JHU How the Digital Age Affects Modern Employment Analysis

1How the Digital Age Affects Modern Employment
Zibin Lu
Master of Arts in Communication, Johns Hopkins University
AS.480.601.81. SP22 Foundations of Digital Media
Dr. Thomas McCloskey
April 6, 2022
How the Digital Age Affects Modern Employment
The rapid rise of technologies has had varied effects on the labor market. Due
to these technologies, some jobs have been automated, creating high unemployment
rates. Also, these new technologies have influenced companies to focus on recruiting
employees with digital skills and abilities. They have created massive employment
opportunities for the youth. For instance, some youths have relied on social media
platforms to create and distribute creative content to audiences in different countries.
Therefore, the rise of new technologies has had negative and positive impacts on the
labor market. In addition, it has changed how employees engage in their
organizational roles and responsibilities. Computers and other digital technologies
have enabled companies to standardize their work procedures. They have eliminated
the need for social interactions between clients and employees. In the future, workers
will be required to have more complex digital skills to succeed in their roles. Thus,
this paper will explore the effects of the digital age on modern employment. It will
argue that the rise of new technologies has led to the widespread replacement of
traditional employment, the severe polarization of employment distribution, and the
growth of income gaps between groups. The topic is worth exploring due to the need
to understand these changes so that proactive measures are undertaken to empower
and protect workers. This paper will conduct a literature review to examine how the
digital age has impacted modern employment. It will start by analyzing how the
digital age has replaced traditional employment. The second section will examine
how severe polarization of employment distribution has occurred due to the digital
age. The third part of the literature review will analyze the growth of the income gap
that has occurred due to the rapid rise of new technologies. The fourth part will
analyze the study’s implications for communication practitioners.
Literature Review
The Widespread Replacement of Traditional Employment
The rapid rise of new technology has contributed to the widespread
replacement of traditional employment. New technologies, such as AI and robots,
have emerged to enhance the efficiency at which companies operate. A research study
by Arogyaswamy and Hunter (2019) aimed to analyze how globalization and
technology have impacted equity and employment. It used the “pressure-response
system” to examine technology’s impacts on employment and equity. It found that
technological advancements have accelerated the movement of ideas and people from
one country to another. Arogyaswamy and Hunter (2019) report that technological
advancements have led to the loss of service and manufacturing sector jobs. They
argue that technological advancements have created jobs requiring complex digital
skills. Many people do not qualify for the created jobs. In another research study,
Chen et al. (2020) sought to examine various attributes of a digital economy. These
researchers used in-depth interviews and questionnaires to collect data from various
research participants. They found that traditional employment was characterized by
many employment relationships and social insurance. Also, traditional employment
complied with countries’ law labors. However, the gig economy has emerged due to
the rapid rise of new technologies, such as social media platforms. In addition, the
digital age has changed the definition of an employer and transformed employment
relationships in many jurisdictions. According to Chen et al. (2020), online
employment has emerged due to the rise of new digital technologies and the Internet.
They assert that the digital labor market is characterized by many regulatory
loopholes that have eliminated social policy arrangements. Therefore, Chen et al.
(2020 argue that the online employment sector has been disembodied from social
control and institutions. They also note that virtual spaces have witnessed many social
risks due to the emergence of the digital age.
Furthermore, the assertions made by Chen et al. (2020) and Arogyaswamy and
Hunter (2019) have been supported by Stiles and Smart (2020) in their research study.
Stiles and Smart (2020) utilized data obtained from the American Time Use Survey to
argue that the digital age has brought new work arrangements. For instance, many
employees currently work from home. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed
immensely to the rise of virtual working. In their research study, Stiles and Smart
(2020) argue that the mediation of various work practices by technological
advancements has allowed knowledgeable employees to telework from their homes
and other remote non-office places. Also, they argue that digital technologies have
enabled employees to work from several locations. In their view, Stiles and Smart
(2020) note that the digital age has eliminated the need for commuting to the
workplace. In addition, they assert that cloud-computing infrastructure has enabled
employees to be connected to their colleagues in various locations. In summary, Chen
et al. (2020), Arogyaswamy and Hunter (2019), and Stiles and Smart (2020) contend
that the digital age has displaced traditional employment and brought in the gig
economy and new work arrangements. They assert that new forms of employment
have emerged with the rise of modern technologies.
