficiently. Government Sector: The government sector as well has initiated and embraced the age of m-Government, an enhanced, and rather mobile form of e-Government, as explained by Pierre Rossel, Matthias Finger and Gianluca Misuraca in “Mobile” e-Government Options: Between Technology-driven and User-centric.
Through this the government attempts to invest in research and development in ICT’s. It aims to maximize productivity and innovation in areas of public administration. It also aims to create a link and relationship between the government and the users of their services. As we can see from the world around us, new media is a very powerful medium, which creates a ripple effect all over society, and smartphones is just one of its tools. There are several disadvantages that this technology depicts, but it is hard to compete with the advantages and progress it offers across the board, in every sphere of human life.
It offers limitless possibilities, and has offere d solutions and innovations in the various facets of society, from education to business, entertainment to health, whilst catering to the old and the young, cutting through cultures, nations and any other tangible or intangible barrier.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: New Media Basics Aids. gov http://aids. gov/using-new-media/new-media-basics/ Mobile? Convergence? and? Mobile? Adoption? Colin Dean Murphy University? of? KwaZulu? Natal South Africa http://146. 230. 128. 141/jspui/bitstream/10413/6320/1/Murphy_Colin_Dean_2012. df ‘The Impact of Mobile Access on Motivation: Distance Education Student Perceptions’, Penn State University http://learningdesign. psu. edu/research/MLRTWhitePaper. pdf M-Learning—Cybertextual Travelling or a Herald of Post-Modern Education? Sappo Tella, 2003 University of Helsinki http://www. helsinki. fi/~tella/mlearningtella. pdf Economic Impact Of A BlackBerry Solution In North American Enterprises Forrester Consulting, 2009 http://us. blackberry. com/content/dam/blackBerry/pdf/whitePaper/northAmerica/english/Economic_I mpact_Of_BlackBerry_Devices_2. df UBIQUITOUS EMAIL: INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES AND ORGANIZATIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF BLACKBERRY USE Mazmanian, Yates and Orlikowski MIT Sloan School of Management http://seeit. mit. edu/publications/blackberry_aom. pdf How smartphones are changing the face of mobile and participatory healthcare. Boulos, Wheeler, Tavares and Jones, 2011 http://www. biomedical-engineering-online. com/content/10/1/24 “Mobile” e-Government Options: Between Technology-driven and User-centric Pierre Rossel, Matthias Finger and Gianluca Misuraca Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne, College of Management of Technology Switzerland http://issuu. com/academic-conferences. org/docs/ejeg-volume4-issue2-article81 http://www. bitrebels. com/technology/the-evolution-of-smartphones-infographic/ http://www. usatoday. com/educate/devry/devry1. pdf http://sheryllam. wordpress. com/2012/06/06/the-impact-of-electric-telegraph-and-iphone-on-socialrelationships/ http://thetamnews. org/2011/09/editorial-the-impact-of-smartphones-on-student-life/ http://www. marketingtimes. com/2011/01/whats-the-impact-of-smartphones-social-media-on-ourlives/

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