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A world without photography is unimaginable. This is because it is a world that lacks all the essential items such as the ID’s, or portraits, souvenirs, celebrity pictures, x-ray photographs, as well as advertising pictures. This shows that photographs are such essential items that are required by the social world in which we live today. Increased globalization, as well as the use of new technologies has resulted into increased need for people to use images and photographs to create meaning into their social lives. The world of photography has advanced from the analogue technology into the digital technology. In this case, the digital cameras have been developed and have brought about new concepts concerning photos; they have additionally increased the value of social lives that people live  today. It is important to note that almost all the social events that man is involved in, deal with the concept of photography that cannot be left out. This is regardless of the purpose and nature of the event. Photography is employed in parties, ceremonies, rallies, campaigns, media industry and other events. This paper considers looking at the new technology, ‘digital camera technology’ that was developed and has spread among people. This technology will be analyzed in terms of how the social forces have pushed its development, as well as how the technology has influenced the social patterns of people.

History

This technology is said to have advanced from the same technology that was responsible for creation of television images. This was after the year 1951 when the first video tape recorder was able to capture the images through converting the information they had into electric impulses (digital) and transferring these impulses onto a magnetic tape. This development was followed by the 1960’s NASA project that changed using the analogue technology to using the digital technology and gave the opportunity to send the images from the Moon back on the Earth (Feldman, 1997).

Other research studies and inventions were carried out, and on the17th of April, 1994, there was a breakthrough in the manufacture of digital camera’s destined for the consumer markets. The digital cameras that were released worked well with the home computer at the time. The first type of camera to be released for the consumer market was the ‘Apple Quick Take 100 camera’, which was released on 17th Feb, 1994, and was followed by the ‘Kodak DC40 camera’ which was released on 28th Feb, 1995, then other companies also joined in by manufacturing other kinds of digital cameras for the market (Baldwin, 1996).

The Digital Camera Technology

This technology involves the development of camera that doesn’t use a film. Instead, the camera works as a computer accessory; however the basic principles of operation are the same as those of the analogue camera. The difference with this technology is that the camera doesn’t have the mechanical moving parts; instead the camera has been featured with an LCD screen which displays the photo or the scenery that the camera has focused on. This technology is more flexible than the analogue one since if the photographer doesn’t like the photo that is taken, then the photo is deleted. The camera has no film therefore doesn’t require the process of developing the photo.

The working of this camera is quite explicit. This is because when one takes a photograph the aperture opens and the light gets into the camera and goes through a series of lenses before falling onto the CCD. When it arrives at the CCD, a charge is generated proportionally to the amount of light that moves into the camera. This is converted into a signal which is converted from analogue to digital. The data which is in digital form is kept in an ‘on-board memory’, and then it’s changed by the computer chip to be of the JPEG format.

Contemporary Social Uses of Digital Camera in Today’s World

The social world we live in today has employed photography as a core aspect of its social life. It is against this fact that the digital camera technology has been embraced in almost all other areas of life. It is indeed true that the uses of ‘digital camera’ have kept increasing from one generation to another. This is because of the new social demands, as well as the changing social patterns of people’s lives that the digital camera has found new uses with time.

The first use of the digital camera of course is to capture digital images that can be converted into still images which can be stored to keep history. In this regard, the digital camera is used as a gadget by which the images of functions such as occasions, meetings, parties, weddings, and rallies among others may be captured and be stored to keep the history. In this regard, the introduction and commercialization of the sale of digital cameras have played a critical role in making the digital camera a strong avenue by which the users can capture images and practice photography.

Secondly, the digital camera technology has played a major role in the development and sustenance of the social media, and thus the social experiences of people with each other. In this case, the digital camera technology has led to the evolving of the social media cultures within the constraints of globalization. The introduction of the digital camera has expanded the social media services. In this case, today an increased number of people who have subscribed to the social media sites such as you tube, and Flicker use the digital images they have collected from their digital cameras. They are able to send the images to the social media sites, as well as receive images from these sites. In this regard, the digital cameras play an important role in data collection, and transfer from one site to the other.

Third, the digital camera technology has played a big role in increasing the ‘interactivity of people’ with each other, objects and their world. This is because the technology allows people from different places and with different experiences to exchange materials and experiences and thus interact. This is because the camera can be linked to the computer where the images are stored and exchanged. Increased number of the digital camera users, as well as the high numbers of subscribers to social sites such as Flicker where images are exchanged shows that the world has become much more interactive. The ability of the camera to take store and exchange images through the computer has contributed significantly to the interactive culture among the new generational people today.

Finally, the digital camera has played a huge role in today’s social world through promoting sharing of experiences, events, and incidences. Today, most of the large international media stations such as CNN have employed the use of digital cameras in capturing live events of incidences across the world. The journalists of these stations have the latest technologies of digital camera which allows them to focus on the happenings and events. This has made people across the world to be able to exchange information, learn new events, and cultures of other people across the globe. The digital camera technology has played a significant role with regard to the facilitation and storage of the images which are exchanged.

