Northwestern University in Qatar
Broadband Internet access has changed everything. It has made the Web people’s most important source of information, surpassing all other media, and its influence will only continue to grow.
So says Dr. Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future and a renowned expert on use of the Internet and broadband technology, who will be in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar next week.
On Monday evening, November 21, Dr. Cole will inaugurate the school’s “Media Vision” series, with a discussion on “Surveying the Digital Future: What Everyone Needs to Know about the Internet.” The event is free and open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. at the W Hotel in West Bay.
“The Media Vision series will feature conversations and presentations by world leaders in digital and global media, from thought leaders to industry executives and regulatory authorities, among others,” says Dr. Everette E. Dennis, dean and chief executive officer of Northwestern University in Qatar.
“Jeffrey Cole is the ideal person to inaugurate this series since he has a broad world view of the digital revolution and knows both its social impact as well as the changing contours of Internet use. Having seen him appear before audiences in venues around the world from industry conferences and thought leader seminars to academic meetings, I know he is a one-of-a-kind expert on this subject. He has tracked the Internet from the get-go and the results are impressive," added Dean Dennis.
An expert in the field of technology and emerging media, Dr. Cole will present an engaging report based on a ten-year longitudinal study of people’s use of the Internet and broadband technologies—and how that has affected our lives, media use, politics, and business.
Dr. Cole integrates insights from his World Internet Project, an ongoing assessment that spans five continents and more than 25 countries. Its unique data on Internet users around the world makes the World Internet Project the leading international study on the ways in which our social, economic and media lives are changing.
Dr. Cole’s inspiration for his study of the Internet came while doing extensive work in the mid 1990’s on television and its content. In 1998, television viewing by children under the age of 14 in the United States dropped for the first time in the 50-year history of television. For the very first time children had found something more appealing than television: computers and the Internet.
He holds that while television has had an unprecedented influence on world culture, its impact has been primarily about entertainment and leisure. It is now becoming clear that computers and especially the Internet are producing effects comparable to television’s on work, school and play. Believing that the importance and influence of computer technology and the Internet will dwarf that of television, the World Internet project is designed to do the important research that should have been conducted on television in the 1940s.
Although Dr. Cole’s research on Internet use is based at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, it is also being conducted in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and a growing list of additional countries.
With 25 years of experience at the forefront of media and communication technology issues, ministers of government and heads of media and entertainment firms court Dr. Cole for private briefings. He has regularly been asked by Prince Albert II to keynote the elite Monaco Media Forum in Monte Carlo. On the corporate side, Cole advises Microsoft, WPP (Group M), Ericsson, Sony, Time-Warner, AT&T, AARP and others in their traditional and digital media strategies.
Dr. Cole will be “in residence” at NU-Q the week of November 21, during which time he will serve as a resource for students, faculty and staff, speaking to classes and holding private consultations. While in Qatar, he will also be meeting with industry and community leaders to exchange knowledge and share expertise.
The NU-Q “Media Vision” program will bring acknowledged academic, industry, professional and other thought leaders to NU-Q with presentations and programs that will bridge and enhance students’ studies in journalism and communications, and engage the Qatar community on the global, digital future of media. “Media Vision” also aims to widen and sharpen NU-Q’s conversation on the role of disruptive technologies –and digital media writ large and up close –and will pay special attention to matters illuminated during the Arab Spring. The series will continue next semester with a dynamic line-up of speakers.