Names such as McLuhan, Baudrillard, Williams, Innis and McKenzie appear a lot in media studies. They spend their lives theorising something that most just see as a form of entertainment. They spend their life trying to understand different mediums, their importance and how us humans fit into it all. Many theorists today are focused on a new dilemma – where is all this heading? Tiziana Terranova introduced a forum, which started up a discussion about liquid democracies and the hyper linking of people rather than documents. This opens up the discussion about the power of the Internet. Does the Internet allow us to live in a single cell society where we are able to mediate through the power of public opinion? Michel Bauwens was filmed at the Internet as a Playground and Factory forum and he spoke about his ideas on peer-to-peer foundation. He explains that the Internet enables a global scale of small group dynamics. With the Internet these small groups from all over the world can communicate with each other and perhaps become more productive than centralized multi-nationals. Thus the study of media seems to be all about how it changes the world we experience. Murphie et al. (2003) summarises part of McLuhan’s work, which he wrote back in 60’s, “media are technologies that extend human sense perceptions. In proposing that ‘the medium’ is the message McLuhan argues that the cultural significance of media lies not in their content, but in the way they alter our perception of the world.” This observation made over 40 years ago still very much applies today.
So where will the future take us, will public opinion finally get its chance to create change? Will we have peer-to-peer foundation? How much control are we willing to give to these mediums?
Interested in what I am talking about see these following sites and readings and tune in next week:
Murphie, Anderw and Potts, John (2003) ‘Theoretical Frameworks’ in Culture and Technology London: Palgrave Macmillan: 11-38