The affordances of the networked media culture prove to be very significant in today’s online communication (Bodden, 2008). It has come to the extent that individuals may not be in a position to imagine how such communication would be possible without hyperlinks and media sharing. It is widely an accepted fact that the internet is a rich source of information spanning all spheres of life. Such information is stored in vast servers at different locations on earth, and there is always a unique identifier for every single bit of information that an individual may want to access on the internet. Putting this into consideration makes one to appreciate the essence of these affordances in making online communication effective.

Taking the example of hyperlinks, for instance, they become very useful because of the presence of information on the internet which is related to information stored elsewhere on the on the internet. This may be a different page of the same document on a given site or a different article, or better still other related information in different sites. Everyone will agree that it would prove rather cumbersome to try and locate such information manually after one is done with the first bit. These hyperlinks, therefore, become handy in the sense that they allow individuals to access vast related information by merely clicking a button. In the long run, they become an efficient way of saving time in the process of online communication. The other advantage that they offer is the fact that it becomes much easier to find related information as it is usually readily available, as opposed to having to do trials and errors to find such information, which always lead to both the wastage of time and money. They also make the internet worth it as it becomes a much better alternative as opposed to other modes of communication that may involve, say paper.

Also inseparable from today’s communication world is the need to exchange multimedia items such as pictures, music, videos, and many other items. These are very significant exchanges that constitute what communication is today, and are thus an integral component of online communication. The sharing of such multimedia files is therefore a sure way of enhancing online communication, as they tend to offer more credibility to the communication being done. It is also inevitable that communication has to encompass these components to enhance communication and to facilitate the reception of information as initially intended. This has occasioned the emergence of various media platforms such as YouTube, which has made it much easier to post and retrieve videos online. There is also the possibility of sharing such multimedia items on the internet using other sites as well as social media.

At the end of the day, it becomes an undisputable fact that the affordances of networked media offer quite a substantial share of effectiveness in enhancing today’s online communication platforms. They offer a reliable and efficient way of people accessing information on the internet and other networks at the click of the button, thus making such communication effective.

Focus Question

How does the internet change our understanding of identity

It is quite evident that all efforts that human beings put in are in most cases aimed at helping them to find identity, either in something or someone. It is also acceptable that with time and advance in years, the conventional notions of identity have continuously been replaced by newer notions based on the daily happenings in the human environment. Key among them are a number of personalities, fashion and technological trends among others. Another trend that has evolved out of technological advancements has been the disintegration of cohesiveness in the social fabric, as individuals are capable of virtually making their own small worlds by the contribution of the internet in pervasive computing environment.

Today, the role models and other objects that individuals could use as a sense of identity are to be found on the internet, and hence, the internet happens to be the one-stop haven for any kind of social grouping that individuals may need to fit in. Another fact is that physical contact between individuals has been channeled to the internet, and hence more of the interactions that were initially one-on-one tend to take place on the internet (Brennan, 2012).

There is, currently the looming threat of loss of the traditional elements that shaped the identity of individuals, such as religion, ethnicity and age, among others. The truth of the matter is that today, some of these elements are not as meaningful as they initially were, and hence a lot is bound to change with regard to identity, and how it relates to the generalized social fabric. These pose a great challenge of eroding human identity as it is traditionally defined. However, there is always an opportunity to harness the same and put it into better use (Lake & May, 2008).

Perhaps the positive aspect of the internet with regard to identity is that it gives individuals the opportunity to fully identify their identities, and thus be able to benefit from them to the maximum (Keung, Picard, and
Towse, 2008). There are several platforms that enable people to meet, interact and socialize with others and be able to determine the specific groupings in which they belong. It gives an individual an opportunity to choose to identify with a setting in which he feels comfortable. At the same time, it offers one the opportunity to avoid those areas that he is not comfortable with.

The advent of social media has provided people with an opportunity to meet more people than they would in their physical environment (Yadav, 2008). The large populace offers a wide variety of social contexts for people to choose from. Many and many more people keep joining these social sites, and hence chances are high that anybody visiting them will not lack others of similar interests and personalities. What emanates is a rapid build-up of identities in which people proudly belong, and hence there is positive nurturing of identities in that context. Care is therefore needed only to counter negative identities that may equally thrive, and hence no assumptions should be made that only positive identities thrive on the internet.


Lucy Keung (Ed), Robert G. Picard (Ed), Ruth Towse (Ed) (2008) The Internet and Mass Media. New York: Sage Publications

Valerie Bodden. (2008). Internet (Media Sources). New York: Creative Co (Sd)

Lawrence David Brennan (2012). Modern Communication Effectiveness. Whitefish: Literary Licensing, LLC

Abhishek Yadav (2008). Digital Communication. New Delhi: Laxmi Publications

Susan Lake , Karen Bean May (2012).
Digital Media: Concepts and Applications (Bpa). Boston: Cengage Learning