Reserach proposal: The Digital Age

The perception of our own time in history is always a topic beckoning many opinions and explanations. What is typical for the people living now? How will our culture and ways of living be described in a 25th century school book, and how does this fit with how we picture ourselves in our time? Many more questions could be asked, and they could be more specific, but until further I enjoy the comfort of a new semester to find out in what and how I will narrow down my interest in the field of Digital Media to a master thesis.

My assignment could have a historical approach. Just over two decades ago the world’s majority believed in a divided world, in which two dominant ideologies tried to prevail. Today the political situation is different. Also within the field of communication many things have happened since that time. When Tim Berners Lee wrote HTML and HTTP as a internal information system at CERN I guess he did not know how popular this technology would be just twenty years later. It has also happened a significant change in how we do things in our day to day lives. Communication is more fragmented and the homogenious information of the national broadcasting that provided all with a small amount of news, education, entertainment and weather forecast is long gone. Today information is available on the internet 24/7 and it is on-demand rather than in a scheduled broadcast plan. Does this change who we are? And if it does, how?

My assignment could also have a geographical approach. Many services are now online, but how Digital Media is used variates from country to country. How many are using internet based banking in your country, and how do you vote? Is Facebook more commonly used in individualistic cultures, and what are the impacts on collectivistic cultures as digital media is introduced?

It could also be interesting figuring out how new technology changes the way we use “New Media”. When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone he also opened a whole new world of small application trying to fill the needs of everyday life. From banking applications to “how to cook you egg properly”, it is out there. Which new needs are created, and which are becoming fulfilled?

This are just some of the different approaches I could like to follow. Hopefully I will be able to narrow down a field I could write in my master thesis, but for now I will just share some ideas.

This post is also published on the e|thos blog at the University of Edinburgh. The E|thos blog is a part of the master program in Digital Media and Culture where I am a student. The picture is found on Flickr, and is a screen dump of a visit to the University of Edinburgh in Second Life. The picture is a work by GeoShore.

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