Making New Media Make Sense Review

This article was interesting to read because it highlighted different people’s responses to new communication technologies. It explains that as different technological means of communication arise, different meanings and associations become acquainted with the new development. The article discusses three different ways new communication technologies are viewed: Technological determinism, social construction of technology, and social shaping perspective.
Technological determinism suggests that when new forms of technological communication come to be, they are unavoidable and weave their way into society and force negative changes upon us that are impossible to defy. Author Nick Carr wrote about how he has felt his ways of thinking shift. He says that he cannot read for long periods of time anymore and he does not think as in-depth as he used to. He blames this on new communication technologies and their ability to quickly gather information for us without us having to think. He suggests that this is what has caused his inability to think for long periods of time.
Social construction of technology believes that people dominate over technology and are the ones who decide how new communication technologies change and how they are used. As people change and develop over time, technology changes to match what it is that we as humans need. People also decide which technologies are worthy of their use based on their capabilities. These are then the most commonly used technologies amongst society.
Social shaping perspective is a combination of both technological determinism and social construction of technology. Social shaping perspective believes that people influence technology just as much as technology influences people. Along with the social shaping perspective comes the domestication of new communication technologies. This occurs when what was once a “cool” technological device become so frequently used and taken for granted in society that it is normalized and standard to have it. If you don’t have it, you are behind the rest of society.
Reading all three of these opinions, I think I would have to agree most with the social shaping perspective. Blaming the internet for society’s downfall (technological determinism) seems very childish, because it suggests that humans are not accountable for their actions. On the other hand, saying that technology does not influence people at all also seems false, because why else would we have technology in the first place? As with most cases, the middle ground (social shaping perspective) accounts for the inaccuracies in both arguments and provides a more logical stance on the issue. Page 13 of the article says “The problem with people and the Internet is not the Internet but what people do with it”. This quote perfectly explains that even though the Internet and other new communication technologies may get us into sticky situations, we need to take responsibility for those actions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *