Sunday, October 09, 2005

Digital Culture: Where Technology Becomes a Daily Necessity

Throughout 2004 information technology, or IT, has played a pivotal role in shaping diverse cultures. The borders between technology and everyday life were blurred as IT has become irreversibly intertwined with culture. Here are the hottest issues of 2004 brought about by digital culture.

▶ Digital camera phones - versatile entertainers
Sales of camera phones in Korea in 2004 have recorded 13 million units with the ratio of camera phones to the total trade volume of mobile phones soaring to 81 percent. Camera phones have become a necessity. Shortly after 3 million pixel phones were released to the camera phone market, Samsung Electronics developed a 5 million pixel phone, creating another boom in the mobile phone market.

As demand for smarter phones was rising, mobile phones have evolved into versatile entertainers with MP3 and TV functions. Mobile phones are not simply mechanical devices anymore; they are the creators of a new culture. These days, mobile phones are increasingly used as personal computers to exchange messages and surf mini-homepages and blogs.
But as with everything else, there is a downside to this as well. The record industry suffered huge losses in 2004 because of copyright infringements caused by MP3 phones.

▶ Digital camera frenzy: Taking pictures anywhere, anytime
According to recently released data, sales of digital cameras surpassed 1 million units in October 2004, and are likely to reach at least 1.4 million units by the end of this year. Digital cameras, which have become a daily necessity for X-generation users, are not merely a tool for taking pictures anymore ? they are a symbol of fun.
Digital camera fans, or “dica-jok” in Korean, enjoy posting digital pictures on their mini-homepages and in blogs to share with others. What makes these people peculiar is that they take pictures of everything around them ? even when having meals or hanging out with their friends. Taking pictures and posting them on the Internet is fun for them.
Digital camera fans also contribute greatly to capturing and reporting corporate and social irregularities as they always carry digital cameras with them. Thanks to digital pictures posted online in the second half of 2004, food companies learned a harsh lesson for producing substandard products and still do not dare to ease tension.


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