In the years since the invention of the first digital computers, computing power and storage capacity have increased exponentially. Personal computers and smartphones put the ability to access, modify, store and share digital media in the hands of billions of people. Many electronic devices, from digital cameras to drones have the ability to create, transmit and view digital media. Combined with the World Wide Web and the Internet, digital media has transformed 21st century society in a way that is frequently compared to the cultural, economic and social impact of the printing press. The change has been so rapid and so widespread that it has launched an economic transition from an industrial economy to an information-based economy, creating a new period in human history known as the Information Age or the digital revolution.
The transition has created some uncertainty about definitions. Digital media, new media, multimedia, and similar terms all have a relationship to both the engineering innovations and cultural impact of digital media. The blending of digital media with other media, and with cultural and social factors, is sometimes known as new media or “the new media.” Similarly, digital media seems to demand a new set of communications skills, called transliteracy, media literacy, or digital literacy. These skills include not only the ability to read and write—traditional literacy—but the ability to navigate the Internet, evaluate sources , and create digital content. The idea that we are moving toward a fully digital, paperless society is accompanied by the fear that we may soon—or currently—be facing a digital dark age, in which older media are no longer accessible on modern devices or using modern methods of scholarship. Digital media has a significant, wide-ranging and complex effect on society and culture.
The impact of the digital revolution can also be assessed by exploring the amount of worldwide mobile smart device users there are. This can be split into 2 categories smart phone users and smart tablet users. Worldwide there are currently 2.32 billion smartphone users across the world.This figure is to exceed 2.87 billion by 2020. Smart tablet users reached a total of 1 billion in 2015, 15% of the world’s population. The first mobile phone was released in 1973 by a senior engineer in Motorola and was only affordable by the incredibly wealthy. The fact that such a large proportion of the world’s population own smart devices demonstrates the rapid level of growth achieved throughout the digital revolution.
The statistics evidence the impact of digital media communications today. What is also of relevance is the fact that the numbers of smart device users is rising rapidly yet the amount of functional uses increase daily. A smartphone or tablet can be used for hundreds of daily needs. There are currently over 1 million apps on the Apple Appstore. These are all opportunities for digital marketing efforts. A smartphone user is impacted with digital advertising every second they open their Apple or Android device. This further evidences the digital revolution and the impact of revolution.