New technological innovations have always altered lifestyles in society; Computers and related information technology are no exception. In an actual sense, changes in information and technology have changed society as profoundly as say the discovery of steam power. Computers and networks have provided a new platform where interaction between individuals, cultures, and society has been made easy. Computer technology has influenced every facet of most Americans’ life and altered daily interaction. Besides influencing American culture, computers have been instrumental in reshaping relationships, reading culture, sharing of information, and every facet of American lifestyles. In a very critical way, computer networks have simplified geographical boundaries hence individuals can interact and watch TV shows, music, and news from other parts of the world, via the internet in the comfort of their beds.
Social Networking sites
Computer networking has swayed how information is passed on from one location to the other. Networking technologies such as routing have made it possible for speedy and secure sharing of information over long distances (Burd, 2005). This has gradually led to the birth of safe social networking sites. Social interaction through social sites such as Facebook is now part of the core fabric of American society. The social sites, provide fun and are helping most Americans to strengthen the connection among family, friends, and business associates.
Americans, commonly use popular social networking sites such as MySpace, Twitter Linked and Facebook on a daily basis (Morley, 2008). Americans view online presence as a form of “hanging out” instead of conventional methods of socializing. Networking sites provide an opportunity of meeting different kinds of people around the world, therefore, fixing interaction by building friendship (Morley, 2008).
With efficient search tools incorporated in social sites, it is simple for a person to search for old schoolmates or ex co-workers with whom he or she lost contact. Apart from general social sites, Americans have embraced special websites. For example, book lovers find ‘Goodreads’ a great site to visit. There is ‘DeviantArt’ for artists and Epernicus for scientists to share their findings and learn from each other thus strengthening professional acumen. However, whereas social networking has been strong in creating new friendships across the world for Americans, it has eroded social skills. For instance, due to a lack of face-to-face interaction with real people in society, Americans are continually living or adopting kind of secluded lifestyles (Zittrain, 2008).
Faster and Stylish Communication
A networked computer connected to the internet has contributed to the quick transmission of information from one location to the other. An email has simplified communication and provided a reliable method where messages can be relayed fast unlike the conventional postage system in American society.
The emailing system allows a person to write a message, scan and attach a document, or pictures and send it to several people located far apart at a touch of a button (Greiffenstern, 2010). This saves time and money. Besides, instant messaging systems such as Msn, yahoo, and AOL are commonly used by Americans to chat or post comments in real-time (Greiffenstern, 2010).
To add taste in messaging, computers have incorporated icons commonly known as “emoticons” or “smilies” (Greiffenstern, 2010). The emoticons help to display the emotional attitude of the sender (Greiffenstern, 2010). Emoticons have replaced exhaustive imageries of real-life emotions but fix information, which senders consider to suggest. Further, integrating computers and smartphones has increased the flexibility of accessing information and enhanced Americans’ capability to communicate while on the move. Conversations have taken a complex direction by embracing “text talk” which has strayed Americans from conventional humanity ethics (Greiffenstern, 2010). Texting has been a daily norm and thus it has overtaken the traditional role of formal conversation (Greiffenstern, 2010). Oral communication is slowly becoming a past tense in society as the society embraces mobile tools to pass information fast and efficiently (Greiffenstern, 2010).
Due to their way of life, Americans tend to have busy schedules. Working to provide for the family as well as attending night school is the norm. Computers have simplified their workload by aiding e-learning. Online schools have emerged and they provide convenient learning options to busy individuals (Zittrain, 2008). Several colleges and universities in the US have established online interaction interfaces allowing students and lecturers to interact like in a “real classroom” (Zittrain, 2008). Online Students can comfortably start a course with less effort and reliance on tutors or teachers. This is because computers have established a beneficial flair for teaching. The study session can easily be simulated by software and other seller utilities earmarked for the course (Zittrain, 2008). Consequently, online exams and certificates are becoming a common feature. Testing of students has become very easy because computer technology has made it easy for results to be released in a few seconds hence saving time in waiting (Berker et al., 2006).
Online shopping in the US society has grown enormously. People stay in the comfort of their homes and do shopping (Zittrain, 2008). More e-markets have emerged to provide society with more shopping preferences. Online shopping platforms such as eBay, Amazon, and major groceries outlets allow people to place their orders and wait for delivery at their doorstep (Zukin, 2004).
