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According to Xianjun and Young, technology is extremely important for organizational performance (9). However, most countries are doing whatever they can to limit the reach of electronics and consumer goods like video games, music, film, and television shows in order to protect domestic industrial culture. According to Xianjun and Young, technology seems to be redefining the boundaries between private and public space, as well as between working and playing, lowering performance and productivity (160).
According to Sulleivan and Hugh, technology has provided us with many gifts to enjoy (5). As much as it can help to reduce the cost of production, technology can also distract workers from performing the duties effectively. By trapping the workers’ attention through music or internet programs or games, workers waste a lot of time concentrating on unproductive and irrelevant activities. Most of these activities are not supposed to be undertaken in public offices or work place as they tend to tarnish the organizations image to the public and show lack of seriousness at the place of work.
Samuel points out that the progress in technology is slowly but surely bringing down the borders of public and private space. Private space is expected to be isolated, that is not next to groups and away from the public (360). Private spheres have much in secret and much information is meant for a particular group. Public sphere on the other hand may refer to social places like roads, markets, pavements, schools among others. With the technology the gap between the two can’t be defined since what one does or can access in private may also be don indirectly in the public (Samuel 361).
According to a research by Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab, phones are some of the most common sources of distraction at the place of work. Employees will hardly take five minutes before checking their ‘Wats up’ pages, Twitter, Face book or other social network accounts. Besides calls and texts messages, emails also keep on streaming in thus diverting the workers’ attention. Unfortunately, all these distractions are personal and very irrelevant to their duties. As a result, the rate of working slows down and this obviously results in decline in productivity. This is because while the employee is trying to fulfill his or her role in the business environment they would also wish to attend to some private issues (New York Times).
Sulleivan and Hugh in New York Times state that other than wasting time, brain researchers have also held discussions and debates that prove that multitasking has many other deleterious effects. For instance, when mails and text messages keep juggling the employees’ attention is interrupted thus leading to confusion and even forgetfulness. Implicitly, this may even lead to accidents at the place of work losses due to failure to do the right thing at the right time (New York Times). The challenge still is that every individual keeps on craving for connection to other people and the public through media hence one can successfully manage to co exit in both public and private spheres.
Samuel (360) rhetorically asks, what is so difficult in switching from one activity to another? Close look at the issue of carrying out multiple tasks at the same time often comes with losses while one is switching to another. Just like a tenant will have to incur extra costs when relocating from one house to another a worker who does not concentrate in the main activity may lose focus and cause losses. Imagine a situation where board members are holding a serious meeting and while discussing important issues one of them is on Facebook or what sup or other social networks sharing private issues with friends or even family. He or she will obviously drag them behind when it comes to decision making or implementation of the resolutions from the meeting. This is because while others were attending to official or public duty technology breaks the borders and makes it possible to hand private issues. Sulleivan & Hugh observes that when an employee is rapidly toggling form one activity to another, the quality of the work they were doing that period reduces (6).
Turkle illustrates that while in private places such as homes individuals can manage to hold meeting online through teleconferencing even while in their various residential area (71). Through this technology has broken down private borders hence enabling activities that previously could only be done in private to be done even in private. This aspect of technology has been applied by various companies and organizations to save on time and money. Individuals can also easily communicate very private information even in the presence of a third party secretly through their phones by mailing, text messages or any other medium.
Technology can also be used in entertainment to break private and public boundaries (Konsbruk 6). Instead of going to party with friends in public one may opt to use his or her iPod, laptop, home theatre or any other gadget for entertainment at the place of residence. Similarly, those in the public places can share with them videos even as the events proceed therefore making it look like they are together yet they are in different geographical locations and one is private while the other is in a public space. Technology can also enable an individual attend various events at the same time whether public or private since physical presence is no longer necessary.
Applications like ‘Google BUZZ’ and ‘you tube’ can also be used to share a lot of information with the public. So many people post even private videos on ‘you tube.’ However, within a very short time the videos circulate and reach millions of people. Broadcasting networks and business companies use these sites to communicate with the public or even to market their products online.
Xiangun & Young observe that information and communication technology has greatly reduced the borders between public and private space (181). He asserts that media has become so mobile that it can reach a diverse range of people in different situations undertaking different activities. Location is no longer considered a factor when one wants to access information. For instance, people share or post information about them or about others through social networks like Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Wats Up. At the same time the users of this networks give a lot of private information about them to the public through their accounts for example age, marital status, name, siblings, phone numbers, address and any other personal information. Such information is personal and should be private however these media make the world look like a small space. Surprisingly while one may seem to be ever
Some individuals also express their feelings to the public through the internet as observed by Xiangun & Young (183). This is popularly known as online activism. We have often observed cases of people being arrested for incitement which they did online. Individuals, groups and companies also use the internet for publicity. Online communication is one of the best and fastest media to reach the public. Marketing companies also advertise their products or announce them through radios and the information spreads quite fast while the individuals doing these are in their small secret spheres. Messages on events or meetings also spread very fast to people through media like twitter or what sup or face book. For example, one of the most common methods to convey political information such as party policy, agenda or manifesto is using political social media platforms and websites. Through what is considered a public forum, individuals may also form small online groups where they discuss their private matters.
The digital media has also been developed such that surveillance and security invasions are done everywhere. Very private information or acts done in the absence of the public can easily be retrieved through surveillance cameras that hence enabling technology to manage both secret and social life digitally. This seems to break down the borders of private and public space. People also prefer to store information such as banking or their contact details online yet these technologies can be easily invaded and exposed to the public (Turkle 202).
