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07/07/2010

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Steve Watts

This may be more serious of an answer than you're looking for, but in doing research as part of my graduate studies, the answer is partially that any time a new technology inserts itself into societal mainstream, we as a society adjust the paradigm of how we work to accommodate its inherent needs.

The technology isn't just "the technology," it's an entire paradigm of actions: the setup, support, connections to other technology, the social norms surrounding the technology (how soon before people in movie theaters bring their iPads to watch a DIFFERENT movie than the one they're sitting in?).

As a culture we're socialized to believe that any new technology invention automatically means that it's both necessary, proper, and useful--whether the technology has any real merit or not for our particular use conditions.

I'm getting long winded here, but there's an old saying by media theorist Marshall McLuhan that goes "the medium is the message." The medium/technology carries and transmits "messages," but it itself also has its own social "message" of how we are expected to use and appropriate it.

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