Online shopping has changed the social interaction of people. For example, customers need minimal interaction with sales clerks or spend less time in a queue waiting to be served (Zukin, 2004). Most Americans are music, games, movies, and other media enthusiasts. It is easy to download an MP3 file from iTunes and other leading stores directly on iPod, smartphone, computer, or another device without actually visiting a physical store (Zukin, 2004). Musicians have taken advantage of online shopping by buying digital sheets to develop at the comfort of their homes (Zukin, 2004).
Busy schedules of life and inadequate time to visit social places searching for friendship and romance for most Americans have been simplified by computer technology. Tight routines and time constraints of individuals hamper them from meeting single people of the opposite sex. When this challenge occurs, cyberspace is seen as an alternative; providing a hunting ground. Online relationships provide an opportunity for people to engage in a bold, direct, and intimate conversation on issues they are interested in with a wide geographical reach (Greiffenstern, 2010). A section of the American population views online dating as emotionally purer, less noisy, and more exciting than conventional relationships.
Online relationship enhances emotional sincerity and discards superficial politeness. This is because online relationships do not incorporate text-based nonverbal information; it makes it leaner. Consequently, Americans view it as less rich, impersonal and involving, than off-line relationships (Ben-Ze’ve, 2004). Most people advertise themselves online by creating an enticing profile encompassed with a nice-looking picture to ensure they attract lonely singles online. Online sites have criteria for matching couples with their desired needs. For example, they link people based on named personality traits, setups, single parents, religion among other criteria (Ben-Ze’ve, 2004).
A considerable number of Americans appreciate that online dating provides a possible hunting field where they can land a possible soul mate (Greiffenstern, 2010). However, online dating has elicited some undesirable effects on American society. It has promoted pornography and affected the already existing relationship between a wife and a husband in the ways they treat each other. The presence of chat rooms and social networking sites have contributed to nonphysical infidelity as many people are using it to find an alternate mate (Ben-Ze’ev, 2004).
Long-distance relationships have been strengthened by the advent of the Short Message Service embraced by mobile texting technology (Ben-Ze’ev, 2004).SMS messages allow text to be sent by means of a mobile network to the intended recipient (Burd,2005). Mobile texting technology has widely been embraced by most American teenagers who believe that it is a more personal, convenient, and direct form of connection (Ben-Ze’ve, 2004). They view that texting is a sure way of strengthening casual connections flirting and significant for a brief or gossip chat (Ben-Ze’ev, 2004). Besides, texting increases privacy and convenience because messages can be sent and received silently avoiding disturbances to those around (Ben-Ze’ev, 2004).
Computers have improved the way American society communicates, do business, and dissemination of information. Computers connected to the internet have altered reading habits and the way societies expect to obtain information and entertainment. A computer networked to the internet provides an avenue calling for sharing and receiving volumes of information fast (Berker et al, 2006).
Further, computer technology such as Kindle, which allows people to access and read books without necessarily owning a physical book, has made reading material more accessible. Reading habits have shifted publication avenues (Berker et al, 2006). For instance, writers who contribute to publications such as magazines, newspapers, articles and other publications have altered formatting aspects to comply with internet guidelines (Berker et al, 2006, p.108). People have altered their reading culture, they no longer need long informational articles, but they skim to get needed information of interest fast (Berker et al, 2006).
The advancement of computer technology contributed to the immense reshaping of American Society. As discussed in this paper, there are positive changes but also negative impacts of computer technology on American Society. This paper has explored social networking sites, fast internet communication, online dating, online learning, and improved reading culture as ways in which computer technology has influenced American society. What is clear is that Americans’ lives have become dependent on computer technologies.
Ben-Ze’ev, A. (2004). Love Online: Emotions On The Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Berker, T., Hartmann, M., & Punie, Y. (2006). Domestication of Media and Technology. New York: McGraw-Hill International
Burd, S. D. (2005). Systems Architecture. Massachusetts: Thompson/Course Technology
Greiffenstern, S. (2010).The Influence of Computers, the Internet and Computer- Mediated Communication on Everyday English. Berlin: Logos Verlag
Morley, D. (2008). Understanding Computers: Today and Tomorrow, Introductory. New York: Cengage Learning
Zittrain, J. (2008). Domestication of Media and Technology. Connecticut: Yale University Press.
Zukin, S. (2004). Point Of Purchase: How Shopping Changed American Culture. New York: Routledge