This week’s topic in Advanced Media Issues was about Media Ecologies and it’s way of how media changes cultural contexts – how do our models enter into the practical development and use of media?

Firstly, what is Media Ecologies? What is Ecologies?

In the readings for this week, it had informed me that there were two separate meanings of this. One, which is the North American definition, and the second, being the European – The first being the older style of meaning, and the other being the developed understanding.

The North American Media Ecology, “founded” by Neil Postman defines “Ecology” as the environment. That said, this concept tends to focus on how codes of communication play a leading role in society.

Other theorists such as McLuhan, Harold Innis and Paul Levinson shed new light onto how Media Ecologies are.

  • “… Means arranging various media to help each other so they won’t cancel each other out, to buttress one medium with another. You might say, for example, that radio is bigger help to literacy than television, but television might be a very wonderful aid to teach languages. And so you can do some things on some media that you cannot do on others. And, therefore, if you watch the whole field, you can prevent this waste that comes by one cancelling the other out”. – McLuhan


There are the similarities of Technical determinism that lingers within this theory, as Neil Postman was inspired by McLuhan – He thought, how media of communication affect human perception and understanding.

Paul Levinson, in the “First digital Media”, also conveys a similar understanding. Here are some notes about the reading I have compiled:

Reading #3:

Paul Levinson, “The first digital medium”

–       Paul Levinson (North American media ecology)

–       While reading this text, the north American meaning of media ecology must be in mind


–       Ancient Egypt Hieroglyphics was a dominant medium to preserve the spoken word other than natural medium

–       Hieroglyphics failed because it came direct from literal things: such as to write “human being” would be a stick figure. This became too long of a process and took too long to read, write and learn.

–       Instead later, the Hebrew alphabet system was a success – they were letters with no visual connection to anything

–       Harold Innis: “Monopolies of knowledge” means that people that know more of rare information have sort of more of an advantage in knowledge.

  • Jargon

–       The reading was basically about a Pharaoh that tried to make his own religion; the “sun”. He basically forced it onto people, and forced the priests to write it so it can be preserved for later and later years. Although the priests didn’t want to they had to because the Pharaoh was the strongest person. However, when this pharaoh died, so did his “sun” religion. The main religion went back to the old one.

–       But compared to the Jewish writings, with Moses being able to write books and the 10 commandments – that religion lasted much longer.

–       This shows that new media excessively dominates the old and how it is used affects our culture.






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