Media in the New Medium

One of the things that caught my attention while reading Carr’s book is on page 89 when it quotes Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media saying “A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.” What the quote is really trying to say is traditional media is constantly being remade or recycled and found new uses instead of having it be destroyed or taken away because new ways of distribution are always popping up. It then goes on to talk about how the way people view this new media compared to traditional media causes them to get less information out of what they are viewing. The book uses hyperlinks as an example of new media today and it states that hyperlinks retain a person’s attention away from what they are originally reading and they cause more distractions as well.

My opinion on this topic is that I’d have to agree that the new medium created for media does divert a lot of attention away from what we really wanted to know and now that everything is online and on computers, I feel as if people do not get that hands on touch that they originally got when they had something right in front of them or a simple electronic document or PDF to look at. Me personally, I’d rather have something right in front of me to read rather than on the computer or a screen because I wonder off to doing something else and take more time trying to relearn what I just read.

There was this article I read that did not necessarily argue new media is worse than traditional media, but said that right now there is not enough results and conclusions from the new technology that can prove new media is better. It says students writing skills sometimes suffer from using slang online and in texts so when they write they tend to have more minor errors that they unconsciously make, but at the same time it says students who use computers tend to write longer essays, not always being the best, but still using more words. It goes into other examples, giving both sides a valid argument, but I guess that the only real answer will come once there is enough evidence to prove it.


Author: Jay B

I'm a junior at the University of Delaware majoring in english and playing on the club lacrosse team

4 thoughts on “Media in the New Medium”

  1. Jay, as someone who has taught writing for a long time now, I can say without hesitation that the new media seem to have really helped people create and edit text. Before computers, I often worked with students who truly struggled to put words down on a page. I rarely come across people with that sort of block anymore. Now, as for reading habits, that may be a different story . . . ~Joe


  2. I didn’t pay attention to the quote that you pointed out, but it’s really interesting. I paid attention to Carr talking about the development of written language and then of the computer and how with each new thing the old thing was left behind. And everyone thinks that the book will continue as a form of media because it survived the television. However I think with the computer there is real competition. I also liked how the article you linked gave two sides of the arguments because sometimes I go to extremes to like an older person with the “this new fangled technology is ruining our brains.”


  3. I definitely agree with you that we are more productive when reading something directly in front of us and are less likely to get distracted. With so many online books and articles, it is so easy to instantly click a link within the text and lose your place in the original piece of literature that was the original focus.


  4. I agree with everything that is said, and maybe the new medium created by the media is helpful for someone who relies and likes technology but I still think there will always be that population of people who still like the traditional media and learn better from that.


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