Diversity in the Workplace

Gender and racial diversity manifests online in a much broader way than it does so in a physical space. Online media may demonstrate more diversity, yet it is seen less in the workplace. It is apparent in the media industry, specifically tech, that gender and racial diversity is sparse. In “Gender and Technology: Women’s Usage, Creation and Perspectives,” Cindy Royal explains that “technology can provide a voice to the voiceless in a setting where one’s identity can remain anonymous and potentially fluid.”

Royal mentions that “computer technology has an active and pervasive presence in the lives of most Americans, and its influence grows worldwide.” While the tech industry is rapidly growing, it demonstrates an impediment in its diversity. Also, having worked in various media-related companies, I realized it was evident that the majority included white males. While the industry seems to be opening its doors to more gender and racial diversity, it is moving ever so slowly to achieving that goal.

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Royal sheds light to the fact that “the computer industry offers a place where gender issues magnify those of the workplace in general.” This can be discouraging at times to those who are trying to enter the mass communication field. Individuals can feel closed off by the lack of diversity that exists in the industry. It feels as though someone can be just as qualified as another, but the company can tend to select their employees based on the individual’s gender or race.

In regards to women working in the tech industry, Royal mentions that women are steered away from working in this field due to the reasoning of “that’s just the way it is,” according to her article “Tech-savvy women seek support in classroom and newsroom.” It seems as though many women have accepted that this is a primarily male-oriented industry, and they rarely discuss methods of improving this issue. Also, in her article, Royal states that “only 11% of top earners at high-tech companies are women.”

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Photo Credit: Recode

Furthermore, Royal touches on how females and ethnic minorities are marginalized in the tech industry in her article “Cindy Royal: Journalism schools need to get better at teaching tech where the girls are.” In an article in Recode, Eric Johnson demonstrates how more people are speaking up about sexual harassment in the tech industry. Similarly, Susan J. Fowler describes her experience while working at Uber in her article “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber.” She describes her difficult encounter with Human Resources when dealing with an incident of sexual harassment with on of her superiors. She was offered little to no options when dealing with the situation. As mentioned, this can cause discouragement among individuals, specifically women or ethnic minorities, when deciding on a career path in the tech or other media-related industries.

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Moreover, Megan Rose Dickey explains that African-Americans in the tech industry are scarce, but this is beginning to change. In her article “The 46 Most Important African-American in Technology, Dickey mentions that “Apple appointed Denise Young Smith to lead its worldwide human resources division – a position previously held by a white man.” Apple boasts about their new Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity, who reports to CEO Tim Cook. While diversity in the media industry is lacking, it is clear that women and ethnic minorities are fighting for their place in these related fields.

The Innovation of Video Streaming

Video streaming services, in addition to video on demand, have increasingly become a part of society as we know it today. As a major innovation, it is incorporated in many aspects of the lives of individuals. Video streaming is not only used for entertainment purposes, but it is employed by news organizations, businesses, and academics as well. It is through “diffusion,” which Everett M. Rogers describes as a “process by which alteration occurs in the structure and function of a social system,” that video streaming services have become widely accepted and utilized in today’s society and technological environment.

In “Social Science Research Methods in Internet Time,” David Karpf mentions that “in 2002, streaming video was rare, short and choppy,” but when YouTube began in 2005, it became one of the fastest growing sites within a year, according to FMG suite. This had a great impact on the popularity of video streaming.

Video streaming has major advantages when it comes to watching television and films, among other content. Viewers have the option to browse through their television screen, tablet, or smartphone to select what they are most interested in. Also, they can watch this content whenever it is most convenient for them, as opposed to waiting for a specific broadcast time. This innovation is immensely compatible with the devices individuals use in their everyday lives. Furthermore, the usage of such video streaming devices has become incorporated into daily use at an increasingly rapid level. People are able to use these services, such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and many others, for a trial period before deciding to commit to a monthly subscription. Moreover, viewers are able to view its usage with friends and family who are already subscribers to the services.

