Media and Culture-Gutenberg Revolution vs. The Internet and Social Media
The Gutenberg revolution opened the way of learning for many people. Before the revolution, remarkably few people could afford to buy any reading material, and they had limited information. Very few people were mandated with the task of writing the manuscripts, which were often under tight security (Lamberti 49). The revolution made it possible for many people to write their ideas in print, and there was a vast exchange of information. Many people became increasingly open towards new ideas and were willing to experiment. The increase in the print material available lowered the price of books; hence many people could afford them (Abel 25). The revolution made it possible for people to develop different forms of reading materials. People used different methods of disseminating news. The society found out that it could use the printing press to develop different kinds of reading materials (Krotoski 5). They could publish religious texts as well as magazines and novels. Hence, there was a large audience, ranging from scholars who needed to find scholarly work, to young readers and children who needed engaging stories. In addition, people could advertise in the different forms of print media, and this led to the development of the industry (Stacy 7; Thackeray and Findling 187).
The Gutenberg revolution increased the number of jobs, and it changed the economic system. The invention of the printing press led to a wide availability of paper, and this reduced the price of rag paper. There was a need for more documentation in different sectors including trade, religion, and government. Many writing shops came up, and many people found work as literate clerics. The Gutenberg revolution largely contributed to church reformation. The church was no longer the sole custodian of religious texts. The religious texts were published in vernacular languages, and some people did not find the need of the church interpreting the scriptures. Printing revolutionized literature and philosophy, and this led to a change in people’s thoughts and perceptions. People felt free to publish their stories, and the church and government no longer had an influence on their thoughts and lifestyles. They felt free to express their thoughts and experiences on romance and love.
The printing press enhanced individual privacy. People no longer had to depend on someone to read aloud texts since they could do it on their own. This led to open discussions concerning intimate topics such as relationships and sex. With the internet and social media, any person can access information from all over the world as well as communicate with many people across diverse regions. Therefore, it can be argued that we are in the midst of a second Gutenberg Revolution right now considering that information is available to the whole world from any location at a cheap price.
The people not only focused on religion, but also the printing press made it possible for them to receive different political, gossip and entertainment news (Martin and Copeland 90). The Gutenberg revolution made it possible for the ordinary citizens to participate in government matters for the first time. It enhanced a system of democracy where people could raise their objections or support of different government decisions (Hoffmann 1). The availability of information, and the change in the communication system led to transformations in the society. Before the revolution, people used oral communication more often, and this meant that some people were custodians of information. This changed after the revolution. People no longer depended on oral communication in a major way although they continued to use it (Evans 29). Custodians of language became irrelevant. There was no need for people in authority to regulate information or control it. People could access the information they needed through the published materials (Ne?ler 31). This does not mean that people could pass all the information they wanted. The government continued to have some control over different publications, and it banned books that seemed controversial (Constitutional Rights Foundation 3).
The Gutenberg revolution compared to the internet revolution in different ways. The internet has made it possible for many people to acquire the information they need irrespective of different boundaries such as geographic location or level of education. It has made it possible to share information easily (Gainous and Wagner 45). Although purchases of textbooks continue, more people are able to get information concerning different disciplines by searching for it on the internet. Largely, the internet has contributed to a reduction in the cost of publishing, and this has ultimately reduced the price of textbooks and other reading materials. This is because authors have found an online platform where they can edit their stories and other materials and other people can read them (Drucker 49). The internet revolution compares to the Gutenberg revolution in that people have different uses of the internet. The use of the internet has led to the development of different platforms, which have in turn enabled people to communicate, share and exchange information, as well as form network connections. This has especially been made possible by the use of different social networking sites, such as Facebook and twitter (Biagi 67).
