Video or Text-Based Web Pages?

In previous blog entries, I have written about the way different communication channels influence the message received. We have known for a long time that the medium is the message. (See also Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium Is the Massage). One of the principal concepts behind the message inherent in the titles of books (including McLuhan’s) is that communication channels are themselves “messages.” The original discussion about this concept focused on the differences being communicated by print media and television. the movie, Medium Cool, was based on McLuhan’s concept that video was a “cool” medium, one that forced viewers to think . . . → Read More: Video or Text-Based Web Pages?

True Colors

One of the TV shows I watch with regularity is Austin City Limits, a PBS show featuring live music. A couple of weeks ago, the featured performer was Cindi Lauper. Although many years have passed since I first heard her sing, she still puts on a good show. One song in particular caught my attention for what it has to say today as we face a future less certain than we have typically known in the past. The song was . . . → Read More: True Colors

Earthquakes

By now, you undoubtedly know about the devastating earthquake in Nepal. You may not have heard, however, about the earthquake in SW Michigan. Earthquakes come in all sizes, from the huge and deadly to the minor shake-ups. Michigan’s earthquake was a minor shake-up. When I was growing up in California, we had numerous minor quakes. Even though they always came as a surprise, we learned to recognize them for what they were. After I had grown up and left, California experienced at least two serious quakes with extensive damage and some deaths, one in northern California and one in southern . . . → Read More: Earthquakes

Social Media and Our Collective Well-being

A long time ago (1985) a New York University professor, Neil Postman, published Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. One of the principal ideas is that television is “entertainment,” even when the subject is serious. The “news” becomes just another “show.”

From time to time I have wondered what Professor Postman would have thought about social media. His principal complaint about television was that it turns “news” into “entertainment.” Rational discourse was replaced by video and sound “bites,” with the focus of attention increasingly fleeting and fragmented. I remember the history of television . . . → Read More: Social Media and Our Collective Well-being

Sticking to Our Guns

Some of you have noticed that it has been a long time since my last post. It isn’t so much that I had nothing to say as it is that I was overwhelmed by how much needed saying. A lot has been going on, and even areas where not much has been happening (the U.S. Congress), the inaction is fraught with meaning.

Where a lot has been going on—forest fires in the U.S., flooding in the U.S., wars and rumors of wars in the Middle East, and changes related to global climate change—it is hard for me to know . . . → Read More: Sticking to Our Guns

I Read the News Today (Oh, Boy)

With apologies to the Beatles and “A Day in the Life”:

One of my daily habits is reading through the major online news sources to get a sense of what is happening here in the U.S. and in the world. I often find it fascinating to see what subjects are drawing the most media attention—and the kind of attention they are attracting. Here’s a brief round-up of recent “stuff”:

Placebos are in the news (again): One of the things I find most interesting about placebos is that articles about them written by medical doctors studiously avoid the word . . . → Read More: I Read the News Today (Oh, Boy)