The Digital Revolution

The revolution will not be televised but it may be on YouTube. As the world shifts ever more rapidly in the visual-spatial medium of videos and the online virtual world changes in society will be captured, photographed, and caught through digital technology and more importantly through social media platforms. This all necessitates the power of video in telling stories, capturing news, and disseminating information in an advanced, technological, and digitized world. As a result of this evolution the shift away from print publication is inevitable as the internet with its 24/7 monitoring and always being “open for business” will shatter all limits documenting in the virtual sense the many circumstances, events, news, and realities that occur consistently throughout the world. Documentary filmmakers, investigative journalists, online reporters and other seekers of truth will play a paramount role in documenting and telling such vital stories and realities even as they work in industries that have been greatly downsized due to corporate shifts in business practice and advanced, growing technology.

The jury is still out in the scientific community on evidence of whether people interpret, learn, dissect, communicate and acquire information and knowledge more effectively and accurately through a visual-spatial means as opposed through print publication. It may depend on an individual basis whether a person learns and communicates better in reading given material or visually interacting to given material or other approaches to learning and knowing. Even educational institutions have begun to look into and talk about a paradigm shift to educating students in this new digital landscape. Until then if such an inquiry is worthy for a scientific study journalists will be forced to operate and work in the digital re-evolution. This will mean to incorporate news as Tweets, Facebook posts, and other feeds through the system of social networking. A new approach to literacy will also occur which does not necessarily mean the elimination of literacy itself. It will just mean 140-character-and-less post feeds serving as intros to video links and online blogs, photos with a small caption or description to them and online streaming videos with close captioning and transcripts viewable on the web.

In the 21st century world where Associated Press, CNN, local newspapers, and other media outlets are using Twitter to put out late-breaking news, where dentist clinics to furniture stores are taking the same approaches to video production like advertising and marketing companies are, and where lectures led by teachers and professors are taking to YouTube for teaching classroom curriculum the world has totally immersed itself fully in the digital revolution. The digital revolution does not infer violence or upheaval of any kind. In fact, its better to title it as “The Digital Re-evolution” so the emphasis can be made on the transformation and evolved aspect of diverse populations all over the world in communicating, learning, channeling, reporting, and interpreting new information and current events in a whole new way than past generations. The digital revolution will even the playing field for what is possible for the underdog or those part of the underground to operate in. People in the lower class or third-party media outlets will finally have a seat at the table in communicating and interacting in policy changes, public sentiments, and social movements. Voices from all racial/ethnic backgrounds, social classes, cultural heritages, educational levels, and geography will all be able to chime in to report the facts, provide necessary feedback, and give important perspective on current events. The digital revolution will provide access for anyone bent on progressive change.

Clearly, entertainment has moved securely in the digital revolution. Video-on-demand and file-sharing has moved in the place of the movie-going experience to theaters even though it has not entirely replaced it. Listening and buying music has also became digitized as well with mp3 downloads and music podcasts. Radio segments from talk radio to sports radio with the advent of internet radio has marked a digital trend. Today, television watchers of their favorite shows resort to digital video recorders (DVR) and IPTV to consume television content. So, as entertainment went down the once narrow road of digital media several years ago so will journalism and news-gathering tread down the now-expanded road of digital media.

All is not utopian in the digital revolution, however. Systems, institutions, and hierarchies will all be challenged as information gets passed around through social media circles and established media outlets. People will be displaced, industries will shift if not transform, new laws and policies will be passed, and newfound transparency will expose the worse in governments and businesses. The “Twitter Revolution” is a great example of the impact of the digital re-evolution when different protests and revolutions throughout the world were coordinated via Twitter specifically in Arab Spring. Up-to-the-minute, inside look and one-the-ground reporting and eye-witness accounts will be made readily available to anyone with access to the internet from anywhere in the world. This will allow for a different engagement by neighbors and concerned, socially conscious people to take part in civic action if not social protest. Although consuming products and services and the creation of propaganda from government and corporate hierarchies will have even more means to their disposal in spreading lies, misinformation, and illusions the digital revolution for younger and younger people in protest will make the landscape far too uncomfortable for the rich, educated, and privileged populace to remain comfortable and in total control. The digital revolution will continue to make its presence felt in areas of geography, public health, the environment, sociology, healthcare, human rights, politics, and the economy–nationally and internationally–with no need to stop or slow down. Feel free to call it a “silent” revolution, a “quiet” revolution, a “virtual” revolution, a “social media” revolution, a “nonviolent” revolution, or an “all-encompassing” revolution.

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