It's January and a new iteration of Citizen Media and the Public Sphere, a fourth year course offered through the department of communication studies at a Canadian university. We'll be blogging, creating 'remix essays,' and thinking through lots of stuff (from social, to citizen, to participatory media; circulating narratives of digital technology; the afrosphere and the Afrospear; convergence culture and lots more). Should be good.
getting noticed by hackbloc. coolness. we'll check the freight schedule and get back to you.
Canadian theorist Marshal McLuhan argued that the ‘message’ of any new medium or technology is not what it says (the content it transmits) but is, in fact, the change in “scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.” Critics of McLuhan often point out how deterministic his work was, but I think that that engenders a rather simplistic reading of McLuhan. At the very least, McLuhan reminds us to think about time. We often talk about how new media seems to bring changes in scale, less so about how it brings changes in pace. First mass media and now networked social media are thought to shrink the world, potentially bringing us closer together. Yet it is the ways in which we restructure our daily temporal rhythm around new technologies and technological practices that we feel most acutely. I have been interested to read posts by kstar and illuminate, both of which, for me, speak to the intersection of time and technology.
Personally, I remember growing up in a home with a single landline phone shared amongst a family of four. In my house, as in the houses of my friends, there were rules about phone communication, some explicit and some taken for granted. There was no accepting phone calls from friends during dinner, no talking for hours on the phone after school (what if someone else wants to use it, or someone else was trying to get through?). It was also unusual for the phone to ring after, say, 10:30 at night. I don’t remember being told that my friends couldn’t call me late at night, it was never an explicit rule, it was an unspoken taken-for-granted assumption that one did not call a phone, shared by an entire household, late at night. Phone calls late at night signaled emergencies. And other than those emergencies, most of us didn’t communicate with those outside our houses at night. Phones, once upon a time, were a temporally contingent mode of communication. When the phone went from a shared communication device to an individual one, the temporal rhythm of phone use changed (not because of something inherent to the technology itself, but because of how we think to use it). Now, when I ask students if they have friends who call in the middle of the night most respond in the affirmative. Of course, we could all turn of our cells at night. But in the same way that we coded landline telephone use with unspoken rules, there are unspoken rules around cell use too. Being always reachable is, arguably, one of them.
welcome to mediated mush, the ramblings of a university professor who assigns blogging exercises to her students. it seems only fair that I join them in the blogosphere.