Saturday, March 05, 2005

TheFeature :: McLuhanizing Mobile Media

We're two days away from launching ABC2 and the ABC Online Broadband Channel. I'm feeling kind of stressed, especially after having been called at 7am this morning to fix last minute teething problems.

So, to get my mind off of the fact that we're about to go live in a couple of days, I ran across this article at "The," a collaborative weblog on the mobile internet. Howard Rheingold, author, thinker and creater of the Smart Mobs weblog I have feeding into the RSS sidebar, asks the question, "What would Marshall McLuhan, visionary prophet of pre-Internet media, say about mobile telephony, texting, the mobile Web, and the always-on world of wireless devices?"

It's a few months old, but very interesting nonetheless. To summarise (as much as I can) rather than answer this question he applies McLuhan's "Theories of Media" to the technology, asking the four questions published in "The Laws of Media: The New Science." The four questions are, in a nutshell;
What is enhanced by the artifact?
If pushed beyond its original limits, what does it reverse from its intended purpose?
what old, possibly obsolescent condition is brought back by the artifact?
What former condition is pushed aside?

While the discussion going on from there (and continued in the comments section by other readers) is interestng, the point that hit home to me was the one about reversal. His answer is that for all the Mobile Internet's intentin of freeing people from a location ( "I don't have to be at the office; I can do what I do from the beach!") it has wound up tethering them instead ("I can't ever leave the office, even at the beach,").
Anyway, if you have an interest go and take a look t the article.
McLuhanizing Mobile Media
and his more recent one,
Cameraphones as Personal Storytelling Media.

Happy reading.

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