drum roll for the word….ECOLOGIES

9 Mar

First off after reading this week’s readings I was confused. SO bear with me whilst I break it all down…

Media Ecologies. My understanding of this theory, quiet simply put, is technology involvement and effect over society and human life. I did come across technological determinism again, a concept I discussed in last week’s blog, across both the Fuller (Fuller 2005) and Media-ecology website. Essentially this allowed me to make some connection based on my understanding from last week. Media ecologies however seem to expand on this notion and not only focus on technologies as an impinge on human life, but also media in general; techniques that surround this, as well as communication (Strate, 1999, media-ecology.com)

Dietz provides an interesting example of the said theory, which helped me greatly understand media ecologies in real time. She refers to WikiLeaks and the associations and layers of media and other concepts involved:

“…in order to make digestible the overwhelming amount of material released by his leaked information organisation, founder Julian Assange harnessed mainstream media outlets. Other organisations added to the public conversation quickly unfolding on blogs, Facebook and alternative outlets such as Crikey.” (Dietz, 2010, thenationalforum.com)

She goes on to say..(or type)

The concepts of transparency, participation and collaboration are all producing profound culture change – information that was once protected by insiders and vested interests is now potentially available to all. Big Brother is us.” (Dietz, 2010, thenationalforum.com)

Which Levinson too brings up in his reading ‘The First Digital Medium’ in relation to discussing vested interests and how it affects knowledge, which dates back to ancient Egypt, where those with power/time previously had exclusive access (Levison 1997).

–       A quick side note though (in regards to Fuller’s reading). I couldn’t help but to tie Fuller’s discussion of a meme, to one of the site’s that I visit most regularly: http://memebase.com/

It did help me understand the concept of a meme is a slightly more entertaining way I must admit…

So very briefly the complexities of today’s intertwining of technology, today’s media and communication (considered with techniques) presents us human’s than with a challenging and selective opportunity in how we consume this, or more so how it consumes us? However more importantly an array, a vast choice of what was previously never available to us.


Dietz, M (23 December 2010) The new media ecology, The National Forum, accessed 3/10/2012, <http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11410&page=1>

Fuller, M (2005) ‘Introduction: Media Ecologies’ in Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture Cambridge, MA; MIT Press: 1-12

Levinson, P (1997) ‘The First Digital Medium’ in Soft Edge; a natural history and future of the information revolution London: Routledge:11-20

Strate, L (1999) An Overview of Media Ecology, Media Ecology Association, accessed 3/10/2010, <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/#An Overview of Media Ecology (Lance Strate)>

Ahhhh transformation- HINT

4 Mar

Firstly to my future tutor…WELCOME!

Now lets get on to business and dissecting this week’s reading and what I think. The two central frameworks from the Murphie and Potts reading include ‘technological determinism’ and ‘cultural materialism’.

My understanding of ‘technological determinism’, can quiet simply be put as, technology being the vehicle or agent for social change. As the reading continues to describe this framework, where technology is seen as an independent factor, I can begin to understand how there are counter arguments in seeing how technology interacts with culture/society.

Marshall McLuhan goes on to further develop this line of ‘technological determinism’, by claiming that the “basic premise is that technologies are extensions of human capacities” (Murphie and Potts, pp13, 2003) and that the “medium is the message” (Murphie and Potts, pp 13 and http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/media/topics/342/). I agree that his definition of technology is essentially viable, in terms of technology being an extension of human capacities, however the ‘medium rather than the message’ aspect can be argued either way.

Although different mediums can seem to bombard and side track the consumer, perhaps drawing attention away from the message itself, with blogs, you tube, TV, radio etc essentially, this ‘total perceptual field’ (Murphie and Potts, pp 14, 2003) created as a result of choice and widened horizons for the consumer, can go either way. The consumer can either take advantage of this and broaden their horizons, or the consumer can be bombarded with so many mediums and sources that they become overwhelmed. The consumer in themselves has great effect in this sense, which ironically contradicts the ‘technological determinism’ theory.

A total perception field is supposed to increase our information exposure,

but can it really hinder it?

The other spectrum of ‘cultural materialism’ takes most of these other factors that are disregarded by ‘technological determinism’, and puts them into play. Here political and social interests are considered as well as historical accounts.Where the “social shaping of technology” (Murphie and Potts, pp 20, 2003) explains and counters how society “plays a major part in deciding wich technologies are adopted, and how they are implemented and controlled’ (Murphie and Potts, pp 20, 2003).

Between these two frameworks I am able to understand technology’s place in not only society but culture too. By understanding the ‘cultural materialism’ framework and seeing it within today’s society, I think that it is indeed the way that technology is used that determines their cultural impact.


– Murphie, Andrew and Potts, John (2003) ‘Theoretical Frameworks’ in Culture and Technology London: Palgrave Macmillan: 11-38

– Various videos and radio recordings listened to: <http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/media/topics/342/>

– Image supplied by <http://www.flickr.com/>