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Lecture 2

SOC 3116 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Continuous Partial Attention, Neil Postman

2 pages102 viewsSpring 2017

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 3116
Professor
Tonio Sadik
Lecture
2

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017
* A Critical Approach to Technology & Society
-Our engagement to technology is passive; we try to use them in a way in which we
see ourselves accommodated — we base our lives around them (ICTs).
-Why do we feel compelled to use technology? What are we supposed to think that
technology does for us? What is it about technology that is supposed to make it so
useful?
-We are exposed to a huge amount of messages about technology and what it can do
for us (ex; in advertising, in university — encouraged to come to class with our
laptops in order to facilitate note-taking and such, we are provided with wifi, etc.). Our
ability to multitask is usually seen as something very good and promising, but if you
are multitasking, how effectively are you actually doing those things? You are only
paying continuous partial attention to each of those things, instead of paying
complete attention to one thing at a time. We can achieve higher quality work when
we focus our attention on one thing at a time.
-4 reasons to ask questions about the role of technology in our society: Challenging
our complacency is one good reason to ask questions about the role of technology in
our society. A secondary reason is to improve its usefulness to us (basis for
innovation, as we ask what can be done better, how is it different from other
technologies, etc.). It is also useful to ask questions in order to enhance our
awareness about how much we rely on these technologies; we come to take it for
granted. We want to get our head outside of the box of popular messaging about
what technology will do for us. We think we are ‘above’ advertisement, that we are
immune to it, but in reality, we are not.
-ICT = information and communication technology (smartphones, computers). ICTs
enable two-way communication, not only one-way comm.
-‘Media’; news/traditional/old media (newspapers, radio, TV) or social/new media
(internet). We are trying to distinguish these two different types of media, and on what
basis do we make this distinction? What is it that differentiates the two? The old/news
media like newspaper, radio and TV are all separate, distinct forms of news, whereas
on the internet, it all sort of blurs together. The traditional/news media is mostly
controlled by the government or corporations, whereas anyone can put anything on
social media. The defining difference between the two is the fact that all these
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