Riding the Tide of Technology

by Vanessa Loy (BPRW)

Riding the Tide of Technology
If you don’t know already, a “new media” is taking the world by storm. Some people are still getting used to the “old media.” If you are in this category, don’t worry about catching up. Just learning some new vocabulary will explain the direction of future technology.

Blogs: The term “blog” was initially taken from the expression “web log.” A blog is simply a website with entries expressing various ideas, usually in reverse chronological order. Private individuals use blogs as diaries of their lives, columnists use them to archive their writings, activists use them to mobilize their allies, entertainers use them to communicate with their fans, businesses use them to promote new products, and the list can go on endlessly.

Social Networking Sites: These websites exist to host personal profiles whereby people can meet and reunite with each other. These sites often host subgroups based on any number of factors. Groups may, for example, unite members who live in a particular city, have a particular political affiliation, graduated from the same school, enjoy a style of music, or are of the same religion. Members usually have the option to control what profile aspects are visible to outsiders, other members and those specifically designated as friends.

IM: Instant Messaging, or IM, is the “live” version of email communication. Emails are sent by the sender and read by the recipient in the same manner that people send and receive regular mail. IM, in contrast, is similar to a telephone call. Communicating parties know when each other is available or away. IM allows several parties to communicate instantly, and some services allow live speaking for parties with webcam capabilities.

Picture/Video Phones: Third-generation (3G) technology brought us camera phones integrated with the Internet for uploading pictures online. The latest models now allow for video calls between system-compatible users, essentially videoconferencing for cell phones.

What do these terms mean for the African American market? According to a 2005 survey by BIGresearch, new media – blogs, IM and picture phones in particular – influences African Americans’ purchasing decisions more so than that of Whites. Those who would reach African Americans must realize that this is a technologically sophisticated demographic and target their messages accordingly.
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