Blur: printing press and television

The series of transformations described in Blur function as a collective body to narrate the story of communication through time up to this point. It is really difficult to isolate only two of the transformations as being of paramount importance. Do I select one of the earlier transformations as it served as a stepping stone for transformations to come? Do I choose a more recent transformation that has seemingly more impact on my personal life? Should I create a systematic calculation that considers factors from each of the transformations and select the two transformations that receive the highest scores?

By way of review, Blur notes distinct transformations in communication.

  • The written word established “permanence, complexity, and mobility” to communication
  • The printing press made it possible to produce writings and literature in mass quantities
  • The telegraph allowed for the rapid dispersal of news and information over long distances
  • The radio even further advanced the speed of information flow allowing for the public to know of events within minutes of their occurrence; the radio also was a conduit for national cohesion and unity
  • The television permitted the public to engage another sense into the method we digest news/information: sight
  • Digital technology granted people unprecedented access to information and news on their own time

The first transformation that I highlight is the advent of the printing press. What distinguished the printing press from other transformations was the evolution in thought that accompanied that transformation in communication. Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Prior to his invention, all written forms had to be copied by hand and were incredibly expensive to purchase, exclusive only to the rich. However, with the printing press, large quantities of literature could be produced and were accessible to a wider audience. This kick-started a sudden increase in both writing and reading, and literacy rates skyrocketed. As a result, there was a rise in empirical thought. People were more critical and reflective of their surroundings and sought explanations for what they saw. People were able to take ownership of their own thoughts and beliefs; no longer did they have to rely on an outside source of established authority to feed them information. They could interpret and analyze text. Additionally, the printing press catapulted the field of journalism into existence and promoted the concept of public opinion. Furthermore, this spread of information encouraged the notion that people could be self-governing: they could participate in democracy.

The second transformation that I have selected is the arrival of the television. Although this transformation might not hold as much significance or impact as the printing press, I chose it because this allowed people to see the news. It offered another medium to form opinion and incorporated the sense of sight into the way in which we consume information. The television had the capacity to unify in a way unlike any other of its communication predecessors. The New York Times even has an entire section dedicated to Television.

Although I chose the emergence of the printing press and the television as the two most important transformations in communication, it is critical to examine how each of the aforementioned transformations contribute to the development of communication and how it got us to where we are today.

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digital technology as newest transformation in technology. (photo credit: wordpress)


Blur: printing press and television

Navigating this Digital World

In this post, I am merely responding to remarks and questions I found noteworthy from this week’s readings and prompt

“They [digital technologies] are so much a part of our everyday lives that we often don’t think about them.”

I do not completely agree with this statement. Digital technologies are undoubtedly a part of our everyday lives. We have unprecedented access and exposure to these technologies. Our lifestyles have become seemingly dependent on their proper functioning. However, I question the merit of the second part of the statement: We often don’t think about them. Because most of us still have a space to distance and disentangle ourselves from technology’s reach, we still think about them. We maintain a basis for comparison in their presence and absence. It may be that digital technologies’ absence frightens us. Such an absence would disrupt our patterns of living and force major changes. Somewhere deep within our brains we consider this hypothetical situation a possible reality, so we remain grateful for its continued proper functioning and in fear and awareness of its possible removal. Personally, I continue to marvel at the fact that I carry around a super computer in my pocket. And even (especially in a daydreaming-conducive environment such as lounged on a sofa in front window on a sunny day thereby allowing you to assume the position of a sunbathing cat) I wonder what the pioneers of computers would think about it. It is interesting to consider how future generations will think (or not think) about digital technologies as they are becoming increasingly used and introduced at a young age

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of messages and email?

Being an introvert and someone who has an aversion to being tied to schedules and obligations, I am easily overwhelmed by all of this social stimulation. Introversion is commonly substituted with shyness, yet they mean two different things. When I write “introvert,” I draw from a definition given by Susan Cain in her TedTalk: “introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.” I am “most switched-on” when my technology is switched off. The constant bombardment of messages and email disrupts the low-key environment that I love and in which I operate best. Typically partnered with these messages and emails are commitments to be at a certain place at a certain time to do a certain task for a certain purpose. Swiftly, your schedule (over)fills with these activities/events that rise to paramount importance in order to meet an obligation you feel as though you must uphold. Before you know it, your schedule is fueling a dangerous cycle that places your identity in how much you can accomplish rather than in the content of your character. Your life becomes increasingly busier and complex trying to affirm your identity in the number of events that you do. When you finally have to a second to catch your breath, all you want is to return to a place of simplicity.

Do you sometimes feel as if you aren’t in the moment but busy figuring out what everyone else is doing or busy trying to capture a photo?

I intentionally do not own any social media accounts in part because I know that I would waste my time figuring out what everyone else is doing

My sisters and I doing one “cool, meaningful” thing among an infinite number of possibilities. (Photo credit: Elizabeth Rudigier)

(and subsequently comparing by own circumstances to theirs). Doing so would lower engagement in whatever it was that I was doing, taking away
from a potentially awesome, genuine experience. However, adopting a posture of “JOMO” (Joy of missing out) would extinguish the need to figure out what everyone else is doing. JOMO grasps the reality that there is a “limitless number of cool or meaningful things we’re not doing” and releases us from the suffocating impulse to compare. May we revel in how extraordinarily lucky are we to live in a place where this is the case.



Navigating this Digital World