PBS’s FRONTLINE recently took a fascinating look at our evolving online culture in a film that explores the pros and cons of the brave new media world we all inhabit. The film, titled Digital Nation, challenges assumptions about the negative effects of digital culture on childhood learning while also questioning if we even understand the social changes wrought by our always-online culture enough to render a verdict on the effects our virtual lives are having on society.
Showing a more optimistic attitude, Philip Rosedale of Second Life argues that in the last 50 years we have gone from movies shared in theaters to movies shared by a small at-home VCR audience to movies enjoyed solo on our iPods to a new social experience in which we can be physically alone but still communicating in real-time with many others via Facebook posts and Twitter feeds (remember the CNN/Facebook/Obama inauguration?). Have we come full circle and is the technology that once separated us now advancing to the point it can bring us back together, albeit in new ways? Great questions indeed. Answers TBD.
The film is available free online at PBS.org. A trailer is provided below.