Week 3 – Ecologies

This week, we looked further into understanding the concept of ‘media ecologies.’ Neil Postman explains it simply as ‘how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival. The word ecology implies the study of environments: their structure, content, and impact on people.’

Basically, what I’ve learnt this weeks lecture and the readings suggest that society today is governed by our media environments. My reflection from this week is an easy one, my life is completely governed by the media because i constantly live in media environments.

‘The New Media Ecology’ by Milissa Deitz questions the value of today’s contemporary media. This is because we now have almost limitless resources available to us and also, easily accessible. To help myself understand this, I looked around this week, and observed and pinpointed my own media ecologies and how they differed from place to place. In the comforts of my own home, my media ecologies are THRIVING. Surrounded by limitless internet, television, my iphone, ipod, radio, books, magazines..
But then suddenly, I’ll be in my car, and my media ecologies/environment shifts – there is no 24/7 access to the internet anymore, & if you’re with shitty vodafone like I am, then you’re pretty much doomed. So there are times, when i feel the sense of being cut off from the social world, when i am stuck in traffic with no reception. and therefore my interaction with media suddenly diminishes as opposed to the home where it ‘facilitates my survival’ (postman) – it gives me structure and a sense of control in knowing i can access anything at my will.

Something I found very accurate is the way Deitz describes this ‘new media egology’ – as open and unstable. My own interpretation of this is that this comes from the instability of the multiple media technologies and platforms that exist. A contemporary example that I can think of, is how fast one phenomenon can being and how rapid it can decline. Social networking sites for example – sites such as myspace and bebo garnered up much popularity, but as fast as one begins, it only takes something else to bring it down. Facebook, pretty much caused the demise of existing social networking sites, and new sites such as tumblr and twitter had to re-invent and adapt to new ideas to co-exist. It also made me think of how people use to rely on traditional media, such as newspapers to make sense of their media environment. However, traditional media gave way to new media. It is ‘open’ due to the fact, that anyone with access to the internet can distribute information into the public and which is causing the blur of boundaries of who can be defined as a ‘journalist’ or what can be classified as ‘news.’
As our environments change, society will continue to change alongside it. The social impact of the internet enabled what most of our lives now consist of every day – communication on multiple platforms through new forms of social interaction, activities and organization which our days revolve around. Today’s media – however, has proliferated the magnitude in which we communicate, accelerating beyond lines of basic communications and information on whole new levels. One limitation though, are developing countries who dont live in media ecologies or barely come into contact with it.

Word: ‘Embodies’

‘Media Ecology’, Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_ecology>
Media Ecology Association ‘What is Media Ecology’ <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/>
Deitz, Milissa (2010) ‘The New Media Ecology’, On Line Opinion: Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate <http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11410&page=1>

Final research project note – understanding media ecologies has been interesting, a paper on how different places created different media environments could be a sound idea.


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