Sunday, July 6, 2014

Explorers of the Digital Universe, Guardians of the Gutenberg Galaxy

As if launching a satellite into the infinitely expanding universe, I enter a new blog into the ever expanding blogosphere.  Like a satellite exploring infinitely expanding space, this blog will explore our infinitely expanding digital universe.

The digital universe?

I mean cyberspace, the computer-mediated world of Internet that has given us everything from digital technologies like smartphones to online technologies like social media.  This world includes, of course, the blogosphere in which you now temporarily reside.

However, my plea is that, in exploring this universe, let us not forget about the old world, the world of print media, especially newspapers and books.  Media scholar Marshall McLuhan called this old world the ‘Gutenberg Galaxy’ (after Johannes Gutenberg, the German inventor of the printing press with movable type).

There is no doubt that the Gutenberg Galaxy has been usurped by the Digital Universe.  In blog posts to come, we will look at data that reveal why both kids and adults are reading books less and less while surfing online more and more.  Students around the country often bring iphones and labtops into the classroom more than they bring notepaper or books.  So what is the fate of the Gutenberg Galaxy in this Digital Universe?  Can we guard the old world while still exploring the new?  Those will be some questions this blog will tackle.

As the title “Mindful Media” indicates, this blog will provide (what I hope will be) thoughtful and reflective musings on our technologies—how we use them, what they do to our minds (and sometimes bodies), and whether or not we are using them wisely.

Let me put it this way: Are we using these information-processing technologies in ways that actually help us process information?  Or are we just getting lost in information overload, drowning our deeper thoughts in shallow tweets and posts, amusing ourselves to death?

To understand how our technologies make us who we are, we must look at a wide field of human experience: classical myths and sci fi, business communication and educational practices, cognitive science and media ecology, philosophy of mind and philosophy of technology.  (And if you aren’t sure what some of these things are, then stay tuned!)

In this blog, you will find commentary on Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) in business and education, research on media and human cognition, and sometimes just fun reviews of books or movies related to these topics.  Whether you are an English major or an IT student, an educator or a professional, I hope to make this blog relevant.

But who am I to do so, you ask?

Basically, I’m a professional who has been making my niche in technical writing/communication, particularly in the banking and finance industry, where I put together analytical reports and write procedures to train workers how to process financial data.  While much of my professional background is in finance, my undergraduate background was in language arts and humanities, and my graduate background focused in ergonomics and cognitive science.

Perhaps this blog is just a crazy attempt to make sense of all the chaos from my interdisciplinary work.  However, in this blog I do intend to provide thoughtful, empirically informed posts on a common theme: how different media and technologies affect our minds and lives.  I hope you enjoy the expedition with me.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris. I'm subscribing and I'll follow your work!