The Severe Polarization of Employment Distribution
The rapid rise of digital technologies has led to the polarization of
employment distribution. Skilled workers have had access to more employment
opportunities than non-skilled employees. The demand for employees with more
practical and digital skills has immensely increased. In their research study, Basso et
al. (2020) assert that technological changes have reduced the demand for employees
engaging in routine tasks. They used the endogenous immigration and technological
progress model to explain the link between computerization and immigration. Based
on this model, they note that these changes have increased the demand for service and
analytical tasks. Basso et al. (2020) demonstrate that rapid technological changes have
attracted immigrants specializing in manual-service occupations. Immigration brought
about by technological progress has influenced Native Americans to upgrade their
skills. Therefore, the study shows that immigrants have continued to dominate service
and manual jobs. However, most of these jobs have been computerized, leading to
high unemployment rates among these immigrants. Conversely, native-born workers
occupy many cognitive positions in the labor market. Consequently, computerization
of some tasks reduces wage and employment polarization for native workers.
In a similar research study, Çelik (2020) examines how technology impacts
employment at the regional level. He used the dynamic panel estimation method to
examine how the effects of technology on technology. The study asserts that the
labor-friendly view is based on the premise that technological innovation has led to
many employment opportunities. Conversely, the labor-saving perspective states that
technological innovation affects employment by substituting capital for labor.
According to Çelik (2020), the digital revolution has changed many job profiles and
eliminated several employment opportunities. He observes that the rise of new
technologies has eliminated the need for companies to hire employees performing
routine tasks and roles. Consequently, technological innovation has contributed
immensely to high unemployment rates in several jurisdictions. It has reduced the
demand for employees lacking analytical, problem-solving, and digital skills.
The assertions made by Çelik (2020) and Basso et al. (2020) are also
supported by Martins-Neto et al. (2021). Martins-Neto et al. (2021) conducted a
literature review to determine job polarization in developing countries due to the rise
of new technologies. The lack of polarization occurs when there is limited technology
adoption. Therefore, there is a positive relationship between technology adoption and
job polarization. According to Martins-Neto et al. (2021), limited technological
adoption can lead to a reduced supply of skilled and educated employees.
Consequently, they advocate for technological policies to address constraints
characterizing the labor market. In addition, safety net programs should be created to
support workers who the transition to digital technologies has adversely impacted. In
summary, the studies assert that job polarization has occurred with the rise of new
The Growth of Income Gap between Groups
The rise of technologies has contributed immensely to the growth of the
income gap between different groups. For instance, an income gap has been witnessed
between employees with digital skills and those without such competencies. A
research study by Osorio and Pinto (2020) found that technologically interrelated
factors significantly impact income equality between the top and bottom income
earners. It used the literature review methodology to achieve its research objectives. It
reports that horizontal integration and public R&D incentives have shifted income
distribution towards high-income earners. Keller and Utar (2016) also conducted a
research study to examine the relationship between job polarization and international
trade. They used quasi-natural and instrumental variable techniques to show how
international trade leads to a decline in mid-wage employment. Based on this research
study, Keller and Utar (2016) found that income inequality occurs since the
international market will reduce employment opportunities for mid-wage workers.
Import competition has led to worker-level adjustments that result in job polarization.
Goyal and Aneja (2020) conducted a similar research study and found a negative
relationship between income distribution and artificial intelligence. They used the
Gini coefficient and automation data to investigate the link between income inequality
and AI. The study reported that artificial intelligence contributes to a decline in
medium and low-skill jobs. A decline in these jobs creates more significant income
gaps between high and medium-skilled labor. In summary, the three research studies
report a common outcome that the rise of new technologies has widened the income
gap between low and high-skilled workers.
Based on the literature review, it is evident that the rise of new technologies
has replaced traditional forms of employment with new work arrangements.
