Never before in history has such a large percentage of society been so readily able to communicate with large numbers of their fellow people. Not only are people ready, they also appear to be engaging in the ability en masse as it has become available. Adoption rates for new communications technologies no longer take years to sort out, as once happened between the competing technologies of VHS and BetaMax video machines.
Look no further than the explosion in videos of people’s exploits of any and every nature posted to the popular video sharing site, YouTube.com. Daily, countless videos are uploaded to be viewed and shared between friends and strangers alike. This capability only became available to early adopters in 2005, so to call it a new technology is an understatement. Further, YouTube’s user base exploded in size almost instantly.
Facebook and Twitter, also relatively new ideas, allow users to share running commentaries on their lives, as well as including pictures along the way. These resources allow unprecedented access to the daily doings of anyone interested in so sharing with, well, anyone who signs up! And while some people are a bit nervous about posting their doings on the internet for all to see and read about, they can easily take the approach of only posting casual information, such as, ˜Heading out to see the latest Harry Potter film. These sorts of updates provide friends with conversational fodder, while keeping anyone with malicious intentions at bay, by providing no specifics as to location, time, or people coming along on the outing.
Perhaps this sense of safety is part of the reason for the recent explosion in societal communication. Online communications tools provide anonymity which has been hard to come by in past history. In Ben Franklins time, for example, anyone who wanted to submit an article for publication had to submit it to the newspapers editor for review prior to publication. Not only did the editor see it, but the typesetter did as well. In todays communication era, its easy to stay protected and still speak ones mind to the masses.