ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Virtual Revolution

Will the new communication tools change the way human beings live and work?

The past few years have seen a massive growth in new communication technologies and mediums. The mobile phone has been the leader of this charge, with global cellphone users now numbering well over four and a half billion. The internet, though less, has about 1.7 billion users. These are both a stounding figures, especially if we consider that even at the turn of the century, mobile phone users were about 600 million and concentrated in the 20 richest countries; the internet had an even lesser reach a decade ago.

Riding on this veritable explosion of the means of communication, the manner of communication too is rapidly changing. Email was the first to erase the distances inherent in written communication. In recent years, the emergence of social networking on the internet is doing the same thing but at a wider social level. Let us take the example of the largest social networking site at present – Facebook. It has over 400 million active users globally who share more than five billion pieces of content (news, photos, blogs, events, etc) with each other every week and post details of about 3.5 million events each month. It is adding between 5,00,000 and 7,00,000 new members each day. Suddenly, people who could communicate in real time only with those who were physically proximate can do so now with hundreds of people (if not more) all over the globe.

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