The Digital Environment: Taking the Long View
4. As in good baking: Changes in the dominant media in a culture take time and the proper conditions.
- 30 year rule:
technology innovations take approximately 30 years to become "everyday." When innovations "hit," although they were a long time in development,
they appear "overnight."
This is a corollary with McLuhan's notion about us seeing new media in the rear-view mirror.
- Ev Rogers' Diffusion Theory (about when technology will "take", not about how news spreads). In order for new technologies to diffuse, they have to meet a number of challenges:
- Relative advantages? Is the innovation really better?
- Compatible with current technology?
- Easy to use?
- Observability/word of mouth? Especially from early adapters.
- Fidler adds:
- Bridges of familiarity (especially metaphors/icons).
- Motivating socio-economic-cultural opportunities.
- Suppression of radical potential.
(we'll return to "control" in later concepts).
- Technological Complexity Paradox:
- Increasingly complex technologies are headed for users with decreasing levels of preparation for using technology.
Twitter has become secret-handshake software
- Curve of Complexity:U-shaped complexity
- high at first; drops and evens out; then rises sharply with innovations
- The same technology that simplifies life by providing more functions in each device/process, also complicates life by making the device/process harder
to learn and use.
Concept application article:
"They Really Don’t Make Music Like They Used To."
Want to Learn more?
Jonathan Taplin. Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy. NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Nicolas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, Norton: 2014.
Bauerlein, Mark. The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future(Or, Don 't Trust Anyone Under 30). NY: Penguin Books, 2008.
Regarding suppression of radical potential, The International Journal of Communication (IJoC) special feature section, "The Arab Spring & the Role of ICTs." (scroll down to FEATURES then scroll down to the bottom of that section and click the +more features tab). If you read these, remember that we learn even more about how totalitarian regimes use social media against protesters as time passes.