Turkle points out that through internet, technology has made it possible for violation of laws on piracy and copyright laws since anyone can copy some information and post easily take credit (202). While previously this would require permission from them individual who generated the information, another person may opt to secretly obtain the information and share it with the public thus obtaining credit. Cyber-crime and many other crimes are also committed only and adversely affect the public yet the individuals who commit such crimes do them in their homes or any other private place. However, those who commit such crimes can be tracked form anywhere they are using an IP address.
The New York Times states that while in public places people also tend to carve themselves into small semi-private spaces. This mostly happens when one is bored or there is a lot of distraction from their environment. For example, when in public and a group of people in are loudly talking about their private issues that a person will not wish to here, one may decide to use earphones and play some music and assume nothing is going on in the surrounding. Even while in public places individuals get calls and make calls loudly regardless of the surrounding yet their conversation on the cell phone could be very private.
One other gadget that has greatly contributed to redefinition of borders of public and private space is smart phones (Yu-Hsuan 16). Even while in a city, market, sports ground or any other public space, an individuals’ attention can be so much trapped by their smart phones that they take little consideration on what is going on around them. People find themselves bumping into each other or being knocked down by vehicles just because they were so busy browsing using their phones or chatting or listening to music that they could not realize whatever is going on around them. For any smart phone user, they get so engaged in private sphere that the role public space is gradually reducing.
Media has so increasingly been embedded in day to day life of everyone that people seem to remain connected all through even without consideration of physical space (Turkle, 118). Media is availed in varied sizes and forms including cell phones, smart phones, iPod, tablets and smart watches making it so easy access anything, anywhere including making order for goods or services and all this can be done anytime. Turkle (122) interestingly observes that what people may need in public space is offered in private space so easily. Surprisingly when an individual log into a particular portal to check mails and other online updates they seem to join a large public space again. And other users of these media can notice that they are only even though both parties could be in enclosed environment.
The project Digital Public Space was a project published first in 2013. The publication called 'FutureEverything' outlined how this project focused on making it easy to access varied culture and knowledge. The project involved partnership between institutions in UK like museums, archives, libraries, galleries learning institutions. Through their partnership borders of private space and belong to one digital environment. According to this organization called Digital Public space have a central vision of access knowledge and cultural resources without any restriction. The major challenge though not only for this project but for internet at large is that a lot of information given is incomplete and some data even misleading.
According to Konsbruck (1) on E-business, technology has reduced the significance of space and distance. E-banking is used to obtain financial services without necessarily visiting the banks. Even while at home customers can interact with their banks give information such as updates on bank details, mini statement and obtain required services like cash withdrawal Companies also market their products and sale online Technology therefore helps to reduce fixed costs since clients can obtain services privately even in their residential places.
Education is another important sector that technology has seriously affected. Normally, learning institutions are public places where teachers physically interact with learners at specific periods (Konsbruck 2). In contrary E-learning grants the learners access to knowledge anytime and anywhere whether private on public. This also makes it possible to learn part time and interact with the instructor online. Though the learner and instructor do not meet physically and may be in different location; perhaps private or public, they still manage to freely interact as thou they are in a normal learning environment.
On security and surveillance, Democracy in America, state that drones have greatly impacted on privacy. Drones are small electronic gadgets with wings that propel them as they fly through various places. Many governments and real estate investors or business men have used drone in monitoring and supervision. Unfortunately, these gadgets go through all boundaries whether private or public thus enabling one access what another person views as private and not deserving public knowledge. Such surveillance may make one question whether they are in open space or field or they should expect reasonable privacy wherever they are. In mobile telephony there are also many technologies that can enable an individual track the location of some else and even google maps that make it easy to access places that were previously not known by someone (Xiangun & Young 184). Global Position Satellite (GPS) programs used by policy also have implications on the privacy of individuals.
In conclusion, anyone who uses technology needs to ultimately make a decision on what kind of data to conceal and which to give to the public. Whether in public sphere physically or through the internet, one can conceal important information about them. However, many people feed a lot of personal information online not knowing that by such simple step they are compromising their privacy since technology make it easy for any experienced web user able to extract a lot of private information about others. Despite the many challenges that accompany the use of technology, we should also appreciate its importance and use it in to day to day life more manageable, enjoyable and productive but we should remain vigilant. Indeed, digital technologies can redefine the borders of public and private space so that at times there is no distinction.
Konsbruck Robert Lee, Technology article; Impacts of Information Technology on Society in the New Century. 27C CH-1007 Lausanne-Vidy Switzerland.
Samuels, Robert. “Breaking Down Borders: How Technology Transforms the Private and Public Realms.” Common Culture, 6th ed., edited by Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure, Prentice Hall, 2010, pp. 359-363.
Sullivan, Bob, and Hugh Thompson. "Brain, Interrupted." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 03 May 2013. Web. 17 July 2016. .
Xianjun Geng & Young-Jin Lee.(2013) Competing with piracy: AMulti-channel Sequential Search Approach. Journal of Management Information Systems 30:2, pages 159-184.
Turkle, S. (2008)The Media and Modernity; Mobile Communication Studies Cambridge: Polity Press.
Yu-Hsuan. (2013) Technology and Cultural Form,London:Fontana..
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