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Science & Technology

Published on June 19th, 2014 | by Morgan Wolfe
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Political influences created by technology

In celebration of technology week, we reflect on how current day technologies affect the way the public consumes political information.

Information on an old fashioned telegraph took days or weeks to receive, now it takes seconds. Technology allows people to have information at their fingertips, a double standard that has created the fastest known game of ‘telephone’ to man­. An informative tool that is valuable for finding current political information.

As everyone knows, radios were the first medium created that was able to spread information to a massive number of people at one time. Then, televisions were invented and people were allowed to see what they were used to hearing. But how did consumers interact with the content producers?

Exactly, there wasn’t any.

It wasn’t until the invention of the Internet and World Wide Web. They completely revolutionised the world. The Internet impacted the global communication landscape immediately. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s information was communicated through two-way telecommunications networks by 2007. Gradually, anyone and everyone popularised various social media networks. Twitter–a site where you convey your thoughts in a post with a maximum 140 characters–allowed people to connect to the famous on a more personal level. Prior to Twitter, the public never had the ability to do this digitally.

Similar to the profound impacts the Internet has had on global communication, the World Wide Web opened enormous amounts of doors all over. Information that used to take a trip to the library to learn could be accessed with a click of a mouse. Two men were once laughed at for working in a garage trying to create their vision, a website that would direct people to information they searched. Their laughable vision has now turned into a household name–Google.

Information then became physically accessible at our fingertips with the invention of the smartphone. Suddenly, finding a computer to research information became a chore, because you could do it on your phone. I mention all of these technology inventions and advancements because they contribute to how we consume politics, and how it can influence our thoughts.

Politicians, in particular, can utilise these technologies to their advantage. Their social media networks are helpful for consumers to follow their daily updates, and information of their choosing. In addition, consumers have the luxury of following other forms of media that can share information on those politicians–good or bad. This is important for consumers, because it can influence their opinions. Consumers do reap the benefits of all these technologies, because without them we would not be receiving this information at such a fast rate.

Early on, former US president Richard Nixon experienced a technology pitfall when his recordings on Watergate were publicly released. His resignation in 1974 over this scandal will never be forgotten, nor will his tainted image.

All thanks to technology.

However, it took more time for the public to learn of the recordings than it would in this day and age. Again, another benefit for consumers.

For decades, innovators have created massive amounts of technology equipped with all these tools. They did it for the welfare of others, and now you have the benefit of discovering your own political thoughts and opinions.

All of these tools and information lay freely at your fingertips. Use them at your choosing.

Please note that all blog posts do not represent the views of Catch21 but only of the individual writers. We also aim to be factually accurate and balanced across all content taken as a whole.

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About the Author

Morgan Wolfe

I am a student beginning my third year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, studying Professional Journalism and Political Science. Dedicated to knowing current events, you can often find me watching the news or scrolling through my twitter feed, but in my free time I prefer to be outside running or reading.

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