5 What it means
5.1 Pros and cons
Let's start by brainstorming the impact that access to information on the Web has had on you and on the people with whom you are in contact.
Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of getting information from the Web. Think about the effects it has had on you, and on the people with whom you are in contact. Then compare it with my list. For instance an advantage might be get information easily without having to wait for ages on the phone and a disadvantage might be loss of personalised service
My answers to the brainstorm activity
Advantages of the Web
- can get information easily without having to wait for ages on the phone
- can find shops etc. which are out of my area without having to ring directory enquiries
- can check ticket availability regularly and easily
Disadvantages of the Web
- loss of personalised service, e.g. finding out cinema showings for my daughter's birthday in 2 weeks time is impossible via the Web, which just gives details of films currently showing
- my mum often asks me to search for holiday information for her as she hasn't got a computer. This is a pain for me and does not enable her to get the best deals because by the time I've spoken to her the information is out of date!
From this personal reflection we can start to generalise to the impact of the Web on society. I have produced a list of what I think are the benefits and drawbacks.
5.1.1 Benefits of Web use for society
- It's a cheaper way for companies to provide a service to customers.
- The service provided is reliable and uniform.
5.1.2 Drawbacks of Web use for society
- Those without Internet access are disadvantaged. Will this lead to inequalities in society?
- Loss of personal service and human values in interactions. Will this have a negative impact?
- Some of the information is out of date and unreliable.
- New skills are needed to manage the abundance of information on the Web.