Possible Future Development

The journey with regard to the development of the digital technology, and the digital camera in specific has been long. However, the success of the digital camera and the positive impact this technology has had with regard to redefining the social patterns of life of the people today is remarkable. However, it should be noted that technology goes with time, and thus there is room for future development of this technology.

The possible future development of the digital camera may be considered in two forms. First, it may be through the improvements in the quality of images that would be picked in the days to come. I foresee a case where the ‘pixel’ technology would be improved so that it is not based on the camera that one purchases, but a standard digital camera will be made with a flexible provision by which different portable ‘pixels’ can be used. If this comes true in the future development of the digital camera, then the histories of the social world we live today will be well captured and stored for future use. In addition, it would improve the social cultures such as the interactions that users of social media sites such as Flicker and ‘you tube’ have with each other. In other words, it would create a world that is socially bound by the exchanges that people in various parts will have with each other.

The second likely future development that may take place with regards to the digital camera technology may involve linking the digital images that are taken across the world to one central cable. This technology if successful may be useful in improving global security, as well as making the globe a smaller village with regard to the exchange of information, across the societies and individuals with digital camera.

Social Context, Social Forces and Social Actors That Have Influenced the Development of  Digital Camera

The development of the Digital camera has not come on its own; there have been social forces and actors that have played a pivotal role towards the success of the digital camera technology. As the world opens up, and there is increased social needs of people from various parts of the world to communicate, interact as well as share information; the demand for a media by which images would be captured and exchanged was necessary. In this case, there was need for the device that would allow the photographers to capture images and share them with people and this became a force that pushed for the development of the digital media (Leiss, 1999).

The forces of globalization also played a critical role in the development of the digital camera technology. This is because the connection that various states had with each other developed the need for a much more interactive media by which the citizens of the countries could communicate. The success of the internet was a great invention; however people needed a technology that they could use to be able to exchange information and experiences through photography. These led to the development of the social media sites such as Flicker where people have the opportunity to share information through pictures. In this case, social media became an avenue that increased the use of photography.

The need for exchange of photos at household level was limited by the era of analogue camera where photography was much practiced by the professional cameras. The need for family members to have the opportunity to share information, as well as pictures and photos also was a great force that made many households to purchase the digital camera. The digital camera technology through the services such as ‘teleconferencing’ has enabled members of households living far from each other to share information, as well as visual images (Mosco, 1996).

Increased socialization of people in the digital age also led to the increased need for data and information management. This could not be a success in the analogue setting. This made it necessary for the digital technology to be embraced for it can be easily programmed. Today, the digital camera images can be programmed and stored in specific formats, the images can be further edited with regard to the users' needs. Therefore, increased socialization of people from many communities led to the high demand for digital cameras and thus its success in the market (Castells, 1996).

The other social actor that influenced the development of the ‘digital camera technology’ was the pressure from ‘entertainment and advertising industries’. As the world moved to new technologies, the entertainment, as well as the advertising industries developed the demand for digital technology in order to capture the best shots of sceneries for entertainment purposes, and to capture the best photographs that could be used for the purposes of advertising. Indeed, there was a great need for digital technology in the entertainment industry in the areas of photography of events, live recording of entertainment programs, as well as the use of digital technology in allowing people who were far from other social events to access the events. This required the use of digital cameras which could arrest the photos, transfer them into electric signals that are fed onto the computer as jpeg and later transmitted live via the digital television (Negroponte Nicholas, 1995).

Indeed, the development of ‘digital camera’ affected social groups, this is because digitization of the camera began mass popularization of photography. This was characterized by more the cameras becoming affordable allowing more people to access it. This changed the way the society viewed photography. More people could access the digital camera and thus the socio-economic levels of people did not affect one’s ability to participate in photography. The society had to respond to this change by interacting more with the photographs that were made accessible to them through digital technology. Photography also became friendlier as more and more people entered into the field.

Digitization was the beginning of the mass popularization of the photography; as photographs and cameras became more affordable, so people were able to access them which led to their wider distribution.

The other effect that came to the society through the digital camera technology was the introduction of a participatory culture. This is because the new spread of digital technology brought people closer as they interacted with each other through the images that were posted on social media sites such as Flicker. The society became more participatory as more people found time and opportunity to share information and interact through this kind of technology.

There has also been an increase in the number of social groups after the commercialization of digital camera. In this case, the commercialization of digital camera led to more people finding the social media sites that used digital photography technology as fit to them. This is because the photographs made the social sites more appealing to people. This is because the combination of digital photography and global network resulted to be very beneficial to the users in terms of improving the connectivity of people with each other.

Conclusion

All in all, the paper has clearly demonstrated that the introduction of the digital technology has greatly influenced the social world. The appearance of the digital technology has changed the social world in various aspects. The effect of the digital technology on the social world includes its contribution to the development of social media, the TV-media, and other forms of communications. It is clear that the digital camera technology has influenced the quality of people's life in various ways, as well as it has affected the behaviors among the social groups in the 21st century. 

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