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Video streaming services caused the closure of most video stores. Therefore, what comes into question is if the growing demand for this innovation has had an affect on viewing films in movie theaters. Neil Fried believes that the Motion Picture Association of America should not get in the way of video streaming.  He mentions that Frank Pallone, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member, said that “we should hit the pause button on regulating streaming video.” He believes providers are following well-planned business models and programming.

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In his article, Karpf describes three issues that arise when performing digital media research. Individuals have access to an exceedingly wide-range of data. Additionally, they are constantly interrupted by spammers, and they have limits in regards to data gathered from the public. It is due to these challenges that researchers encounter objections when attempting to effectively measure digital media. The primary solution is based on the observation that technological advances in digital media research are ever-changing even as they move onward through the process of diffusion.

 

The Evolution of Digital Media

I characterize digital or new media as any form of media that be created, viewed, and sent from one electronic device to another.  In this day and age, I believe the term “digital” as opposed to “new” media should be used. While both digital and new media are interchangeable, I believe society will make the change to the term digital media because it will be become more relevant to what it is comprised of.

Today, we continue to compare old and new media, but media will grow and become newer from here on out. Therefore, I believe it will be more appropriate to define media as digital. This HuffPost describes the major differences between old and new media. According to Sachin Kamdar, the main differences favor new media over old media because it “measures success differently, places more emphasis on community-building, creates new revenue channels, and caters to mobile-friendliness.”

 

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Technology plays a major role in society, that which is rapidly increasing. In the Marketing Land article, Greg Sterling mentions that smart phones comprise more than 60% of our digital media time, while the usage on our desktops has continued decreased to approximately 30%.

In Vannevar Bush’s article, “As We May Think,” he directs his focus on how technology has caused major changes in scientific fields. Specially, he mentions the improvements scientists have made and the opportunities they have been able to be a part of with the ever-growing evolution of technology and science, as they come hand in hand with one another.

Bush mentions how science has provided a way for “knowledge to evolve and endure throughout the entire life of a race rather than that of an individual.” Society must utilize the instruments of science to progress towards a better future. As I mentioned, new media is transforming into digital media, as we do away with old media. The same applies to the way scientists perform research, as they come up with new and improved methods.

Similarly, in D. C. Engelbart’s report “Augmentation Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework,” he demonstrates that new and systematic approaches can improve an individual’s intellectual effectiveness. The computer is the main tool in this evaluation, as he mentions that it shows “the greatest immediate promise.” Comparably to Bush’s findings about scientists, Engelbart believes the computer can be utilized for new approaches as well.

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The Internet and its Innovations

In Weaving the Web, Tim Berners-Lee describes how he envisions the Web as “anything being potentially connected with anything.” The Internet has grown exponentially since its invention. The film The Internet Behind the Web describes the Internet as the defining technology of our time and explains that no other invention has grown so fast. The Internet enables communication and connection between individuals and gives us access to a large array of information including news, shopping, and information on any aspect of life. According to the film, individuals can exchange messages, conduct business, meet people, and find information. Some events that led to the technologies we have access to today are the Gulf War in 1992 and the Kosovo War in 1998 because they were so heavily televised.

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My impression of the Internet and its innovations is that they can be both beneficial and detrimental to society and personally to individuals. In Jayson DeMers, “7 Predictions For How the Internet Will Change Over the Next 15 Years,” he mentions that “machines might take over your job.” We have seen some movement towards machines taking over positions in certain industries. For example, some fast-food chains have progressed towards using machines rather than employees for certain duties. In the Business Insider, Melia Robinson discusses Momentum Machines and how this robot can make 400 hamburgers within an hour. While these machines may be benefitting businesses, it also means that more individuals are being left without jobs. In addition, these establishments are losing a more personable interaction with their customers.

After taking the What Internet Users Know About Technology and the Web quiz, I realized I scored much higher than I had anticipated. I was able to remember the knowledge I acquired during my undergraduate studies and while working in the media industry.

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Photo Credit: Pew Research Center