Thursday, March 7, 2013
Global Electronic Connectedness
We live in a world where mobile and cellular phones are becoming universal, and internet connectivity is rising fast. A half-century ago, Marshall McLuhan wrote about the previous century of electronic interconnection (telegraph, radio, telephone, television) and what was to come. He argued: "The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village." The 2013 ICT Facts and Figures (that is, Information and Communications Technology) from the International Telecommunication Union gives a sense of how we are heading for that global village.
The number of subscriptions to mobile and cellular services is approaching the world population.
What about use of the internet? The proportion of those using the internet is rising fast everywhere, but is more than twice as high in developed economies. Here are overall statistics, and a breakdown by region.
Those who want more details, information about price trends, and the like, can start by consulting the ITU report on "Measuring the Information Society 2012." In my own life, my sense is that at least so far the internet is often a way of accomplishing the same pre-internet tasks faster: that is, it's faster and easier to find an article, send a manuscript, check a quotation, fine a movie time, pay a bill, get directions, buy a book, drop a note to a friend, and so on. But I suspect that in the global village, my personal life and my environment are going to be shaped more and more by abilities, activities, and interconnections that would have been inconceivable before the global village. Of course, this blog is one such activity.