Technology has created the gig economy and altered the definition of employment
relationships. Chen et al. (2020) assert that online employment, which is characterized
by the lack of social insurance, has emerged with the rise of the Internet and other
digital technologies. Also, the literature review has demonstrated that the polarization
of employment distribution has occurred in the digital age. The demand for workers
with more practical and analytical skills has increased due to the rise of new
technologies. In addition, income inequality has been witnessed since many
technological incentives have favored high-income earners. Therefore,
communication practitioners have a critical role in raising awareness about the
impacts of these new technologies on the labor market. They should be active in
proposing strategies to deal with the adverse effects of new technologies on the
employment sector. Moreover, communication practitioners should implement
techniques for empowering workers who the digital age may have adversely
impacted. In addition, they should analyze and propose ways of protecting employees
who have been negatively affected by the rapid rise of new technologies.
The literature review has shown that the digital age profoundly transforms
modern employment. New technologies have altered the labor market by reducing the
demand for workers engaging in routine and repetitive tasks. Also, the digital age has
led to the emergence of the gig economy. It has changed the definition of an employer
and transformed employment relationships. Moreover, the digital age has caused
polarization in job distribution. It has widened the income gap between high and lowskilled workers. Therefore, there is a need to develop safety net programs to protect
workers who may have been adversely impacted by the digital age.
Arogyaswamy, B., & Hunter, J. (2019). The impact of technology and globalization
on employment and equity: An organizing framework for action. International
Journal of Global Sustainability, 3(1),
49. https://doi.org/10.5296/ijgs.v3i1.14127
Basso, G., Peri, G., & Rahman, A. (2017). Computerization and Immigration: Theory
and evidence from the United States. Canadian Journal of Economics, 53(4),
1457-1494. https://doi.org/10.3386/w23935
ÇELİK, O. (2020). The impact of technology on employment at regional level: The
case of Turkey. Marmara Üniversitesi Öneri Dergisi, 54(15), 412430. https://doi.org/10.14783/maruoneri.771657
Chen, B., Liu, T., Guo, L., & Xie, Z. (2020). The disembedded digital economy:
Social protection for new economy employment in China. Social Policy &
Administration, 54(7), 1246-1260. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12603
Goyal, A., & Aneja, R. (2020). Artificial intelligence and income inequality: Do
technological changes and worker’s position matter? Journal of Public
Affairs, 20(4), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1002/pa.2326
Keller, W., & Utar, H. (2016). International trade and job polarization: Evidence at
the worker-level (F16, I24, J21). National Bureau of Economic
Research. https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w22315/revision
Martins-Neto, A., Mathew, N., Mohnen, P., & Treibich, T. (2021). Is there job
polarization in developing economies? A review and outlook. SSRN
Electronic Journal, (9444). https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3979349
Osório Costa, A. M., & Pinto, A. (2020). Income inequality and technological
progress: The effect of R&D incentives, integration, and spillovers. SSRN
Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3616992
Stiles, J., & Smart, M. J. (2020). Working at home and elsewhere: Daily work
location, telework, and travel among United States knowledge
workers. Transportation, 48(5), 2461-2491. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116020-10136-6
Approaches That Influence Attitudes Towards Online Videos
Andrew Browning*
Summer 2015
Johns Hopkins University
*Andrew Browning has given the professor his permission to use his paper as a sample.
By examining research about viral videos, this paper discusses how attitudinal factors can
influence Internet users’ decision-making when determining whether or not to share an online
video. Non-intrusive factors can positively influence Internet users’ attitudes about an online
video and thus help motivate them to share the video, which increases its potential to go viral.
Some of the more successful viral videos in recent years incorporate or represent positive
emotions, such as joy, within its content. Additionally, humorous content also appears within
successful viral videos and can improve Internet users’ attitudes about the videos they watch.
However, not everyone will think the same video is amusing; therefore, it is important for
marketers and advertisers to know and understand whom their audience is. Once marketers and
advertisers are able to identify their audience, they can tailor their messages in a way that will be
relevant and familiar to the viewers they are attempting to reach via online videos. Along with
this information, the research also demonstrates that marketers and advertisers should avoid
utilizing pop-up videos in their online marketing strategies because it can negatively influence
Internet users’ attitudes about online videos.
