Typewriters, Tweets, and Television

The medium is the message.

So said Marshall McLuhan in 1964.

 A letter, typewritten, will be different than one handwritten.  Different than a voicemail; different than an email.

A letter, typewritten, will be different than one handwritten.  Different than a voicemail; different than an email.

Say I were to deliver to you a piece of information: "The current presidential contenders do not like one another."  Were I to speak this sentence to you in person, we would interact: you would offer a response and a conversation would likely ensue.  Instead, I have delivered this information to you somewhat anonymously in printed form.  if you wish to interact with me on this, you'll have to do some work in leaving a comment on this post or emailing me or perhaps remembering to bring it up in our next encounter.

The manner in which we transmit information will unquestionably influence the manner with which we interact with this information.  You will interact with the six o' clock news quite differently than, say, a twitter feed with the same content, delivered by some mix of online personalities.

Today, some fifty years after McLuhan's statement, we have a vast array of communication media and devices that create spaces for interaction once thought impossible.  As we begin to use new media for our messages, the messages themselves will transform and our interactions with said messages will follow suit.  Cultural dialogues and understandings will not be unaffected.  Five-year-olds today, for instance, can often operate a smartphone, but their drawing abilities, in general, have degraded when compared to those of children a decade ago - ask my family members who happen to teach preschool.

 Before they could advertise on your Instagram feed...

Before they could advertise on your Instagram feed...

As technology changes our forms of communication, communication itself will be transformed.  For some, this is an exciting new frontier; others view this as a foreboding wasteland of triviality.  I say, let us pay attention to new forms of communication and how they change our interactions and our selves.  Much of these new forms may well breed new vibrancy, creativity, and connection, but we must be wary of degrading our depth of relationship and true soul-knowledge of one another.  Seek to keep the good and jettison the counter-productive.

Sure, send your friend a Snapchat video.  But then, go on a long hike and listen to their heart.