In this brief post, I’d just like to go back a bit and revisit the discussion we had a few weeks ago regarding the importance of continued growth of the field of internet studies. We discussed in class the fundamental aspects of a discipline, but I didn’t really think about how important this field’s development is until I started digging into our final research proposal.
Its really hit me how LARGE this widespread cultural phenomenon really is. In the past 10 years, we’ve created an entirely new subsection of culture that both represents geographic culture, but also creates new ones. Of course, this has been the message of the class throughout the semester, but I’ve only recently started to comprehend the magnitude of the issue.
I wanted to bring up some of the aspects of the McLuhan article that I found most intriguing.
After I read McLuhan’s first work, I have to admit I was disappointed. It was his second work, “The Medium is the Message” that got me excited about what he has to say. His abstract take on what media actually is pushed me to think outside the traditional box that popular culture has created to define the term, ‘media.’ When I first read the light bulb example, I definitely had my doubts about where he was going; however, after reading through his complete explanation, I found myself looking for other examples of how one can abstract the traditional definition of media. Is the human thought the most simple and basic unit of media?
I also wanted to point out the Sarnoff (p. 204) quote McLuhan uses with great effect to demonstrate how media is effectively an extension of human thought and action. McLuhan really gets it right when he makes this connection, a connection that the general public needs to grasp. As a society, we villainize media when we deem it responsible for tragedies, public misconceptions, and other negative occurrences. They shout, “Video games make our children violent!” “TV news misleads the public!” “Twitter and Facebook have destroyed personal privacy!”. If society starts blaming the mediums themselves, we step backwards in the movement towards new and subtle forms of communication. We need to start making individuals take responsibility for the misuse of media.