Approaches That Influence Attitudes Towards Online Videos
Online videos have become a medium that users can quickly view and then share to other
people in their network. A video can become viral once it is shared numerous times, amassing
the attention of perhaps thousands or even millions of people. For example, O’Neill (2011)
indicates that the term viral video is a buzzword that is a bit broad; however, an important aspect
that determines whether a video is viral is its sharing ability, where it becomes “the talk of the
town,” especially across multiple social media tools (Buzz section, para. 1). In addition, the rise
of online videos has been increasing over the past decade since Anderson (2015) found that 72%
of online adults were using video-sharing sites in 2013, a huge jump when compared to figures
in 2006, where just 33% of adult Internet users were using video-sharing sites. Thus, there is
now even more potential today for online videos to become viral. Due to the sharing ability of
online videos, it is crucial for marketers and advertisers to understand what specifically makes
certain video content go viral. If implemented correctly, perhaps there may be a chance for
online users to share and access pertinent health and news-related information via popular
videos. Given these important possible implications, this paper focuses on an approach that can
influence an online video’s viral potential. Research indicates that attitudinal factors can play a
pivotal role in making online videos become viral (Huang, Su, Zhou, & Liu, 2013); thus,
marketers and advertisers need to learn how to appeal to many audiences who may have a wide
range of perspectives and attitudes.
According to Aizen and Madden (1985), an attitude about a certain behavior can refer “to
the degree to which a person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation of the behavior in
question,” which, consequently, can assist in influencing what behavior may occur (p. 454). In
regards to online videos, users’ attitudes, whether favorable or unfavorable, can determine
whether or not they will share a video they view; thus, helping make it go viral. This paper
explores research that provides findings to suggest what non-intrusive strategies and factors can
help generate favorable views that can increase sharing rates. A non-intrusive strategy is one that
does not irritate users; therefore, it possibly avoids the potential of creating an unfavorable
attitude. One example of this includes positive emotions, which can “make users feel good”
(Desmet, 2012, p. 1), such as joy. In contrast to a non-intrusive video, however, an intrusive
video will irritate users, possibly influencing their attitudes about the content they just viewed
(Smith, 2011, p. 490). Thus, to complement research about non-intrusive influential factors, this
paper will also discuss what users’ find to be intrusive in order to provide insight as to what
marketers and advertisers should avoid doing when attempting to create a popular online video.
Literature Review
This paper will explore research that validates how positive emotions represented in
videos can positively improve Internet viewers’ attitudes about the content they watch, which
increases the likelihood that they will want to share a video. Additionally, humorous content can
improve an Internet users’ online video viewing experience. Lastly, this paper discusses about
how pop-up videos can be one of the more intrusive factors that irritate Internet viewers, which
can consequently damage their motivations to share a video.
Positive Emotional Tones in Online Videos
Marketers and advertisers need to be aware of how influential emotions can be in shaping
Internet users’ attitudes because it can help determine whether or not they will share an online
video. If a video represents a positive emotion, such as joy, then this can elicit a strong intent
amongst Internet users to share it, helping make the video go viral.
Dafonte-Gomez (2014) conducted a content analysis of the 25 most globally shared viral
video advertisements between 2006 and 2013 in order to research possible triggers and features
that motivate users to share online videos. Since the sharing aspect was the focal point of the
research, it is important to note that the videos were selected by the number of times users shared
the video and not by the number of times people actually viewed the video. During the analysis,
Dafonte-Gomez looked for the presence of emotions in the video samples, such as fear,
happiness, etc. Results showed that happiness was implemented as a resource in 92% of the
videos. Negative emotions were mostly absent in the videos since only 20% showed sadness
while a mere 12% showed fear. Furthermore, the findings indicate that the final emotional tone
conveyed at the conclusion of all 25 videos (100%) was “agreeable,” meaning a positive
emotional tone was present, such as joy, rather than a negative one, such as fear (Daonte-Gomez,
2014, p. 204).
