8.1 Technology Today
Can you think of people in your own life who support or defy the premise that access to technology leads to greater opportunities? How have you noticed technology use and opportunity to be linked, or does your experience contradict this idea?
Should the United States government be responsible for providing all citizens with access to the internet? Or is gaining internet access an individual responsibility?
How has digital media changed social interactions? Do you believe it has deepened or weakened human connections? Defend your answer.
Conduct sociological research. Google yourself. How much information about you is available to the public? How many and what types of companies offer private information about you for a fee? Compile the data and statistics you find. Write a paragraph or two about the social issues and behaviors you notice.
8.2 Media and Technology in Society
Where and how do you get your news? Do you watch network television? Read the newspaper? Go online? How about your parents or grandparents? Do you think it matters where you seek out information? Why or why not?
Do you believe new media allows for the kind of unifying moments that television and radio programming used to? If so, give an example.
Where are you most likely to notice advertisements? What causes them to catch your attention?
8.3 Global Implications
Do you believe that technology has indeed flattened the world in terms of providing opportunity? Why or why not? Give examples to support your reason.
Where do you get your news? Is it owned by a large conglomerate (you can do a web search and find out!)? Does it matter to you who owns your local news outlets? Why or why not?
Who do you think is most likely to bring innovation and technology (like cell phone businesses) to Sub-Saharan Africa: nonprofit organizations, governments, or businesses? Why?
8.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology
Contrast a functionalist viewpoint of digital surveillance with a conflict perspective viewpoint.
In what ways has the internet affected how you view reality? Explain using a symbolic interactionist perspective.
Describe how a cyberfeminist might address the fact that powerful female politicians are often demonized in traditional media.
The issue of airplane-pilot exhaustion is an issue of growing media concern. Select a theoretical perspective and describe how it would explain this.
Would you characterize yourself as a technophile or a Luddite? Explain, using examples.