I remember there was a time where I would only use the computer for class assignments that were required to be typed in Microsoft Word and then I would end up spending most of my time watching TV. Later on this did not continue as I started spending more time on the computer watching things that I would normally watch on TV only. Wheeler Dixon in his book Streaming: Movies, Media and Instant Access talks about streaming and how the internet and certain websites are keeping people addicted to staying online in preference to watching television or doing other things like interacting face-to-face. Wheeler Dixon sums up the comparison of today’s digital world to traditional media almost perfectly when he says that “reading a book or listening to a CD or watching a movie is similar to being online and that for the duration of those experiences, you aren’t here, either. But those experiences have limits, whereas the goal of Facebook and all its allies is to get you online and keep you online—forever…” (Dixon, 90). Dixon talks about how a man named Scott Adams said one day technology will “manipulate us” and it is a fact since smartphones and computers already do it by providing us access to streaming, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sports (Dixon, 90-91). I would have to disagree with Dixon when he says “technology can fill the emotional void” because even though I am a victim to the digital world I still use Facebook and my other phone apps to interact with my friends. Maybe smartphones and computers shorten social interaction physically and that is important when it comes to making more friends or meeting people. In Dixon’s book he even points out statistics of how technology affects socializing today and here they are:
• Seventy-five percent of conversations in the United States (and even more in other countries) still happen face-to-face; less than 10 percent take place through the Internet.
• Face-to-face conversations tend to be more positive and more likely to be perceived as credible, in comparison to online ones.
• In the sphere of products and services, conversations are significantly impacted by what we see and hear in “traditional” media, including television, radio, and print publishing. (Keller and Fay)
Digital media does affect social interaction physically, but not as drastically as Dixon fears. Communication is just one factor affected by the Internet; however it is in company with other assets people tend to use in their daily lives. Dixon makes use of this great quote by Towner on assets that are affected by the rise of digital media:
“Home telephones will be replaced by ‘mini computers the size of all phones,’ as landlines are discontinued. ‘CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, thumb drives, video game discs. . . and their players’ will become obsolete as music, movies, games, and text are streamed directly from the web. Other items on the way out include business cards, conventional road maps, cash, analog clocks, phone books, bank deposit slips, and incandescent lightbulbs” (Dixon, 13).
Teaching has even evolved through the use of digital media and an example of that is that many teachers will now have students submit papers, homework assignments and take-home exams electronically online. This allows students and teachers to save paper which is a positive for the environment and a perfect example of how digital technology is good for the world.
Streaming has been on pace to be a part of what people do in almost every aspect now and not just for films, television shows and sports games. Dixon talks about how the “world can be streamed” with the use of Google glasses and he stated that now people can “view the world from a privileged point of view with a wealth of superimposed information” (Dixon, 130). Steaming has presented a solution to entertain almost every human need that is important for someone to get through their day. Google glasses can record video, give access to your location at all times and many other features that a smartphone does (Dixon, 131). Soon people won’t even need computers and instead they will use small tablets or utilize their smartphones more. Just like watching TV channels, going to blockbuster and using home phones is declining soon streaming will present an opportunity for more things to decline such as using a computer.