Today’s leading media theorist offers everyone a practical yet mind-blowing guide to our digital world. The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: it’s here; it’s everywhere.
With the open source programs like WordPress, which let you easily start your own website with a multitude of different features, services like PayPal, which let you invoice your clients through email, social medias like Facebook, which gives us new ways to engage with others etc. We think IT makes things seem to be getting easier on the Net.
As marketers and entrepreneurs this is all supposed to make us better, right? But if you are Douglas Rushoff, then the answer is no. In Rushoff’s Book: Program or Be Programmed, he tells us that the more you use, the more likely you are to be used. He says that if you aren’t a programmer then you are part of the program, and Facebook is not to help you making friends, they are looking for to figure out how to monetize people’s relationship, example.
I think Internet is a technology that affects how we communicate with one another more than a technology that is? used for mere convenience. The web is both medium and content. It delivers us to work, delivers our entertainment, hosts our conversation, and more often than not, shapes our opinions. It’s medium and message, highway, vehicle, post office, confidant, and huckster. We don’t just put our ideas into the web, we also draw ideas out. And the difference in being able to place messages in the medium, and realizing how the medium shapes the message, is the difference between tossing a pebble into water and digging a canal.
The Internet is not a coffee maker you are using, and the web is not the Sunday paper. What you do in here can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t need to know how to write computer programs, but we should have some basic knowledge of programing, computer hardware, networking etc. It is just like not everyone needs to be car mechanics, but everyone who drives should at least be able to change a flat tire or jump-start a dead battery.
We like to think that we’re old hands at the information age, but what Douglas Rushkoff shows is that those who march into the web thinking that knowledge of the outside world will be enough to use this new conduit, have been sadly mistaken over and over.
So what you say – Do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it?