During our evolutionary journey from "Homo erectus" to "Neanderthal" and then to "Homo sapiens", we have come a long way. Because of our continuous quest for more amenities and better standard of living, we have been able to invent and discover many new things. The nineties witnessed a major revolution with the invention of the first electronic digital computers. Till then, the term Internet was practically unknown to most people. However, today, the Internet has become the most powerful tool for people around the world. With the advent of Internet, our earth has virtually reduced in size and has attained the form of a global village.
The Internet can be explained as a network of computers, designed to receive and send data in the form of e-mails, blogs, webcasts, etc. To put it simply, it can be likened to a super-massive server, armed with a plethora of information which is used by billions of people simultaneously. The Internet is basically "a network that connects other, smaller networks". All modern technologies are connected by the Internet, thereby leaving no stone unturned. This digital world can be a playground for some and a battlefield for others.
The Internet has become an indispensable business tool, which has helped bring the world closer. Receiving news from across the world, accessing knowledge resources, and shopping online are simply a click away. The Internet has tremendous potential and a lot to offer in terms of services. However, like every other innovation in science and technology, the Internet comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, which have been discussed in this Buzzle article.
Note: You can find a significantly updated and expanded version of this post describing the benefits of online communication for community engagement here, and another describing the disadvantages of online communication of community engagement here.
I found this on Wikiversity, one of the many resources on Wikipedia, today. Whenever we talk about engaging communities online we are inevitably questioned about “exclusion” issues. What socio-demographic group does this technology favour? Who is being excluded from this debate?
As with any and all community engagement techniques, online community engagement is not a panacea. It has advantages and disadvantages. It is a relatively easy technology for some and relatively more difficult for others. There are two critical messages… No technique can stand alone. And, just because a technique is new that doesn’t mean it has to solve every single problem to be worthwhile.
What follows is drawn from a post on Wikiversity about online education. Many of the comments and lessons are similar and familiar, particularly if you think about the community engagement process as a mutual learning space.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Communication
|Flexibility: accessible 24×7, any place as long as you have an internet connection||Text-based: Predominantly relies on inputting text which can be challenging for those who don’t like to write or have poor keyboard skills, but with the advance of broadband connectivity and voice and video conference technology – this will be less of an issue.|
|Levelling: reserved people who usually don’t speak up can say as much as they like while “loud” people are just another voice and can’t interrupt||No physical cues: without facial expressions and gestures or the ability to retract immediately there’s a big risk of misunderstanding|
|Documented: unlike verbal conversation, online discussion is lasting and can be revisited||Information overload: a large volume of messages can be overwhelming and hard to follow, even stress-inducing|
|Encourages reflection: participants don’t have to contribute until they’ve thought about the issue and feel ready||Threads: logical sequence of discussion is often broken by users not sticking to the topic (thread)|
|Relevance: provides a place for real life examples and experience to be exchanged||Time lag: even if you log on daily, 24 hours can seem like a long time if you’re waiting for a reply; and then the discussion could have moved on and left you behind|
|Choice: a quick question or comment, or a long reflective account are equally possible||Inefficient: it takes longer than verbal conversation and so it’s hard to reply to all the points in a message, easily leaving questions unanswered|
|Community: over time can develop into a supportive, stimulating community which participants come to regard as the high point of their course||Isolation: some learners prefer to learn on their own and don’t participate in the discussions|
|Limitless: you can never predict where the discussion will go; the unexpected often results in increased incidental learning||Directionless: participants used to having a teacher or instructor telling them what to do can find it a leaderless environment (and that’s where tutors come in|
Photo Credit: Good, Bad & Ugly by Nishanth Jois
Published Date: 2 November 2008Last modified on January 19, 2018