Reflection: Availability and Access
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
Udithawix. (2015). Scrolling down [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/126915310@N08/16981803257/
The ramifications of having ready access to information at all times can be both positive and negative. One positive effect is it allows the user to access information at their leisure, so is more flexible than before. According to the ABS, 86% of households have access to the internet at home, which is up 3% from 2012-13 (2016). Additionally, findings concluded “most households who accessed the internet did so through a desktop or laptop computer (94%), followed by households who accessed via mobile or smart phones (86%) and households who accessed via tablets (62%)” (ABS, 2016). Therefore, the ease in which we access information has rapidly increased with developing technology. This also demonstrates a third benefit from ready access to information, which is the wide variety of viewpoints and modes of communication that are available. This can assist in creating more rounded conclusions when conducting research and/or broaden the user’s perceptions of a topic.
On the other hand, having ready access to information 24/7 can have detrimental effects. It becomes difficult to “switch off” and disconnect from the world of technology and communication. Therefore, it can negatively affect the user’s work-life balance, which in my case includes study-work-life balance. Just as I have been writing this reflection I have received nine emails (a combination of personal and work-related), one university announcement (no emails as of yet, which is unusual), and a number of alerts or notifications. Compared to other days of the week, this is relatively quiet. This may be due to Monday being my day off work, so my colleagues and Head of Department are very conscious not to have any work-related communication with me on these days unless absolutely necessary. Another negative affect can be the difficulty in navigating through so much information to find the most relevant source. It can also be difficult and time consuming to assess the credibility, accuracy and reliability of a source.
These all have ramifications for me and my capacity to study this subject. Some aspects of being part of a connected world will assist me in my studies, while other aspects can affect my productivity and the effectiveness in which I complete the course. I will need to use discernment when accessing online resources and I will need to set clear guidelines and goals when completing my study, so as not to get caught down the rabbit hole which is 24/7 access to information.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016). Household use of information technology, Australia: 2014-15 (cat. No. 8146.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0