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PSY 355 Psychology & Media in the Digital Age

This page was last modified on February 11, 2014

The Development of Media from a Media Ecology Perspective III [OUTLINE]

The Advent of the Techno-Digital Age & "Secondary Orality"

The Techno-Digital Age
  • electricity as a source of power
  • Data goes from analog to digital formats.
  • Publishing moves from fewer large corporate organizations to include many smaller publishing entities spread over wider and wider geographical areas ("desk-top" publishing, blogs, websites, e-zines, podcasts, etc.)  
  • The human sensory-perceptual and motor-expressive systems involves
    • (1) hearing sound and voice once again [telephone, phonographs, records...],
    • (2) experiencing dynamic visual movement [movies, TV, video-gaming...], and
    • (3) using touch and personal bodily movements [employing a computer mouse or touch pad, video-gaming, on-screen responding such as 'texting,' etc.]
    • (4) sensory-perceptual information beyond the realm of the human senses of hearing and seeing to include the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
[The Electromagnetic
                  Spectrum]
  • Size and distances open to human experience grow exponentially larger and smaller.
  • Speed of communication is not only faster but the issue of distance becomes relatively trivial (at the magnitude of the Earth and its surface). The lag-time between sending and responding to information becomes shorter and shorter.
  • The amount of information that can be stored and retrieved grows exponentially while the cost of data storage becomes exponentially cheaper. Thus storage capacity for human knowledge is virtually unlimited although retrieval capacity lags behind.

"Secondary Orality"
(Ong, 1982)

• Literary culture + new forms emerging in the techno-digital age => "secondary orality"
• TV, radio, movies, CDs and recorded music, etc.  
The Development of Media as a World-Wide Ecological System
In the contemporary world, media more and more forms what can be described as a world-wide ecological system. What does this mean?

Ecology in the Natural World

Ecology in the Media World = A technological (information & communication) system (or network) of interdependent tools and methodologies (a) exhibiting a multiplicity of forms, (b) arranged in nested hierarchical fashion, (c) functioning with environments of both human and non-living physical components and (d) directed toward achieving or advancing human goals broadly conceived, e.g., communication, information acquisition & analysis, entertainment & recreation, etc.
  • particular habitats, i.e., the human life world including social life spaces, cultural worlds, and the physical environment
    • teenagers, college students, families, businesses, lonely singles, scientists, hobbyists, creative artists, refugees & immigrants, etc.
  • specific niches, i.e., a medium's job, what it accomplishes, its role in the habitat
    • social exchange, short message communication, music sharing, dating, scholarly communication, artistic production like graphic design or photography, etc.   
  • interfaces between the technological forms & their human users as well as between the different technological forms themselves
    • Screens, microphones, earjacks, speakers, keyboards, track pads, styli (styluses), etc.
    • Wifi & broadband, the Internet & its protocols, routers, ethernet outlets, etc.   
  • a diversity of technological forms (hardware & software)
    • laptop computers, desktop computers, tablet computers, smart phones, etc.
    • Gaming stations, digital cameras, inkjet printers, Bluetooth speakers, etc.
    • Photoshop, Twitter, Facebook, Garage Band, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, etc. 

Some of the questions we can ask ourselves about digital media ecologies include
  • What are the most important particular habitats that I live within at the present time?
  • What niches do I seek out within the media ecologies available to me? What are the most important roles that media play within my life?
  • Do I prefer some types of interfaces over others in the ways I live within my media ecology?
  • What are the most important specific technological forms that I enjoy within my media ecology?


This page was first posted on 2/11/14