**Content Removed**
It is apparent that positive emotions can play a key role in an online video’s viral
potential, but do positive emotions in a video also affect Internet users’ attitudes as well? Eckler
and Bolls (2011) conducted a study to find if the emotional tone, whether pleasant or unpleasant,
of a viral video advertisement can affect Internet users’ attitude toward the advertisement and
Internet users’ sharing intentions. A convenient sample of 42 university students completed a
survey after viewing 12 different real-life viral video advertisements. Four videos from the
sample were grouped into three different categories in order to identify which emotional tone the
video represented. The three categories were classified as pleasant, unpleasant, or coactive. The
researchers determined coactive to be “both pleasant and unpleasant at the same time” (Eckler &
Bolls, 2011, p. 6). In regards to attitudes toward the advertisement, the results were statistically
significant (p = 0.002) on a 1.00 to 7.00 scale, where pleasant viral video advertisements elicited
the most positive attitude toward an advertisement. The following figures from a post hoc test
revealed how each category differed from one another: M pleasant ad = 4.77 vs. M coactive ad =
4.35 vs. M unpleasant ad = 4.16. Findings also indicate that the intent to share viral videos was
statistically significant (p = 0.001) on a 1.00 to 7.00 scale. Participants had the strongest
intention to share viral video advertisements with pleasant emotional tones while advertisements
with unpleasant emotional tones had the least chance to be shared amongst participants. The
following figures from another post hoc test revealed how each category differed from one
another in regards to participants’ intent to share: M pleasant ad = 4.65 vs. M coactive ad = 4.24
vs. M unpleasant ad = 3.8.
A multitude of emotions can be conveyed or represented in an online video. Thus,
marketers and advertisers should be aware of the fact that positive emotions generate the most
effective responses amongst Internet users, which can help create positive attitudes about the
video they just viewed, and then inspire people to share them more frequently within their social
media networks.
Humorous Content
The presence of humorous content in an online video can positively influence Internet
users’ sharing intentions. It is a non-intrusive strategy that marketers and advertisers can easily
execute when creating online videos since it can potentially enhance a viewer’s likeability of the
video the view, which consequently motivates them to share the video because they want their
peers to associate them with content they deem to be amusing.
**Content Removed**
In regards to online videos, it appears that humorous content can help positively shape
Internet users’ attitudes about the video they watch. However, relevancy does play a crucial role
in determining whether or not people will find certain content amusing. If an Internet user does
not understand the content—or is simply not familiar with it—then they may not find the video
to be as funny as it is intended to be, which damages the potential for the video to be shared
across multiple social media networks.
Intrusive Pop-Up Videos
This paper shows what factors can positively influence attitudes towards online videos.
However, in addition to this, it is also essential to understand what may negatively influence
viewers’ attitudes. Pop-ups can potentially irritate viewers to the point where their feelings and
perceptions become unfavorable toward the webpage hosting a pop-up. Therefore, marketers and
advertisers can benefit from learning what tactics may be necessary to avoid when trying to
create and launch online videos.
**Content Removed**
Overall, it appears that the presence of pop-up videos can consistently generate negative
feelings and reactions amongst viewers. The intrusiveness of a pop-up video can distract Internet
users from viewing the content they want to see; therefore, it generates unfavorable attitudes,
limiting their desire to be exposed to the video and wishing to avoid it altogether.
In regards to what marketers and advertisers should avoid doing with online videos,
research shows there is enough evidence to validate viewers’ unfavorable attitudes toward popups. If Internet users are irritated enough by a pop-up video, then their negative attitude about the
video can carry over to the host website as well. As Goodrich, Schiller, and Galleta (2015) note,
“higher intrusiveness also was associated with less favorable attitudes toward the host Web site
and reduced revisit intention” (p. 48). Avoiding the host website from where the online video
lives can never be a beneficial outcome for marketers and advertisers. Aizen and Madden (1985)
indicate that attitude can assist in influencing what behavior may occur (p. 454). Therefore, to
inspire viewers to share a video, it is essential for Internet users to have a favorable attitude about
the host webpage so that people will also want to share the website link in order to return to it to
watch the video. To accomplish this, marketers and advertisers should avoid launching online
videos in pop-up format unless it can be integrated onto a popular website were favorability is
already established as being fairly high. For example, Smith’s (2011) research found that 52.5%
of participants preferred viewing ads on YouTube when compared to other types of online
advertising, such as email updates (p. 495).
