I was reflecting while in class yesterday and afterwards about this digital age that seems to have already started among the general population and is slowly making its way into the classroom and academic circles. I will be one of the first to admit that I much prefer conferring and bouncing ideas off one another face-to-face versus using the internet. I understand that there are times when it is not possible; especially when the people involved are not able to meet in a timely manner. Thus, I see the usefulness of the internet, blogging and ways to “meet” virtually.
I think we are still a long ways off, though, from completely transferring our use from actual books to the internet. After watching the ‘did you know 4.0’ video, one of the points of interest was how by 2020 it is predicted that the medium through which people will access the internet will be their personal cellphones. It is kind of mind-boggling, however one only has to step into a crowded area to see the number of iphones, blackberries, etc. that are already in use. Is it old-fashioned of me to still only want a simple cellphone that sends text messages and maybe has a camera? Is it old-fashioned of me that while I absolutely love the use of databases the fact that I still love even more being able to look up books and put them physically in my hand? Not that I desire to return to the age where internet has not made things easier (according to most) … I would rather say different. Just like when cars were invented and people began using them versus their own two feet or a carriage and buggy; a different mode of transportation had been born.
On a slightly different tangent, or perhaps a return to my original point of this post, I am marvelling at the ability that audiences of digital historical collections through the use of blogs, forums, etc. can bring together people from all over the world with different perspectives, ideas, cultures, etc. The first example of this that popped into my head was facebook groups. For groups that identify with a core purpose, you get all kinds of people joining and while some have no idea what they are talking about, sometimes genuine, intellectual conversations can occur. This is what the digital age is for (or should be)- an expanding of ways in which we can share knowledge with ever-expanding audiences.