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Author: Paul Hannan

Identify the effects of computer technology at both the micro and macro levels.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain All Images from; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on technology. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, or rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial.

So today we have a brief tutorial looking at technology, and its impact on society, and how sociologists look at that. So first off, what is technology? Well, computer technology is really just the idea that we use electronic devices to process and store data. So the computer that I'm recording this on right now, whatever device you are choosing to watch this from, whether it's on your phone, or iPad, or a different tablet, or a computer, all those are different computer technologies.

And it's amazing to think how much computer technology has really changed even something as simple as learning about sociology. Traditionally, you would be in the classroom. And I would be lecturing. We'd be doing some projects together, whatever. But there'd be this connection of you physically being in my classroom.

Well, technology has now made it that we're never physically in the same room. We still connect in some of the same ways as if we're in the same room. But it's done through these videos here. So I record myself and things that I would be saying in class. And then you receive them at home, wherever you happen to watch the tutorials.

So if we're looking at how this has changed society, which sociologists are interested in, there's really two different ways you can look at that. You can look at it at a micro level and a macro level. Now, I've used these terms before, way, way earlier in the tutorials. And if you know them or don't know them, just a reminder. Micro level is a really zoomed in approach at looking at things. And macro is a really wide approach of looking at things.

The impact of technology, if we're really zooming in, we're looking at how it affects individual actions or an individual. So, for example, a sociologist might be looking at communication through digital media, like Facebook or Twitter, and trying to figure out what are some of the norms and standards of how we now behave using this media?

Now, we can also take a look at the macro level of the impact of technology. So we can really zoom out and look at this big, wide societal level. So instead of looking at an individual, we're looking at how all these individual impacts are affecting society as a whole.

I'm someone who's very into technology. I think it is making our lives considerably better, not just in a comfort level, but actually what we're able to produce and how technology really frees up resources to be much more accessible to everyone. I think technology has some great impacts on society. I think one of the biggest negative impacts that you could look at it, as a macro level though, is how it's affecting our health because we're becoming such a sedentary society. So a sociologist might be looking at the number of hours that people spend in front of the computer, or the TV, or using other sorts of technologies, and how that's impacting our social, or mental health, or any different ways that it can be impacting us.

So today's take-home message. We looked at computer technology. And that's just the technology that uses electronic devices. And it processes and stores data. And then we looked at a micro level and a macro level. And again, micro level is really when we're looking at a smaller-- we're zoomed in, supertight, looking at local and personal impacts. And then a macro level is when we're zoomed out. And we're looking at the big, wide area. And we're looking at how it affects society as a whole.

Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work. And hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know
Computer Technology

Technology that uses electronic devices for processing and storage.

Macro Level

Looking at a big area, wide focus, or society as a whole.

Micro Level

Looking at a small area, a locality, or at a personal level.