Digital Media and Information in Society/Discussions/9-Computers1980sToPresent

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Rise of Personal Computing (1980s-1990s)[1][edit | edit source]

IBM PC and Microsoft Windows[edit | edit source]

  • IBM PC: Launched in 1981, the IBM PC set the standard for personal computing in business environments. Key features included its open architecture and compatibility with a range of software and hardware.
  • Microsoft Windows: Introduced in 1985, Windows provided a graphical user interface (GUI) that was more user-friendly compared to the command-line interfaces of the time. Key developments over this period included the introduction of Windows 3.0 in 1990 and Windows 95 in 1995, which significantly enhanced the user experience and solidified Microsoft's position in the OS market.

Apple Macintosh[edit | edit source]

  • Launch and Impact: The Macintosh, introduced by Apple in 1984, was pivotal in popularizing the graphical user interface. Its focus on design and ease of use, with features like the mouse and drop-down menus, appealed to a broader consumer base beyond traditional computing enthusiasts.
  • Cultural Impact: The famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial for Macintosh symbolized Apple's approach to making technology accessible and personal, contrasting with the perceived complexity of other computers.

Other Influential Systems[edit | edit source]

  • Commodore and Amiga: Commodore's computers, particularly the Commodore 64, were widely used in the 1980s for both home and educational purposes. The Amiga series, known for its multimedia capabilities, was influential in video production and gaming.
  • Influence on Software Development: This era saw the rise of software companies like Adobe and Microsoft Office, providing tools that made computers essential for business and creative work.

Impact on Society[edit | edit source]

  • Shift in Usage: The introduction of these computers transformed them from niche, hobbyist devices to essential tools in businesses and homes.
  • Changes in Work and Play: The widespread adoption of PCs revolutionized how people worked, introducing new possibilities in word processing, accounting, and graphic design. In leisure, the rise of PC gaming and multimedia applications marked the beginning of a new entertainment era.

The Internet and Early Online Services (Late 1980s-1990s)[edit | edit source]

From ARPANET to the Internet[edit | edit source]

  • Transition to Public Network: Discuss the evolution from ARPANET, initially a military and academic network, to the public Internet. Highlight the adoption of TCP/IP protocols in 1983 as a crucial turning point that enabled diverse network integration.
  • Significance of Protocols: Emphasize the role of protocols like TCP/IP in creating a standardized and accessible network, which laid the groundwork for the modern Internet.

Early Online Services[edit | edit source]

  • CompuServe: One of the first major online services, launched in the late 1970s, offering email, forums, and file sharing. It became a gateway for many to the online world.
  • AOL (America Online): Known for its user-friendly interface, AOL popularized internet access in the 1990s, providing services like email, instant messaging, and its own browser.
  • Prodigy: An early online service that combined features of CompuServe and AOL, with a focus on home shopping and news services.

Early Internet Culture[edit | edit source]

  • Usenet: An early internet discussion system where users could post and read messages on various topics. It was a precursor to modern forums and social media.
  • IRC (Internet Relay Chat): Introduced in 1988, IRC was a foundational platform for real-time text-based communication, paving the way for later instant messaging systems.
  • BBS (Bulletin Board System): These systems allowed users to connect via modem to a host computer, sharing messages, files, and playing games. They were critical in building early online communities.

Impact on Society[edit | edit source]

  • Foundation for Global Connectivity: These early services and platforms laid the groundwork for the global, interconnected Internet we have today.
  • Early Digital Communities: Highlight the role of these services in fostering the first digital communities, setting the stage for the social media revolution.
  • Introduction to Online Interaction: For many users, these platforms were the first experience of online communication, setting expectations and norms for digital interaction.

The Web and Browsers (1990s)[edit | edit source]

Birth of the World Wide Web[edit | edit source]

  • Tim Berners-Lee’s Contribution: Detail the pivotal role of Tim Berners-Lee in inventing the World Wide Web in 1989, including the creation of HTML, URL, and HTTP.
  • First Website: Mention the launch of the first website in 1991 at CERN, marking the start of the web as a public information space.

Browser Wars[edit | edit source]

  • Netscape Navigator: Highlight its launch in 1994 as a groundbreaking browser that popularized the web and introduced innovations like cookies and JavaScript.
  • Internet Explorer: Discuss Microsoft's entry into the browser market with Internet Explorer in 1995, leading to intense competition with Netscape.
  • Impact on Web Standards: Explore how the browser wars influenced the development of web standards and technologies, such as HTML and CSS.

Web 1.0 Characteristics[edit | edit source]

  • Static Web Pages: Explain the predominance of static, read-only content in the early web, focusing on information dissemination.
  • Emergence of Search Engines: Detail the rise of early search engines like Yahoo! (1994) and Google (1998), which organized the growing web.

