A Medium is a technology in which a culture grows.
It gives form to a cultures politics, Its social organization and habitual ways of thinking. – Walter. J Ong. (As cited in Eusebio, 2014.)
Media Ecology is the analysis of the technology and mediums in which we express ourselves through our lives. We use these technologies, they become apart of us, interconnect to our ways of being.
Through technological advancement we have experienced cultural shifts and transformations as oral traditions became literary, through chirography (handwriting) to typography, print media to electronic communications and networking.
Marshall Mcluhan is famous for his writing of the concept that “The Medium is the Message.” Put simply this means that the medium carves out a space for itself within our organised society to an extent that we accept and work around it. Mediums affect the way we live, and the way we operate.
The links between the Brain and the mind share a similar relationship between Mediums and technology.
The brain is the physical machine, while the mind is the use.
A piece of technology is the physical hardwiring, the medium is the use that technology is put to, a social creation.
In contemplation of the morality of media in our convergence culture of digital communication. The mediums that are the most prevalent in today’s society are that of the mobile device and the internet.
The following gif plays with the notion of how we are interacting with this new technology, and questions why as ‘users’ it is so appealing. It is also important to step back and think about where our information is going.
Social media (web based applications) used for communication of text and visual content is being used by nearly half of the world’s population; 3.03 billion people. (Hatch, 2018.)
Simon Sinek speaks about the Millennial generation; the generation of people born during 1984 and after. Due to their relationship with technology and poor parenting strategies millenials are growing up with lower self esteem than past generations. He also talks about dopamine, the chemical in our brain that is received when we receive notifications on our mobile devices. It is highly addictive. (Sinek, 2016.)
The following GIF plays with the instagram platform and shows a screen lighting up with likes. Dopamine liked your photo. Each notification we receive triggers an hit of dopamine to the brain.
Stepping back from this personal connection to social media the gif states:
“BIG DATA…EVERY # = $$$”.
On a wider scale this technology provides us with freedom to publish yet our information is being harvested and sold.
It is important to consider the media ecosystem in which we are now living. Marshall Mcluhan says in his book Counterblast. The Wheel is an extension of the foot. The hammer is an extension of the fist. Digital communication is the extension of the human nervous system. This is truly fascinating technology, so let’s figure out how it is being used. (Mcluhan, 1969.)
The rise of the internet has seen the increase in the amount of platforms. This has disrupted traditional business models and has shifted the way that we engage with media.
In its current form the internet is dominated by large multinational corporations such as facebook, google and amazon. The service in which users engage with the internet thus serve the interests of the service providers. Facebook collects users data to create targeted advertising. Although internet liberates communication by allowing everyone the access to publish, it opens up new tools of surveillance and control for governments and companies. States and companies hold more resources than individuals and therefore are able to use this media in more efficient ways to promote their interests and ideologies.
We are becoming more and more a ecosystemic society. The societal changes discussed within media ecology no longer depend solely on the media. But are supported by the economy as well. (Ruotsalainen & Heinonen, 2015.)
Moving forward, information publication is a status symbol, revelling in the limelight of the spectacle. To publish information is to be innovative. But how much do we share? And where do we draw the line?
Eusebio, Andrew. (2014). Media Ecology: A brief Overview. [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilHHAAcSJz4
Hatch, Cydney. (2018). Be In the know: 2018 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know. Disruptive Advertising. Retrieved from: https://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/social-media/be-in-the-know-2018-social-media-statistics-you-should-know/
Mcluhan, M. (1969). Counterblast. [London]. Rapp & Whiting Ltd. Retrieved from: https://monoskop.org/images/d/dc/McLuhan_Marshall_1970_Counterblast.pdf
Ruotsalainen, Juho & Heinonen, Sirkka. (2015). Media Ecology and the Future of Ecosystemic Society. [Web Article]. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs40309-015-0068-7.pdf
Sinek, S. (2016). Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace. Inside Quest. [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As8XkJNaHbs