People use the social media sites for different reasons. They not only use the sites for social reasons, but people are increasingly using the sites for business and political purposes. Through the sites, they are able to raise awareness concerning different issues; as well as inform people of what is happening (Eisentein 49). As a result, people from different regions of the world are able to learn from each other. This is evidenced by the use of social media to draw crowds in the Arab Spring where several revolutions occurred. Without information, it could have been hard for citizens to learn about political issues that oppressed them. Therefore, information through the internet and social media gave people a voice as well as a source of information and news, a situation that compares to the Gutenberg Revolution.
Furthermore, in the same way as Gutenberg revolution, the internet and social media revolution has made it possible for people to participate in government affairs. The aforementioned Arab Spring that began in 2010 showed how people could use the media sites to unite people to fight for a similar cause (Marin 20). Countries that participated in the Arab spring include Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria among others. The countries had conservative and totalitarian governments, and the people did not have any way to speak against them. The use of the social media changed this, and the people were able to defy the age-old system as they rebelled against their leaders and formed new political systems in their countries (Wilson 56). Although the use of social media was not the main cause of the spring, it did contribute in raising awareness and in providing a platform where different people could meet and organize protests (Oates 41).
The internet revolution has changed the society in different ways. Although most of the change leans towards the positive, other societal effects of the internet revolution is negative. On the positive side, the internet has contributed to an increase in literacy. This is through available information, which people can use for educational purposes in different disciplines, and through e learning, which some schools offer. This way, people are able to gain knowledge and comprehension of different issues, in addition to acquiring different levels of qualification from the universities, irrespective of where they live. Families are able to communicate more effectively even if they are not in the same geographic location. Some people have started friendships while others have formed relationships and started their own families through online connections. Partners have met each other online through the different online dating sites, and some of these interactions have led to relationships. They use the internet and its various applications for this purpose. The government has become additionally accessible to people because people can get different government services online. The internet has contributed to changes in the economic system. It has led to a creation of jobs in different sectors and regions. This is evidenced in the rise of freelancing and other outsourcing jobs. It has also led to the development of jobs in information and telecommunication industries. Despite the numerous advantages it has had, the internet revolution has contributed to negative societal changes
There is no limit to internet content and people post all manner of things on the internet. This includes pornographic and violent images and videos, which has contributed to degradation of morals in the society. It has become hard to control the flow of such materials, and anyone with access to the internet can access them. Children with access to the internet through their phones and other digital devices can access such materials, especially when there is no adult supervision. This often leads to unhealthy sexual behaviors, and it has led to an increase in the number of children engaging in early sex. There is an increase in teenage pregnancies and children are becoming aware of sex at an earlier age. Some of the pornographic materials posted involve children, and this raises the issue of child sexual abuse and molestation.
Some of the content posted on the internet is violent, and it encourages the use of weapons. Cyber bullying is one of the major negative effects of the internet. People find comfort in the anonymity provided by using online content, and they use this to attack others. The internet revolution has had a negative effect on the print media. Many people are able to access digitized versions of print materials including textbooks, newspapers, and magazines. They can find the same information and news that is on the print versions on free internet sites. This has led to a decrease in sales of the print media. Many readers prefer the digitized versions because they can access it wherever and whenever they are. They can get news from different locations, and they do not have to wait until the next day in order to read it in the newspapers. The internet has ensured that people get information in real time.
Just like the Gutenberg revolution, the internet has had a profound effect on language. The printing press largely led to the standardization of language. English is the main form of communication on the internet, and most technicians have concentrated on the Roman alphabet in their computing (Antes Geertz and Warne 46). There have been significant changes over the years, especially relating to the dissemination of information. People have been able to pass different messages concerning diverse issues. However, some governments continue to find ways of regulating the media, despite the use of the internet (Appleman 30). Such governments do not want to be criticized. This is especially the case in China and some countries in the Middle East. In addition, the digital divide has limited the flow of information. People in poor countries with no access to the internet, and with no knowledge on how the internet works, cannot access the information they want easily (Popescu 74). Therefore, we are in the midst of another Gutenberg Revolution where internet and social media has given people the ability to share information and participate in political and government matters.
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