Impact on Society[edit | edit source]

  • Democratization of Information: Discuss how the web transformed access to information, making it more widely available than ever before.
  • Global Connectivity: Emphasize the role of the web in connecting people across the globe, fostering a new level of international communication and collaboration.
  • Foundation for Future Innovations: Highlight how the developments of the 1990s set the stage for subsequent advancements in web technology and online interaction.

Social Media Evolution (2000s-Present)[edit | edit source]

Emergence of Social Networking[edit | edit source]

  • New Phenomenon: Discuss the emergence of social networking as a new form of online interaction, fundamentally different from previous internet communication tools.
  • Shift from Geographic to Interest-Based Groups: Elaborate on how social media allowed for the formation of communities based on shared interests, transcending geographical boundaries.

Early Platforms[edit | edit source]

  • Friendster: Introduced in 2002, one of the first platforms to implement the concept of a network of 'friends'. Highlight its role in setting the stage for future social networks and profile-based interactions.
  • MySpace: Detail its rise in 2003, focusing on customizable profiles, music sharing, and how it served as a digital space for self-expression and artist promotion.

Rise of Facebook and Twitter[edit | edit source]

  • Facebook: From its 2004 inception at Harvard, discuss its expansion and key features like News Feed and Like button. Emphasize its role in connecting people beyond immediate geographic communities.
  • Twitter: Launched in 2006, highlight its microblogging format, use of hashtags for topic aggregation, and its influence on real-time news sharing and public discourse.

Visual and Short-Form Content Platforms[edit | edit source]

  • Instagram: Introduced in 2010, focus on its photo-sharing model, Stories feature, and how it revolutionized visual content sharing on social media.
  • Snapchat: Discuss its 2011 debut with disappearing content, innovative AR filters, and how it catered to a more dynamic, real-time sharing experience.
  • TikTok: Launched in 2016, emphasize its short-form video format, role in creating viral trends, and its profound influence on youth culture and content consumption.

Societal Impact[edit | edit source]

  • Personal Communication Transformation: Analyze the shift in how individuals connect, share, and maintain relationships online, moving away from traditional communication methods.
  • Marketing and Business Evolution: Discuss the transformation of marketing strategies with the rise of influencer culture and targeted advertising on these platforms.
  • Influence on Public Discourse: Highlight the significant role of social media in shaping political narratives, social movements, and public opinion globally.

Modern Developments and Trends (2010s-Present)[edit | edit source]

Smartphones and Mobile Apps[edit | edit source]

  • Transformation of Communication: Smartphones have become ubiquitous, with over 3.8 billion users worldwide as of 2021. They have significantly increased internet accessibility, enabling constant connectivity.
  • Key Apps: WhatsApp has surpassed 2 billion users globally, emphasizing the shift towards instant messaging. Apps like Instagram have transformed social media into a more visual platform, with over 1 billion monthly active users.

Streaming Services[edit | edit source]

  • Rise of Platforms like Netflix and YouTube: Netflix reached over 200 million subscribers by 2021, revolutionizing how people consume TV and movies. YouTube reports over 2 billion logged-in monthly users, highlighting the popularity of user-generated content.
  • Impact on Traditional Media: Traditional TV viewership has been declining, with a significant number of households opting for streaming services. This shift has pressured traditional media companies to adapt and invest in online platforms.

The Gig Economy[edit | edit source]

  • New Economic Models: Platforms like Uber and Airbnb have popularized the gig economy, with Uber having over 93 million monthly active platform consumers globally. Airbnb listings have grown to over 5.6 million globally, showcasing the expansion of peer-to-peer accommodation sharing.
  • Communication Methods: These platforms rely heavily on mobile app-based communication, offering real-time tracking and feedback systems. This has introduced a new level of transparency and efficiency in service delivery.

Advances in Generative AI[edit | edit source]

  • Latest Development in AI: Generative AI has been used to create realistic art and deepfakes, raising questions about authenticity in digital media. AI-driven content generation tools are being integrated into industries from journalism to software development.
  • Impact and Applications: AI algorithms have been used to write news articles and generate code, potentially transforming content creation and software development processes. Ethical concerns include the potential for misuse in creating misleading information and displacing human jobs.

Societal Impact[edit | edit source]

  • Changes in Daily Life: The integration of these technologies has led to a more on-demand lifestyle, with services like food delivery and online shopping becoming increasingly popular. The use of social media and streaming services has significantly altered leisure activities and media consumption habits.
  • Economic and Cultural Shifts: The gig economy has created new job opportunities but also raised questions about job security and workers' rights. The rise of streaming services and generative AI is reshaping the entertainment industry, challenging traditional production and distribution models.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Steven M. Schneider in collaboration with ChatGPT. Tech Evolution: 1980s-Present.