Do you take classes online? or Do you use the technology as a toy - something purely for entertainment? What should you know about information and the Digital-Age to make your future more successful?
Prior to Gutenberg's development of the printing press the ability to read limited your access to information. For most people, life in the 1400s was physically daunting and individual success was not tied to education. In fact, in Western civilization and many other parts of the world, most people were "serfs" - A serf, like the land they live on, was owned by a noble. The serf gave 80% of what was produced on the land to their lord and kept 20% to sustain their family. Healthcare and public education for these individuals was non-existent... most never saw a book and few lived past 30. Gutenberg's development of movable type, an invention developed by the Koreans 800 years earlier - was the dawn of the Information Age in Western civilization. Soon people would learn to read, develop public school systems, create machines that operated without man/animal power, launch humans into space, and create the technology to share information anywhere at the speed of light. Thus we have run headlong into the Digital-Age.
The Digital-Age, still in early infancy, was born in 2002 - the year when the amount of digital storage surpassed analog storage (books, paper, etc.) The Digital-Age is currently defined by two characteristics. Like the Information Age before it, the Digital-Age is experiencing continuous population growth. When I graduated high school in 1980 the world population stood at 4 billion - 31 years later the population has reached 7 billion. By 2050 we could see a world population at an estimated 9 billion people. Consequently, the second characteristic which significantly defines the Digital-Age is the amount of information available to a person with access to the information.
According to a recent study by researchers at the University of California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, each person on the planet possesses 295 exabytes (295x 1018 bytes) of information, an equivalent of 315 times the number of grains of sand on the earth. In a digital age conversion that may make more sense, the equivalent of 295 billion gigabytes of information per person. In 1986 the number was less the 1 billion gigabytes. Maybe this chart will help you make sense of how much information is out there:
In addition, each person transfers more than 6 times this amount of information annually.
So what... we knew this, right? Look at all those emails, tweets, phone calls, pictures, blogs, eLearning courses, YouTube videos, mp3 songs, etc. How does all that information impact your life? Imagine if you were one of the following groups of people:
- the 24% of the people on the planet without electricity
- the 78% of the people on the planet who only use electricity at night for light
- the 67% of the people on the planet who cannot read
- the 7% of the people on the planet with access to the Internet
- the 1% of the people on the planet with a college education
How do you use all that information that is literally at your fingertips? Do you take classes online? Are your tweets insightful? Do you make the world a better place, increase your success, make life better for other people, or - do you use the technology as a toy - something purely for entertainment? Are you a "Serf" of the Digital-Age? Maybe you should think about improving your grades by taking some of our online, personally customized, elearning courses... and learn what you don't know.