However, if promoting a pop-up video on a popular website is unfeasible, then there is an
alternative strategy that may still work. Zha and Wu (2014) found that if an intrusive pop-up
video was still perceived to be relevant to the content on the host website, then “it led to greater
attention to the ad and also more positive attitudes toward the ad” (p. 25). Additionally, Botha
and Reyneke (2013) found that if a video was specific or relevant to the content a viewer was
familiar with, then the viewer’s reaction to the video became “the second determinant of them
sharing the video” (p. 168); thus, the video’s relevance increased the chance that viewers would
share it. This indicates that if marketers and advertisers want to launch a pop-up video, then the
video can generate more shares as long as it is relevant to the content on its host website.
Relevancy also assists in determining whether or not Internet users will perceive an
online video to be funny. The content in a video needs to be something that a viewer is familiar
with otherwise they may not be able to connect with it. For example, “the viewers’ feelings about
a video are dependent on their familiarity with the content” (Botha & Reyneke, 2013, p. 168).
Therefore, marketers and advertisers need to understand their target market in order to correctly
tailor a message that their viewers will find funny. This strategy definitely applies to comedicviolence since Kim and Yoon (2014) found that “comedic-violence has a positive effect
depending on the characteristics of the individuals receiving the advertisements and the message
perceptions that the advertisements generate” (p. 228). Thus, some target markets may find
violence presented in a comedic way amusing while others may not.
One target market that marketers and advertisers definitely need to try and tap into are
viral video experts because “they have high levels of involvement with social media platforms”
(Hennig, Phillips, & Morrison, 2012, p. 141). If marketers and advertisers create a video that a
viral video expert enjoys, then the viral video expert will share the video in their large social
media network, which increases the chance for a video to become viral. In order to connect with
viral video experts, humorous content is the best approach. For example, Hennig, Phillips, and
Morrison (2012) found that the first factor viral video experts think about is the need for videos
to “be humorous (make people laugh)” (p. 142). Consequently, when this occurs, there is a
higher likelihood they will have a positive attitude about the video and thus share it.
Perhaps the reason why humor is so effective in connecting with people is because it can
create a pleasant reaction or attitude for viewers. Eckler and Bolls (2011) found that “when
viewers infer a general sense of pleasantness (approach), it facilitates a positive attitude and the
desire to share the feeling with others” (p. 8). This stance coincides with Dafonte-Gomez’s
(2014) findings that 92% of the 25 most shared videos from 2006-2013 contained happiness in
their content. Furthermore, Guadagno, Rempala, Murphy, and Okdie (2013) found that “only
content that generates stronger affective responses are likely to spread as a viral video” (p. 2318).
Thus, marketers and advertisers should always consider pretesting videos before launching them
in order to see if its content elicits a pleasant reaction among viewers.
There are a myriad of factors that can help make an online video successful and reach a
large viewership. One crucial component that marketers and advertisers need to be cautious of,
however, is to not annoy or disturb Internet users’ online experience. This specifically includes
the use of pop-up videos. Successful viral videos incorporate non-intrusive elements in order to
positively enhance viewership by providing content that viewers will want to share with others.
To encourage sharing, Internet users need to have a positive attitude about a video they see. One
of the best non-intrusive approaches that help positively improve Internet users’ attitudes about
online videos is a representation of positive emotions within the video’s content. Furthermore,
humorous content can also improve Internet users’ attitudes about online videos because it can
create a pleasant reaction—an experience that a viewer will want to share with other people
within their social media network. However, people have different perceptions about what they
find humorous and funny; therefore, marketers and advertisers need to correctly identify who
their target audience is in order to create content that will be amusing to that particular group.
Marketers and advertisers should always consider these criteria when creating online videos
since they have a chance to launch videos with information that people can gain access to and
then share with others across their social media networks.
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