Mediamorphosis: What Did We Do Before Google?

Of all the readings this week I most enjoyed Fidler’s article, Mediamorphosis, which takes us on a journey through time, exploring the history of communications technology.  Interestingly enough, this article was written before I had an email account, internet access, or a cell phone.  It’s amazing how accessible these technologies are today and how much they have advanced in such a short period of time.

I gather that new communication technologies don’t usually end up being utilized the way they were meant to be, primarily because consumers find new and more innovative ways to use the technology.  Take the radio for instance.  As mentioned in Mediamorphosis, radio was originally used as a point-to-point communications device much like the telegraph or telephone.  It wasn’t until years later that Westinghouse took seriously the ideas of an employee, amateur radio enthusiast Frank Conrad, and realized the device’s potential as a mass broadcasting tool.

As an extension of the first article, What is Web 2.0 explained how different the internet is now than it was in the beginning.  When the web was first introduced to the public, it was designed and implemented more like software or a publishing tool, with users only passively participating as consumers of internet products like Netscape or AOL. Thankfully, we’ve been freed from the restraints of these types of platforms and today, we enjoy an internet that’s all about participation and interactivity.  Although it seems to me that users inevitably end up deciding how a new technology will be used, its companies like Google and Westinghouse that capitalize on our genius to provide us with the services and products that we desire.

The third article, Does Google Make Us Stupid, was food for thought, I suppose.  Overall, I don’t think Google is to blame for anyone’s stupidity.  I do, however, think that technologies like the internet and cell phones are to blame for other negative changes in society.  We’re lazier, more impatient, less apt to socialize face-to-face, and we drive much worse than we did before.  Even so, pigs will fly before I voluntarily give up my internet access or cell phone!

10 Tips on Writing the Living Web is filled with good suggestions that will no doubt be useful in this class.  As someone who sees many blogs and social media sites as being inherently narcissistic, I especially liked this quote: “Bad personal sites bore us by telling us about trivial events and casual encounters about which we have no reason to care.”  I hope my blog ends up being an entertaining and thoughtful reflection of who I am, not just some blather about doing laundry or what I ate for lunch.

1.  A few months back, the musician Prince declared that “The Internet is completely over.” In what ways do you agree or disagree with this statement? 

2.  In my reflection, I mention a few negative impacts of the internet and cell phones.  What do you consider the greatest positive impact of these technologies?


2 responses to “Mediamorphosis: What Did We Do Before Google?

  1. Hi, Carrie! Great start to the quarter. I’m glad the readings gave you a little pause — that framing (when the chapter was written versus your getting an email account) is marvelous. Well structured open-ended questions, too. :-)

  2. Technologies are forever evolving, companies like Google and Westinghouse pushes the boundaries and imaginations helped keep them relevant and reached the masses.

    No, Prince is out of his purple mind.

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