Archive | March, 2013

Metacommunication

25 Mar

It’s week 3, and the word for this blog is ‘metacommunication’. We had to discover for ourselves what this term, or perhaps concept, meant and how it was relative to media ecology. By just typing the name into Google I found a site that spoke about metacommunication and how it affected people’s love lives. It also discussed that the term’s origins lie with the thinking of Gregory Bateson who used the term to describe the underlying messages portrayed through non-verbal elements of face-to-face communication like body language and facial expression. These elements can obviously enhance or undermine what we say in words.

 

After spending quite a bit of time trying to find not only a definition for the word, but also a way in which it was relevant to media, I came across an article titled ‘Meta-media and meta-communication’ by Klaus Bruhn Jensen (2011) and it helped me somewhat in getting my head around it (I think). He speaks of ‘three degrees’ of media; these are ‘bodies and tools’ (as in human beings and the writing utensils and instruments which are extensions of the body), ‘technologies’ (which he describes as mass media) and ‘meta-technologies’ (which are “digital technologies which reproduce and recombine all previous media of representation and interaction on a single material platform of hardware and software”). Maybe in some ways this is similar to McLuhan’s description of four ‘epochs’ which are categorized by different communication media, these are the tribal, literate, print and electronic era’s. What Jensen suggests is that in the ‘meta-technological’ degree, we have come full circle and we are seeing a return of the ‘multimodal forms of interchange that characterize face-to-face setting’ through technologies such as mobile phones (primarily because of sms), online computer games as well as ‘the sense of being virtually present in some literally absent world’ that can be attributed to the internet (for example being able to tweet and share comments on TV shows such as XFactor or My Kitchen Rules, as well as programs which allow face-to-face communication such as Skype). Hence the original thinking associated with metacommunication, regarding non-verbal elements of communication, are re-applicable when communication in the ‘meta-technological degree’.

 

In terms of media ecology, with these developments, technologically mediated actions such as speech and reading have become prominent components of everyday life. Youth often utilize ‘text speech’ in everyday vocabulary with abbreviations such as LOL (laugh out loud) and YOLO (you only live once) being quite popular. Similarly the way we now read and interpret information and data has been altered due to our constant interaction with new media. The following video ‘the machine is us/ing us’ conveys this message quite well.

 

 

Jensen KB (2011), ‘Meta Media and meta-communication – revisiting the concept of genre in the digital media environment’ in Journal of Media and Communication Research, Society of Media Research in Denmark: Copenhagen

A Global Tribe

13 Mar

I have made the error of writing a blog post regarding week 2 readings in week 1. This explains why I have utilized the word ‘event’ (which was week 1’s word) quite often in the blog post. so consider this my blog entry for week 2. I understand that the word for this week was ‘machinics’ and unfortunately it doesn’t feature in this weeks entry. Regardless of this, there is a combination of themes from both week 1 and 2 in the entry below. As from week 3 the blog word will feature more prominently in my blog entries. I apologize for the confusion.

For the first ARTS3091 blog entry for 2013 the word that needed to be utilized was ‘event’. While looking for a broad and widely applicable definition for the word I turned to Wikipedia, where a nice and simple definition can always be found. For the word ‘event’ this was not the case. Under the word ‘event’ was a list of various different things that the word could be used to describe, for example; “a competition eg. a sports competition” such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, “a ceremony, eg. a marriage” such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or perhaps “a festival, eg. a musical event” such as Live Aid or Sound Relief. Included in the list was also the “media event, a happening that attracts coverage by mass media” i.e. all of the above.

Technology is undoubtedly the core reason behind the fact that many things that could be defined as an ‘event’ could possibly be classified as a ‘media event’ as well. In Murphie and John’s reading this week technological determinism, the belief that technology is the agent of social change, was significant (2003). This concept can be utilized to explain why geographical distance is no longer relevant when it comes to sharing in the experience of events such as Royal weddings, Olympic Games and music festivals.

The irrelevance of geographical distance is central to what McLuhan refers to as the Global Village. In the following video, which I assume is at least 50 years old (there is no date provided) McLuhan speaks of how ‘new media’, which was mainly television at the time, was creating a world that was a single unit, he refers to it as ‘re-tribalising’. At that point in history, ‘new media’, as described in the video, was on the ‘outskirts of everyday life’, not yet fully integrated into the regular flow of the average day. However as you can see in the clip, McLuhan predicts that it will one day change, that the media will one day become so influential in our lives that it will influence our wants and our actions. Fast forward to 2013 and I’m writing this blog while watching live English Premier League Football, along with millions of others around the world. Whether it is at 2:00am or 8:00pm, at the stadium in West Bromwich, a pub in Swansea, Wales (who were the opposing team), or a lamp lit lounge room in Sydney, this global audience will share in the excitement or disappointment that is associated with the event.

Canadian Broadcasting Association, ‘Marshal McLuhan: The Global Village’ (video) on Demystifying McLuhan; ttp://www.cbc.ca/mcluhan/about/#.UTwoCqXHafQ, accessed 9/03/2013

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