Module 3 Week 3 Reading Response Post

May 29, 2015

Broadening the View: HCI and Critical Theory

“Technological rationality causes a one-dimensional thinking, in which only one alternative of existence is considered and potential other alternatives are denied.”

Dialectical thinking sees reality as complex, as developing process, full of potentials for change, and as contradictory. … Dialectical thought is therefore “two-dimensional.”

“A sustainable design of technology needs to be embedded into a sustainable design of society.”

“…HCI should not only look at the positive potentials of new interaction technologies, but also on the negative consequences technology might have in society.”

Overall enjoyed the article as it connected not only the theory but included realistic application.

Teaching McLuhan

Extension of human communication activated through the use of technology.

Concept of “hot” and “cool” medium. The idea that a medium can shift in its status, based on who interacts with it, and as the technology evolves or changes.

“… the same concept of excess leading to its opposite.”

“McLuhan considers one of the most common causes of break boundaries in any system to be cross-fertilization or hybridization, which is when two (or more) mediums processes come together, an event which releases “great new force and energy.”

Digital Engagement: America’s Use (and Misuse) of Marshall McLuhan

McLuhan’s “Global Village” concept reintroduced.

Concept of “Internet freedom” across international boundaries, largely pushed for by the Obama administration.

Government using this idea of engagement and digital community to expand American-interest topics and propaganda internationally.

“In fact, much of what now constitutes “common sense” for many American proponents of digital communications tends to parrot a generally optimistic interpretation of McLuhan’s work.”

Medium is message, media is institution and technologies we construct, have implications on our environment.

“… the more one delves into McLuhan the clearer it becomes that the global village is not an ideal place to live.” “‘the Age of Anxiety.’”

“… not only do our media creations extend us, they change us.”

“Thus, when McLuhan refers to a “process of consciousness” without “verbalization” (and one in which “speechlessness” becomes essential to humanity’s “harmony”), he is not anticipating a world in which truths are formulated in thoughtful or reflexive ways. Instead, people are interlinked inside an electronic membrane that compels an accelerating universalization of shared immediacies.64”

The above sounds like the idea of lack of tonality or context by which the Internet provides text and information, but not intention, desire, or purpose. An emoji should not be necessary to indicate sarcasm, happiness, or frustration. Inherently, we take the negative connotation of the writing/prose versus looking for the positively inclined intention.


This week’s readings took us deeper into the context of media and technology on society, vis a vis Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and the works of Marshall McLuhan, and how various forms of media have had an impact on the society with which they’ve become integrated.

Within the first article, “Broadening the View: HCI and Critical Theory,” we discover the ideas of looking at the impact of media and HCI not unilaterally or with only one outcome, but to approach the effects and impacts of not just the technology itself, but it’s impact on society in a dialectical, or two-dimensional, approach with the possibility of both positive and negative outcomes.

The second article, “Teaching McLuhan: Understanding Understanding Media,” was particularly eye-opening for me, as I’d not read any of the works by McLuhan, but could observe from the professor’s pedagogical approach to the subject both the context and ideas that McLuhan was communicating in Understanding Media. Additionally, the idea that we have created an extension of human communication activated through the use of technology, furthered by the concept of “hot” and “cool” medium was of great interest. Finally, the idea that a medium can shift in its status, based on who interacts with it, and as the technology evolves or changes, was curious in applying to recent trends with social media, non-linear television viewing, and other media evolutions.

The final article brings McLuhan’s “global village” concept to recent events with the American government’s attempts to extend our value and belief system aboard, specifically focusing on Muslim-based anti-American sentiment. The activation and in some instances covert use of the Internet by the government through the ideas of engagement and digital community to expand American-interest topics and propaganda internationally, seems both prevalent but also ineffective.

Overall, this week’s readings brought insight in not just looking at the impact of technology and media, but how they interplay with one another within a society. Additionally, I was intrigued by the idea that a media may move from “hot” to “cool” as the effects of a media on a society may not only vary by the society with which it’s engaged, but can also evolve and change as a society’s use, or misuse, of the technology evolves.

  1. How has the Internet within the US changed from either a “hot” or “cool” medium over its development and evolution in its 25 year history? Has it really changed? Is the shift any different internationally?
  2. The “global village” has evolved to now include the Internet and its interactions on truly a global stance. Have both the rights and responsibilities of the citizens within this village shifted or changed with this new medium, or have they remained the same? How so?

Post Tags:

Digital Engagement, MMC6400, Web Theory,