Skip to content

Week 2 ARTS3091

March 31, 2014

Media technologies can be thought of as extensions of the human capacities (McLuhan, 1974) – media makes it easier to communicate with others, browse and sift through different ideologies with a click of a button and allows you to see the world without even leaving your room. Yet Kittler argues that we are now extensions of media itself. He states that we adapt to the machine, we use it in a particular way which may not have been intended when it was created.  In relation to modern media, I think I am more persuaded by the latter. In an interview, McLuhan states that the “communal medium” of television (instead of the isolation of a book) emphasized the need for society to rid itself of individualism and becoming less concerned with self-definition. This, was perhaps true before social media. Now, media is used to define ourselves – even future employers judge us based on our online personality rather than our full set of skills.

 I have been reading “The News: a user’s manual” by Alain de Botton who makes extremely valid points and raises questions as to why we are so fascinated by celebrities, obsessed with horrific stories and if we actually retain all the information that it presented to us. He notes that it is way it is presented, rather than the pure content that entices us – we are more likely to read a headline with gruesome/interesting details rather than something that is important. Due to this, I believe we have become extensions of media as there is a demanding necessity to stay connected all the time, with everything that is going on – and perhaps, if McLuhan were alive during the technological innovation of the internet and social media, he may have the same ideology.

In regards to political news, de Botton states that we are only given little parts of the issue rather than putting it in the context and as we may not have complete knowledge or a ‘filing system’ for specific issues. I believe that the communication model, in regards to what de Botton states, is really open to interpretation and attention spans.

Andrew also said that there were issues with the model of communication as it is purely an engineering model and does not take into account personal experience. It also doesn’t acknowledge how digital media differs from face to face communication in relation to how the message is received and understood. I worked in customer service part time for over 4 years and I currently have a job in an office where I am also dealing with customers but over the phone and via emails. I have noticed a drastic change in the customer’s attitude towards me over the phone in comparison to face-to-face and I think it is purely because body language and facial expressions are taken out of the equation. It can be quite hard to express sympathy when the other person can only hear your voice in the middle of their rage, when all they want is for their problem to be solved but protocol must be followed. Bateson (who I will base my next post on) states that gestures, facial expressions and body language are redundant and only distract from the message itself – I disagree strongly. If we were machines then sure…but we are human, emotion in some form is most definitely necessary and adds meaning to the message. This is also supported by de Botton – he believes that the news (specifically political news) would pertain to more people if it were presented with some opinion and backstory rather than a short, mechanical report with no human touch.


“I need somebody with a human touch” – maybe the spice girls were singing to the journalists of the world?

Andrew’s theoretical framework shows the pathways of communication through media and I think it is quite an interesting way to think of communications in relation to these. In the tutorial while we were doing the mind map, my group wanted to arrange our ideas in categories but found that most of the pathways are interconnected and it doesn’t seem as though you can just have one sole definition for media and its uses. I do not particularly have complete understanding of these frameworks as I feel myself trying to fit things in certain groups but I feel as though it isn’t as linear and segregated as what Andrew proposes.


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: