The New York Times recently launched a massive project on what they call the “Post-Text Future,” referring to our society post the technological revolution of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The piece seemingly portrays our new post-tech society as negative, with pictures and gifs of people tattooed in symbols of social media, memes and text message conversations.
While we understand there are indeed negative side-effects of technology, such as the everlasting anxiety induced by social media notifications, the rise of terrifying political groups in the dark recesses of 4chan and virtual money becoming the norm, we don’t want to spend our time here discussing the negatives of our new society. We’ve already done that.
Other parts of the series portray society in a more positive light by taking some cultural advancements into consideration. We have a new vocabulary! Emojis, Bitcoins #MirrorSelfie #Hashtag.
Along with new vocab words and derogatory terms toward white men, our internet has turned toward a more visual-based platform, hence NYT’s term “post-text,” a time beyond words. The New York Times may frame this in a negative light, by saying visual media will kill off prose- and text-based platforms, but we think there will be a healthy balance between the two types of media. Also, we love to look at our Instagram timelines and catch up on memes.
With an image revolution comes an audio revolution. The use of text is not only backing down to be on level with picture heavy websites, but audiobooks and podcasts are becoming more and more popular among people who love to ingest knowledge.
The piece reports people spent one billion hours watching YouTube. Other video sources include Netflix, Vine, videos on Twitter and Facebook, and these surely received similar numbers in recent years. This may feel hard to swallow, but it isn’t the end of the world. We are still just broadening our horizons.
The revolutionized internet has given us many other wonderful things. It is helping make people and businesses more responsible for their actions. The piece refers to a woman who repeatedly reported sexual harassment in the workplace but saw no consequence implemented until after going the #MeToo movement. We’ve all seen the way this movement has grown exponentially on the internet with videos, long blog posts and protests on television.
Businesses are being held accountable for who they target their ads toward as well as who they represent. No company can support any sort of bigotry or hate fueled ideology without being put under fire by the internet. Ads were withdrawn from YouTube videos over inappropriate content children might access, leading YouTube to fix their content regulations.
People are becoming more creative in this content boom and are being held responsible. The post-tech and post-text revolution is not inherently bad for our future. Let’s hold off on making total judgement and see what the next decade has in store for us.
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